1st Vice President Comments – July 2021

As I move into my new role with the FFAM as 1st Vice President I am looking forward to serving in this capacity. I would like to thank Chief Jennings for his vote of confidence in appointing me to this position and the board for their support of the appointment. I am sure I will have much to learn as I move forward.

That being said, I want to share some history of where I come from. I started with the Little Dixie Fire Protection District in February of 1992 with the coaxing of a brother-in-law and a good friend that was a chief officer at the time. Through the years I have progressed to Assistant Chief. As with everything, the higher you go the more you learn, and I have enjoyed it all.

In our department, we do a lot of in-house training and make it the officer’s duty to teach classes. I have taught many classes at Little Dixie and several Introduction to Fire Service classes locally and in our region. I have also been the Junior Firefighter coordinator for our department. Tradition in our department dictates that the juniors that promote to firefighter status upon graduation get a new fire helmet. Maybe the best experience in my career is to give a graduating senior that new shiny helmet at their high school graduation. We do this with pride and do it amongst their peers right after the ceremony is over. Those are proud times for instructors and students.

I became active in FFAM in 2006 as an assistant director to Chief Larry Jones, the director of District 3. In the FFAM I have served on the Contest Committee and the National Volunteer Fire Council for many years. I am a charter member of the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute Advisory Council where I represent the FFAM.

I work in Jefferson City at ABB Hitachi where I have been for 37 years. I started as a production welder and currently, I work in the quality department and am looking forward to retiring from the facility soon. I also am a first responder at the company. I and three other volunteer firefighters started the program in the late ’90s and it is still in operation.

At home, I have a wonderful wife, two daughters, and their husbands along with five grandkids. Both sons-in-law have been in the fire service with me at Little Dixie. One achieved the rank of lieutenant before resigning to free up time for his family. The other is a firefighter with Little Dixie. I don’t know if any of the grandkids will follow suit, only time will tell. We all love to camp, fish, hunt, and do as much as we can. This year all the grandkids have decided to play sports so that can keep you hopping around but is a good time for sure.

Summertime is here and a lot of things are coming up. Of course, the State Fair will be here shortly and will run from August 12th – 22nd. Thanks to all the members that provide services at the fair. Also, big plans in Jefferson City for the statewide observance of Patriot Day. A lot of work is going into planning this to help make it a very special event. Two days of remembrance and recognition activities are planned on September 10th and 11th. Please, if you can participate do so.

If I can help in any way, feel free to contact me. Sometimes I am hard to reach during the day but you can leave a message or email me and I will get back to you. You can reach me at 573-473-0972 or roberdel@ktis.net. Thanks for what you do in your community and be safe.