october 3, 2003


Del Mar Foundation salutes Chief Jack Gosney

By Lynn Gaylord

On October 12 at 6:00 p.m. in the Paddock of the Del Mar Fairgrounds there will be a casual evening of dining and dancing to the Heroes to celebrate the retirement of Chief Jack Gosney. Everyone is invited to attend. Stories and presentations are welcome. Tickets are $40 per person with checks made out and mailed to Del Mar Firefighters Association, 2200 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, Ca. 92014. Please RSVP by October 8. For information, call 755-1522.

So, here is my favorite story besides the one when they saved my house from burning down last year when we left for the Symphony Pops"with a pot of soup boiling away:

The year was 1996. We were new residents to Del Mar and he was the new fire chief. It might have been a City Council meeting but I don't really remember. I said, "Hi! Nice to meet you. I'm Lynn Gaylord." He replied without missing a beat, "Yes, you live at (and he gave my exact address)." I was blown away. Now, if we had had a fire or an emergency in those first few months, I might understand. But this was incredible that he would know not just my address but everybody's in Del Mar!

Jack Gosney is a people person. "I love working in Del Mar. Small towns are so great because you do know everyone," he said to me recently when I called to inquire about the details of his retirement party. "I grew up just over the hill in Rancho Santa Fe, went to school there, Earl Warren Junior High, and San Dieguito High School." In fact, one of the first persons to be saved by Jack and his crew when the station got a heart defibrillator was Jack's elementary school teacher. That's when you do say that it is a small world, thank goodness.

Besides saving lives and homes, Chief Gosney and his staff are always favorites in the community when they show up with the fire engine and offer rides to the children, like at Holidays in the Village. Or this year at the Del Mar Foundation's Independence Day Parade when they showed up with Del Mar's first fire truck from 1959 and offered rides. What a sight to see all these darling children in their red, white, and blue on the vintage truck. The truck is presently owned by the Del Mar Historical Society, a generous gift from Dick Turner.

Jack Gosney had an early love of his profession when an uncle in Newport Beach was a firefighter. "I use to love to hear his stories," he said. "Later when I was in high school, a couple of us joined the volunteer fire department and it all escalated from there." Chief Gosney rose through the ranks until he replaced Jim Baker in April of 1996.

So what will the chief do now that he will have a few extra hours on his hands? "Well, besides a family business which needs my attention, I love to travel and I am really looking forward to that. I like to garden and cook. Also, I am remodeling a house in Cardiff and it will be nice to work on it more than two hours a day!"

His involvement with firefighting won't come to a close, however. Chief Gosney sits on the Board which does nationwide training programs for firefighters. He is also on the Board of the San Diego Firehouse Museum on the corner of Cedar and Columbia in downtown San Diego.

Good Luck, Chief Gosney. We'll miss you but we know you won't be far away!