Earl Fusselman, who lives in Corona del Mar, has logged 4,100 hours in the past 12 years as a police volunteer. A group of police officers, including Chief Jay Johnson, along with several volunteer colleagues, gathered in the police conference room, yelling “Surprise!” as Fusselman walked in the door.
“Thank you,” Fusselman said. “I’ve had two or three surprises, but this…What can I say?”
He then told the group about his 80th surprise birthday party, thrown by family members. And another surprise during World War II, when he was at a restaurant and a woman who spotted a mouse jumped in his lap. That woman, he said, became his wife of 44 years. Genevieve Fusselman died in 1988.
Maury Freidson of Newport Beach has been a police volunteer for five years, and he said working alongside Fusselman was a “learning situation.”
“I take advantage of the quiet time to learn and listen to a guy with twice my experience,” he said.
Volunteer Wendy Abbott of Newport Beach said her favorite memory of their work together was once when they were at Hoag Hospital, looking for handicap parking violators.
“Normally we might get one a shift,” she said. “That day we got seven. It was like he hit the jackpot. He was ecstatic.”
Volunteer Richard V. Simon wrote an article about Fusselman, stating that Fusselman was the second person to become a police volunteer when the program began in 1998.
The article states that Fusselman has been a Rotary Club member since 1944 as well as a member of the American Legion for 20 years.
Fusselman’s real birthday is Sept. 3.