San Diego Spotlight
Meet a Volunteer

Sue “Mama Bear” Raimond

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Sue Raimond has been a member of Mt. Laguna Volunteer Fire Department (MLVFD) since 1986, beginning as Board member, and currently as Assistant Chief of Administration. She’s logged well over 100,000 hours and is affectionately referred to as “Mama Bear”. Her leadership and management skills have guided and grown MLVFD from a team of two to a contingent of 50 young men and women beginning their fire service. As a result of her work in the Reserve program, 82% of the volunteers are hired in permanent departments.

About Sue


Volunteer Position

Assistant Chief, Administration
Mt. Laguna Volunteer Fire Department *2012 San Diego Regional Fire Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award winner*

Real World Job

World renowned harp player www.petpause2000.com

Why she loves volunteering

“I became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) to learn how to take care of my family in a medical emergency. That desire for knowledge evolved into a passion for teaching and guiding the men and women who come through Mt. Laguna Volunteer Fire Department. It’s not just fire and EMS, but life skills: communication, work ethics, cooking and everything under the sun.”

Idleness is not in Sue’s vocabulary. She’s also MLVFD’s grant writer; funded at 98% with over $1,000,000 to the department; a CA DMV licensed tester; recruiter; and person responsible for the transition of the semi-automatic defibrillators to the fully automatic units used throughout the county today. Her mentorship of MLVFD men and women begin with a “two mile walk and talk”; and when you ask her how many children she has, she’ll tell you 51.

“My most satisfying aspect of being an EMT is comforting community members during an emergency. It is reassuring for them to be able to talk to someone they know and trust. Last year, a long-time resident came and talked to our 30 volunteer firefighters and let them know she had terminal cancer and they likely would be called to assist her and tend to her at the end of her life. That took trust for her to do that, but she knew the volunteers had the skill and passion to handle the situation.”

In addition to the significant amount of time Sue spends at Mt. Laguna, she also happens to be a world renowned harp player (15 CDs, 2 music books) whose specialty is working with animals: domestic and exotic including tigers, elephants, bears, gorillas, etc. She’s a scientist whose development of vibratory/frequency based medicine has greatly influenced this era and is supported by research projects with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases as well as neuroscientists. Check out www.petpause2000.com for more information about Sue’s music therapy for animals.

Sue’s favorite stories

When it snows on Mt. Laguna, adults and children flock to the mountain to enjoy the snow. One such day there were 3 sledding accidents, in different areas, occurring simultaneously. We divided the volunteer firefighters into teams and I wound up landing (separately) two helicopters by myself. While the firefighters treated the patients, we used bystanders to help with traffic control. When all patients were successfully treated and safely off the mountain, we felts pride in what we had accomplished.”

“When I started as a volunteer staffing was sparse. One day I was the only volunteer available and received a call for a hang glider down, over the side of a cliff about 100 feet. He was 6’7″ and 340, so I had definite concerns about how this rescue could be accomplished. Using rescue ropes with a pulley system for leverage and with the help of a deputy sheriff, we were able to successfully bring this gentleman up. Good equipment and training made the difference.”

“One of the most heart wrenching situations was responding to a six month old infant with a heart attack. The baby had a terminal medical condition. The parents had brought their child to Mt. Laguna to experience the outdoors. With an infant you have to be so careful, applying enough pressure to save the child, but not so much as to harm the child. We were successful and the child survived. Unfortunately, the child died months later from the medical condition.”