Paying It Forward

Mitch loved to take care of others. Family, friends, and his patients. Mitch was a great friend to everyone!

IMG_3777Besides asking for your help with raising scholarship funds for future paramedics studying at Mitch’s alma mater at UCLA, we as his family and friends encourage you to pay it forward. We best honor Mitch’s caring heart by taking care of others.

Your gestures, big or small, can make a world of difference for someone else.

So join us on a journey of giving. Tell us here or on our Facebook page about how you helped someone else as a way of honoring Mitch.

Past Events:

“Mitch’s Ride” – Memorial Motorcycle Ride which took place Saturday August 8, 2015
organizer B. Lahiff

Riders for MitchMitch loved to ride his motorcycle!

The “Riders for Mitch” cruised through the canyons and ended up by the ocean. We had a great meal at Neptune’s Net sharing laughs and a good time.

See the flyer for ride details.

Meet up time and location is:

Saturday, August 8, 2015, at
Cycle Gear at 10am; Wheels turning at 10:30 am
21725 Vanowen St, Canoga Park 91303

Destination: Neptune’ s Net
42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu 90266

Ride on your own or with your friends – or if you don’t ride, drive up and meet us for lunch!

Need more info click here for the flyer, visit the Smoke Eaters MC events page, or call ride organizer B. Lahiff @ 626-862-9494. We also want to thank Cycle Fish and Cycle Gear for their support.

“RUNNING FOR MITCH’S MEDICS” – Marathon Fundraiser
by Francesco Luna

cesco_runningMy name is Francesco Luna, and on October 23rd, 2014, I was notified of my acceptance into the UCLA paramedic program, which is one of the best in the country. Along with the excitement and relief upon being accepted, I faced the reality of whether or not I could pay the tuition for the program.

The Mitch Sekine Memorial Scholarship supported me financially and personally in this new chapter of my life. I knew that I wanted to help somehow to contribute to another student’s ability to become a paramedic. In 2012 when I ran the LA marathon, I was amazed by how many fundraisers and charities were being supported by the runners and their impact on the programs they were supporting. It allowed me to realize the power of commitment and dedication in going through a struggle for a cause. Running this marathon and raising money for the scholarship can provide another student with the opportunity I received to study at Mitch’s beloved alma mater.

The Mitch Sekine Memorial Scholarship has been helping self-supporting students attend the program since 2010. By running the San Francisco Marathon in honor of Mitch, we can fund the program for future paramedics. Through your donations, we are hoping to provide enough money to support many more students in their journey to becoming a paramedic.

Join me to help achieve this goal by donating at the website below and expressing one of Mitch’s many virtues: compassion. Let’s finish this 26.2 mile journey together and cross the finish line to honor a man that dedicated his life for service and empathy.

Donate on-line by clicking here for the UCLA Foundation donation page. (Your donation is tax deductible.)

And follow me on Instagram @runformitch to track my progress and training for July 26th, 2015!


by Katie Martin with Rosa Calva

Katie at OrphanageIn June 2013, I boarded the first of three flights to take me to Kolkata, India, to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity, an order of nuns founded by Mother Teresa. I was a mixed bag of emotions: excited to volunteer, nervous to be going alone, sad to be leaving my family for a month. There was a sense of peace and fulfillment, too: I had wanted to volunteer in India for almost 20 years.

Because of my paramedic background, the nuns placed me in the medical clinic in the mornings. In the afternoons I helped with disabled kids (who totally stole my heart) at Shishu Bhavan and every Sunday I worked at Nirmal Hriday, the home for the dying and the first home Mother Teresa founded.

Medicine among the poor in Kolkata is minimal at best; for many, these clinics are the only time they will receive medical care. I worked with other volunteer doctors, nurses, EMTs, and medical students. Every other Saturday, we piled both ourselves and medical supplies into the back of an old flatbed truck and drove about an hour to a village to treat patients who were not able to come into town.

My time in Kolkata pushed me far outside my comfort zone. The humidity, filth, cultural expectations, lack of personal space and lingering sickness that everyone seems to acquire made even the smallest challenges seem big sometimes. On those days especially, the afternoons spent at Shishu Bhavan grounded me back in reality: those kids even though disabled had so much joy. The highlight of my day became to carry the older (and heavier) kids to the window – so they could look outside and feel the breeze on their faces. I can still hear their laughter and not a day goes by that I don’t miss them.

Mother Teresa once said something along the lines of “we are not called to do great things, but small things with great love.” It’s a quote that I repeated constantly to myself in India and have carried back with me to the United States. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the same spirit that Mitch Sekine carried with him during his life of service to others. I want to help carry on Mitch’s legacy – a legacy of service.

– Katie Martin is a licensed paramedic and a 2012 recipient of the Mitch Sekine Memorial Scholarship awarded at UCLA’s paramedic program.

by Takashi Hamada with Rosa Calva

I grew up in a single parent household. I did not have a father figure growing up and I would have loved to have a program like “Big Brothers” when I was growing up. By becoming a Big Brother I felt that I could offer my time and advice to a little brother. And it’s something that I can do when away from my firefighter duties.

I have a couple of friends who are in the program as Big Brothers already. I got in touch with them and then they put me in touch with the Director of the program. I scheduled an interview, passed an extensive background check, and then did another interview to see who they could match me with.

As a Big Brother I mentor a young brother. He is 13 years old and we hang out at least twice a month for a minimum of 2 hours per visit. I take him out to do things he likes to do and we talk about things that are going on in his life. I get to hang out with him and hopefully steer him in the right direction. I will be able to be an impact on his life, and not let him feel like I did when growing up.

From the stories I heard about Mitch while I was in paramedic school he would help the other students who needed help. I feel that Mitch’s spirit was to always help others in need and I want to do the same.

I volunteer at Huntington Beach since that is where I live and my little brother is from there as well. The headquarters for Orange County is in Tustin and there’s another one in Los Angeles:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles

It is important for me to do this because I would have loved for someone to be there to guide me when I was a young child. There are thousands of kids still on the waiting list in need of guidance and if I can change one kid’s life into a positive one than that is enough for me.

– Takashi Hamada is a fire fighter with the City of Santa Fe Springs and was the very first recipient of the Mitch Sekine Memorial Scholarship awarded at UCLA’s paramedic program.

One Response to Paying It Forward

  • Bryce Lahiff

    Awesome! I love to hear about people giving back to help our future generation. This is truly the spirit of Mitch.

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