Most people in Topanga may not know Maria Grycan, but she has been an integral part of our lives for 15 years as Community Liaison with L.A. County Fire Department Division 7.
When she first began in 2002, her job coincided with the beginning of collaboration between county government and the Topanga community. From there, she helped develop the Topanga Disaster Emergency Management Plan, the Disaster Survival Guide, “Ready! Set! Go!” preparedness fire drills and always found a way to support new ideas for preparedness and safety that fit with the unique challenges canyon residents face in any disaster, but particularly fire.
“Maria has been such a great partner, helping facilitate incredible collaboration between the Topanga community and the Fire Department,” said Susan Nissman, who was Sr. Field Deputy to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky at the time. “We loved working with her; Santa Clarita is really lucky to have her!”
Although the transfer to Division 3 in Santa Clarita was officially March 15, she won’t be replaced until April. At the March 8 Town Council meeting, she assured everyone that “I’ll still be helping out here until my position is filled and I can get my replacement up to speed. Regardless of the time frame, I’ll respond to emergencies out here and everything we instituted will stay in place.”
“Maria is Topanga’s rock when emergency events come to Topanga,” said Topanga Town Council president Stacy Sledge. “She’s the one who sends the county and Topanga’s emergency stakeholders critical information during a local disaster crisis. This helps us prepare and respond to residents when they call in asking for information. She’s the most cool-headed person I’ve ever met. Just when you think the world is crashing in around you and the fire is nipping at your heels, Maria is the calm and collected voice of reason to help you through it. Her “boots” will be tough to fill. We will miss her and wish the best on her new journey.”
Asked why now, Grycan replied, “It was time for a change. I want to challenge myself. Also, I’ll be closer to home,”
The writing on the cake said it all, “You will be missed.”
“That doesn’t begin to express how grateful Topanga is,” Nissman said.
The entire TEM Task Force will have the chance to wish Maria all the best at their quarterly meeting on April 19.