Thursday, March 09, 2017

Ketchum And Libolt Remembered

 HEROES TO BE HONORED
Tomorrow, Friday, March 10, 2017, is the 30th anniversary of the day Costa Mesa Police Officers James "Dave" Ketchum and John "Mike" Libolt died in a helicopter crash with a Newport Beach helicopter that took their lives.  This event will be recalled in a private memorial service at the Costa Mesa Police Headquarters beginning at 11:00.
INVITEES ONLY
It was my plan to attend this event and report to you about it, just as I did five years ago when a similar event was held.  You can read about that event in my entry HERE.  Please follow the links in that entry for more information about the crash.  At the time Police Chief Tom Gazsi - since retired from the CMPD and currently the Chief of the Los Angeles Port Police - was the Master of Ceremonies.  It's unclear whether Gazsi has been invited to attend the event tomorrow.  Unfortunately, I'm informed that the public is NOT welcome at this event - that it is reserved for invited retired officers and other guests - so we will have to see what kind of local media coverage is provided.
ABLE FORMED - AND THEN DUMPED
This tragic crash was a cornerstone for the subsequent creation of the ABLE Helicopter Program - a joint venture between Costa Mesa and Newport Beach in which helicopter services were shared beginning in 1996.  The City of Santa Ana was also a participant, paying a fee to the Joint Venture for Helicopter Support.  Unfortunately, in 2011 then-councilmen Gary Monahan and Jim Righeimer recommended that the ABLE Program be disbanded - and it was.  In fact, so thoroughly was the dissolution of the ABLE Program that it's nearly impossible to find a single reference to the program in the City archives.  One item is available - a report on the dissolution of the program, HERE.
A PARK NAMED IN THEIR HONOR
As most know, a municipal park has been named for Ketchum and Libolt as a permanent remembrance of their bravery and sacrifice for the residents of this city. The park, at 2150 Maple Avenue, was dedicated on November 21, 2003.
A MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE
So, wherever you are, I hope you will join me in a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 10, 2017, in remembrance of two brave Costa Mesa Police Officers - Dave Ketchum and Mike Libolt.

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