ESCONDIDO (NEWS 8) – For three years the Escondido Charter High School has held a First Responder Fundraiser. This year’s fundraiser will honor the late Escondido Cal Fire firefighter, Cory Iverson - who died while battling the Thomas Fire in Ventura County in 2017.
Escondido Charter High School students, who are studying criminal justice, will be selling shirts at the Blue Mug Coffee Shop to raise money for Cory Iverson’s family.
“It is such an honor to do this fundraiser for Cory Iverson because he risked his life. He dedicated his time and it is such a good feeling to give back to the community,” said Hibah Adawi, Escondido Charter High School senior.
Hibah’s instructor is retired Escondido Police Lieutenant, Al Owens, who said he wanted to teach students more than just how to solve crimes.
“It shows the danger that can happen in a job and shows them the sacrifice,” said Owens.
Lt. Owens started the Fallen First Responder Fundraiser in 2017. His students traveled to Palm Springs to honor fallen Officers Gil Vega and Lesley Zerebny. Both were ambushed on a domestic violence call.
The following year, students visited Escondido Officer Laura Perez’s family. Officer Perez was shot and killed by her husband who was convicted and sentenced to 48 years in prison for her murder.
“When they met the people, they understand there are people behind that when our heroes leave, there is still a lot of pain there. Kids said this is something 'I will never forget,'” said Lt. Owens.
Lt. Owens said this year they have teamed up with the school's fire tech class to honor Cory Iverson.
When Iverson died, he had a three-year-old daughter, Evie. His widow, Ashley, was pregnant with their second daughter, Taylor. Both of his daughters will be given t-shirts, too.
“Giving back will not bring back that life that was taken, but it is going to, hopefully, let that family know that they are not alone,” said Dasani Conde, an Escondido Charter High School senior.
To buy a t-shirt or help raise money for Cory Iverson’s family, stop by the Blue Mug Coffee Shop in Escondido on El Norte Parkway and Country Club Lane from 8 a.m., to noon on Friday.
On Saturday, Cal Fire and Cal Trans will dedicate a portion of Interstate-15 in Escondido in honor of Cory Iverson.
His wife launched the Iverson Foundation to help first responders deal with mental health issues.