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Code 3 for a Cure lauded for its effort at Ripon stop on 17,000-mile journey
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Code 3 For a Cure fire engines pull out of the Ripon Fire Department’s Station One on the last leg of its 17,000-mile journey around the United States promoting cancer education and research in support of firefighters. The two ladder companies forming a salute in front of the station are from Ripon and Sharpe Depot in Lathrop. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — Citizens of the Ripon community along with area firefighters honored Code 3 for a Cure founder Lorenzo Abundiz Friday morning in the engine bays of Station One on Stockton Avenue on his nationwide journey.

The Stockton Avenue Station One had two fire engine ladder trucks parked in front of their building on 45-degree angles, their ladders extended into an inverted “V” with an American Flag hanging between them framing the fire station.

Abundiz and a San Diego area engineer had traveled some 16,000 miles across the United States when they arrived in Ripon Thursday night.  It was their only stop in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties – a special stop because Abundiz’s son Jeremy is a Ripon firefighter.

Ripon Fire Chief Dennis Bitters – a member of the Code 3 board – welcomed the pair before a contingent of his force in addition to the local citizenry for their tireless efforts in promoting the health of their brothers and sisters in the fire service – with their message of awareness and early detection.

San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel was on hand to present Abundiz with a proclamation citing him for his outstanding program.

Abundiz is a three-time cancer survivor having suffered through a sarcoma as well as bladder and prostate cancers.  

Engineer John McKnight continues to be active in the fire service serving the North County Fire Protection District in San Diego with some 30 years of service.  

McKnight said the two of them logged some 300 miles per day in the engine alternately driving every three hours.  Their three fingers held high in the air is in support of the “Code 3” effort.  He added that many who recognized their fire engine recognize the men with the three-finger salute.

They no longer carry water in the engine for fire equipment because that adds to the weight of the vehicle and cuts the mileage they can enjoy per gallon of fuel. The engine averages 6.3 miles per gallon when it is without water and fire equipment.  

 McKnight said if they come upon an emergency they will stop – they can’t just drive on by – and they are ready to offer basic life support with their hands until other emergency responders arrive at the scene.

The Code 3 cause is using its fourth fire engine provided by the manufacturer Sutphen Corporation.  That is the same firm that built the new truck for the Manteca Fire Department.

Following the department reception,  the Code for a Cure engine was given a red light police escort by officer Scott Lindsay onto southbound Highway 99 headed for its next stop in Fresno and then on to Los Angeles.  It was in L.A. where they began their nationwide trip in September at the Griffith Observatory.