Borrego Salutes


Last updated 5/6/2021 at 9:46am

A Grateful Community Drives Home a Message of Thanks – The Community is grateful to CalFire and local fire department paramedics for stepping up to provide local COVID-19 vaccinations in Borrego Springs. On April 18, Borregans turned out to give them a heartfelt, "Thank You" in a drive-by salute of appreciation to fire chiefs and paramedics, completing a round of vaccinations at the library.

Cars lined up as far as the eye could see on Country Club Road and Palm Canyon Drive, waiting until Honorary Mayor Andy Macuga accompanied the fire department personnel to the library's outdoor steps to present them with certificates of community appreciation. Assembled on the steps, the paramedics and fire chiefs were greeted by at least 150 carloads of grateful Borregans, honking and waving signs, thanking them for their service as they drove by.

"I wish I could take credit for the "Salute to CalFire," Macuga admitted, adding that "the original idea was Linda Stanley's."

"She proposed the idea to me, and I contacted the Borrego Springs COVID-19 Task Force. They were the ones responsible for the organization of it, as well as providing banners and fliers to get the word out."

Stanley was especially pleased with the event. "We needed a way to express ourselves as a community; and I believe, it was a feel-good moment for everyone, a moment of relief and celebration after 18 months of living with the threat of the deadly virus."

Macuga presented a certificate of appreciation to all the fire districts in San Diego County, and the CalFire District, thanking the paramedics for coming to Borrego Springs to vaccinate the community.

Certificates were also given to Captain Jon Gerstenberg, who managed the April 18 event, and CalFire Chief Bernie Molloy, who managed the first big vaccination event in Borrego Springs.

Macuga praised the delegation of paramedics, pointing out how important the numerous vaccination events have been to the town, and how deeply Borrego residents appreciate the care during the crisis, especially given the handicaps and problems Borregans face getting to urban vaccination sites.

Conveying response from the fire personnel, Macuga said, "They were all very touched by the amount of people that took part. They were amazed by the number of cars and signs that people made. Chief Molloy of CalFire said that they were very happy to have provided this service to our community, but were not done yet, as they are providing vaccinations today and then again in a few weeks."

"As for myself, I was smiling ear to ear. Our community's ability to take part, volunteer, show appreciation and just get involved never ceases to amaze me," Macuga said.

"Before the event started, I must admit, I was worried about how many would come out to show our appreciation, whether it would seem like "too little." It definitely was a grand turn out. Once again, our community came together to do something very special."

The COVID-19 Task Force, which has actively been assisting the vaccination teams has also shown local appreciation by sending every paramedic home with fudge from Bighorn Fudge Factory from every event.

On April 20, CalFire administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to all takers, from age 16 and older, during a community mass vaccination event.

For the second dose of the vaccine, CalFire will return to Borrego Springs on May 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the library.

Register now for the vaccine at and use the Clinic Code S3H873JZQD. Have a cellphone number handy when registering because a mobile phone number is required on page five of the registration form. A parent or guardian is required to accompany anyone 16 or 17 years of age receiving the vaccination. No exceptions.

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