Published : Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | 5:42 AM
Pasadena’s Freemasons convened their 18th annual soiree honoring first responders who have “Served Beyond the Call of Duty” at the majestic Pasadena Masonic Temple on Euclid Street.
On an aptly chosen Sept. 11 date, Masons Wisdom Lodge Number 202 honored Pasadena firefighter Steven Lawson, police officer John Calderon, and Chief of Police, John Perez. Lawson and Calderon were chosen by their department peers. The Lodge went further, and paid tribute also to Chief Perez.
Wisdom Lodge decided upon highlighting local first-responders following Sept. 11, 2001. The awards are part of the Masons’ annual Observance of the United States Constitution.
Mayor Terry Tornek discussed the nation’s magna carta. His talk focused on the role of public opinion in a judicial process that would ideally rest on questions of law alone.
Tornek closed his talk with a challenge to those present and to all Pasadenans:
“Each of us must continue to speak out as individuals on issues that we care about and try to influence the outcomes,” said Tornek, “because ultimately I believe that while the Constitution provides a framework for the debate, it is truly the will of the people that decides the important matters in our democracy. “
As to the honorees, Pasadena Fire Department’s Lawson is a fire officer Captain I, who shoulders all manner of responsibility within his outfit, while finding time to serve on the Pasadena Black History General Planning Committee, as co-chair of Pasadena Black History Red, Black and Green Gala, and on the Pasadena Black History Parade and Festival Committee.
Perez, of course, is Pasadena’s chief of police and the department’s public face. But you may not know he has been with the department since 1985, after serving his time as a police cadet.
The chief’s assignments reveal a bottom-to-top familiarity with the organization he leads through assignments in patrol, community relations, internal affairs, special enforcement section, S.W.A.T., special investigations unit, and the counterterrorism unit.
Chief Perez introduced honoree Police Officer Johnny Calderon, whose biography is one that yields respect and reverence from both his colleagues and the man/woman-in-the-street. His nose for the truth is legendary and his willingness to help out in a big investigation well known.
Calderon was hired in 1994 and, by 1995, had already received a division accomodation for saving the life of a domestic violence stabbing victim, while managing to subdue the perpetrator. Later still, he received a second divisional accommodation for capturing a suspect on the lamb for a gangland killing that took a 14-year old’s life.