Six recently retired employees of the Alhambra Police Department and Alhambra Fire Department—four officers, one firefighter, and one dispatcher—were honored at Monday's council meeting. They were greeted by council members and given plaques that recognized their service. The council chamber was packed with family members, active police officers, and local residents.
The honorees were AFD Assistant Chief of Operations Thomas Phelps (35 years of service), APD Lieutenant Gary Laguard (26 years), Sergeant Esther Rodriguez (27 years), Lieutenant Kean Oda (21 years), Corporal Arthur Fernandez (30 years), and dispatcher Martha Ortega (20 years). Oda was not present to accept his plaque.
"Serving the residents of Alhambra has been a very rewarding experience, and was a highlight of my career," said Phelps. "I am deeply grateful to the community."
Fernandez said that he already misses the city, and that retirement is something he's getting used to. "I have a little trouble accepting this but everybody tells me it's a good thing," joked Fernandez. "Since I've been off, I have to come to the city once a week because I get those withdrawals."
Ortega, however, was more enthusiastic about retirement. "I wish I could have stayed to help, but I'm done," Ortega joked to a laughing crowd.