As many of you saw in the last magazine, there was no article from me as your 2nd Vice President. The reason for this was I was in Truman Medical Center in Kansas City on a vent fighting COVID. I spent a total of five days in the hospital and then two weeks at my home recovering. I want to thank the membership, the board of directors, numerous family and friends, Missouri Chiefs President Chief Mike Snider of the Lees Summit Fire Department, and Fire Marshal Tim Bean and his wife Judy for all the texts, emails, and visits while I was recovering. It is much appreciated.
The FFAM continues to be busy around our state. On March 13, Director Larry Jones and his wife Ann from the Madison Fire Protection District traveled to Branson representing FFAM and the FFAM Auxiliary at the Missouri Public Safety Communications Conference. They met with several dispatchers and dispatch supervisors from across our state telling them about the benefits of the FFAM and what our membership has to offer 911 dispatchers. The feedback I received from the conference was Director Jones and Ann were some of the friendliest people the dispatch community had ever met, they went out of their way to explain the FFAM and they made the dispatcher feel welcomed to the conference and also to our membership. The 911 community has offered for the FFAM to continue to be a part of their conference in the years to come. Thanks, Larry and Ann for representing us, your hard work did not go unnoticed.
When you read this the FFAM convention will have come and gone. Due to our deadline for the magazine you will see pictures of the convention in future magazine articles. Thanks to the Washington Fire Department for your hard work hosting the convention.
On May 14th and 15th are the annual Candlelight and Memorial Service in Kingdom City. The Memorial Committee has been busy getting names and contacting family members to make sure their loved ones are properly honored at these services. If you have never attended a service, it is very moving and will make you appreciate the firefighters that we have in this great state. The Candlelight Service begins at 9:00 p.m. on the 14th and the Memorial Service is at 10:30 a.m. on the 15th. Thanks to the Memorial Committee for all your hard work.
The FFAM and the FFAM auxiliary will be attending or will be attempting to attend other numerous conferences and county chief’s meetings throughout the year. They include the Missouri Association of Fire Protection Districts, Revolutionary Fire Tactics at the Lake, Independence Fire Fest, assisting at the Missouri State Fair Fire Department, and the Jefferson County Engine Rally. Special thanks to Eric Hartman with the fire marshal’s office for getting the FFAM on the agenda with the county fire chiefs meeting across the state.
Now I am going to switch gears and talk about women in the fire service. March was Women’s History Month. As we think about the growing presence of women in the fire service, we want to celebrate how women are making great strides in the fire service.
On March 2nd, history was made at the Warrensburg Fire Department, they had their first all-female engine company. Engine 1111 operates out of Station 1. They were led by Captain Anna Koons. Captain Koons is the first female captain in the history of the Warrensburg Fire Department. Currently, Warrensburg has a total of six women on the job. There are three full-time, two part-time, and one student resident. Pictured are Firefighter Kylie Frerking, Firefighter Deidra Gross, Firefighter Adison Bernier, and Captain Koons. Congratulations ladies for all your hard work.
At the MU FRTI level, we have a huge supporter as well. This person is Gail Hagans-Reynolds. Gail is instrumental in getting our training to us firefighters. She also sits on the Memorial Committee and is a part of the Education Committee of the FFAM. We all know Gail is a hard worker and always has our back in the fire service, without her some departments would never get the training that they deserve. Thanks, Gail, for all your hard work and dedication to the Missouri fire service.
Speaking of the Missouri Division of Fire Safety we just had the retirement of Training chief Becky Trapani. Becky was amazing to work with when it came to firefighter training. I know from personal experience whenever I emailed or called Becky she always made me feel welcomed and would do anything she could do for firefighter training. Thank you, Becky, for your dedication to the Missouri Fire Service, you will be greatly missed, enjoy your retirement.
The last group I would like to thank is the FFAM auxiliary, who I call the heart of our organization and I mean heart. Meaning they love to support the FFAM. This group of ladies under the direction of Jessica Weisz of the Norborne Fire Protection District is just amazing in themselves. They have joined the FFAM not only to promote the organization but also as the auxiliary at all the conferences this year. This group of ladies goes out of their way to be a service organization to assist the FFAM. These ladies have had numerous fundraising activities to help fund the memorial, have donated quilts to the St John Burn Camp to assist burn survivors in their recovery, and also assist the Missouri State Fair Fire Department in helping in the kitchen. Words can’t describe how much these ladies love the fire service. For that, I can only say thank you, you ladies are the best in my book.
In closing I would like to remind the membership if the FFAM or the FFAM Auxiliary can be of any assistance to you or your department please reach out. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or my cell phone at 660-229-4525. Until next time, be safe my brothers and sisters.