It was the hottest day in South Pasadena’s 130-year history, forcing “Operation Ice Cream” into action.
There was no escaping the scorching conditions, the temperature reaching an all-time high of 118 degrees on Friday, according to ABC7 Los Angeles Meteorologist Dallas Raines. It called for Sgt. Shannon Robledo, Corporal Craig Phillips and officers Tyler Borrello and Elias Giron-Garrido from the local police department to hit the streets, South Pasadena streets in particular, to check on the welfare of some of the city’s most elderly.
Traversing South Pas at nightfall, it became abundantly clear that the seniors were glad to see the police after responding to knocks on the door. As the excessive-heat watch for much of southwestern California was in full tilt, the team in uniform wanted to make sure some of the city’s oldest citizens were hydrated, drinking plenty of water and staying cool.
And with them, they packed ice cream bars and Popsicles to let the seniors know they cared. “We just want to make sure they are okay and give them a little treat,” explained Robledo, who is also known for helping the city’s homeless population by providing resource information to those without a roof over their head. “It’s hot and we just want to help them out with some cold treats.”
As the officers checked in on many residents, weather forecasters warned of significant heat and a fire threat in the region.
“It’s important for society in general to remember our senior citizens, especially those who might be alone or don’t have family nearby,” explained Phillips. “We keep track of those elderly residents in our city and do what we can. Even when it’s not hot, we like to knock on their doors and say hello.”
There’s nothing like a smiling face looking forward to some cold ice cream on a hot day.
One of those happened to be Diana Martin, who greeted police officers at her home in the 100 block of Grevelia Street. “I think they’re the cutest boys I’ve ever seen,” said Martin of the goodwill gesture by police.
As officers were making their rounds, the severity of the blistering conditions were illustrated when local authorities listened to a dispatcher on a police radio describe a victim in the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue feeling faint as a result of a heat stroke. South Pasadena Fire Department officials responded, quickly rushing to the scene to bring some relieve to the woman in her late 20s.
“We get a lot of welfare checks for the elderly,” explained Borrello. “It’s hot and we are suffering. So, when we come out here, we just want to make sure the people are okay. A lot of times it’s one person living in a big home. We just want to let them know we care.”
Barbara Rossi, who resides in the 600 of Garfield Avenue, joked to police officers, “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming, I would have dressed up” when they arrived at her home with the cool treats. “That is so sweet of you.”
Along their journey, the officers stopped to check in on a 103-year-old woman on Alta Vista Drive in the hill area of the city.
It took about five minutes for her to open the door, but was appreciative of the police going out of their way to say hello. “Thank you very much, thank you very much,” she repeated several times.
Officers next headed to the 900 block of Mission Street where they handed out frozen desserts to patients at the South Pasadena Care Center, a convalescent hospital, before going to nearby Prospect Manor, where assisted living tenants reside.
Robledo stressed the importance of everyone taking time to make personal visits to see friends and loved ones. “Maybe some residents will learn by our experience and check on their own neighbors, especially when it’s hot,” he said.
Giron-Garrido liked the idea keeping some of South Pasadena’s residents cool, especially when the thermometer exceeded the 100-degree mark. “It was a great experience,” he said. “I feel like we helped a few people. We’re out here sweating. I’m sure they are feeling our pain, too.”
In the end, appreciative seniors, thankful for the opportunity to fight off triple digit heat, consumed 45 ice cream bars and Popsicles on the night.
“Operation Ice Cream” accomplished what it set out to do. “Anytime you can put a smile on a person’s face, it’s a success,” said Robledo.