Community to extend thanks to local emergency workers
by Debbie Hatch
Published - 09/02/10 - 12:59 PM | 2948 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police and Emergency Services Appreciation Night (PAESAN) is a unique community picnic and awards ceremony created to honor emergency service workers in Pacific Beach.

The first PAESAN was held 30 years ago after Pacific Beach Town Council (PBTC) members decided they wanted an opportunity to thank emergency workers in person for all they did.

“During a crisis or an emergency you don’t have time to thank the people who take care of us,” said Ruby Houck, PBTC vice president and the event’s organizer since 2003.

The event honors lifeguards, police officers, firefighters and park rangers — all of whom are ready to help in a time of need.

“It’s an evening where the entire Pacific Beach community is able to come out and personally thank its people not just for the terrific jobs they do, but for their dedication to our community all year long,” Houck said.

PAESAN tickets are $5 and the event will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at the North Crown Point Shores Rotary Pavilion.

The ticket price includes hot dogs, hamburgers, a beverage and entertainment provided by a live band.

“What this event does is it’s our opportunity to bring our community together for a very inexpensive, fun evening and celebrate just living in PB,” Houck said.

Despite the reasonable price, ticket sales are down, according to organizers. Houck stressed the importance and tradition of the long-standing event, and encouraged the community to bring a picnic blanket and chairs to the PAESAN, even though the economy might make it difficult for some people to spend extra money right now.

The event is unique to Pacific Beach.

“People who come from far and wide think this is amazing,” Houck said.

Each year, police officers, lifeguards, firefighters and park rangers are asked to nominate outstanding coworkers to be recognized for their service. They vote for a recipient who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

The winner from each service is kept secret until the night of the event. Captains have a hard time trying to orchestrate changes in shifts and schedules in order to allow for the winner to be off duty, Houck said.

District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, Ron Lacey from Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office and representatives from elected government offices will be on hand to distribute awards and thank emergency workers.

“This is a time when everybody there has something positive in common,” Houck said.

Many volunteer organizations come together to ensure the event runs smoothly.

The Mission Bay Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Pacific Beach Woman’s Club and student organizations will help orchestrate the evening. Discover Pacific Beach will donate tables, chairs and canopies to be delivered and picked up. The Old Mission Bay Athletic Club (OMBAC) will donate the use of its large barbecue grills, in addition to all of the food.

“OMBAC does many, many charitable works,” Houck said.

OMBAC will also be offering rides on a 1940s fire engine in the parking lot.

There will be a children’s area with face painting and free, homemade popcorn.

PAESAN is still need of more volunteers to help set up and break down the event. Organizers also need more prize donations, small or large, which will be raffled off.

To purchase tickets, volunteer or for more information, call (858) 483-6666, or visit

The PBTC office is located at 1706 Garnet Ave.

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