Planning For The Year Ahead

I will lead off by finalizing the 2023 memorial service dates which are a major change from the past 20 years. The dates will be October 7th and 8th due to NFFF moving their program to the 1st weekend in May 2023 and we plan to continue on that weekend going forward. The Foundation in reviewing all things with this concluded it would be best for the families to move the Candlelight and Memorial Services to a different month. We selected October and starting in 2024, it will be the first Sunday in October going forward. We adjusted 2023 because of some conflicts on October 1st this year.

One other change. The Candlelight Service starting time will be 7:00 pm which is 2 hours earlier than in the past. The Sunday morning memorial service will remain at 10:30 am. We have also revised the cut-off date for honoring names and engraving to July 1. This will result in a much larger group of names for the 2023 service than we have honored in the past. In picking up where we left off in names from 2022 through the cutoff date of July 1, 2023, we will have 18 months to work with in this transitioning process.
It will be a challenge, but your Foundation has already gone to work on this.

The Foundation is now grappling with all of the not yet fully vetted and possible outcomes of the PSOSA (Public Safety Officer Support Act) of 2022 which has attempted to deal with PTSD and was recently signed into law by President Biden. It is significant to note that it passed by unanimous consent of the upper house and all but 17 of the 435 house members voted in favor of it before being sent to President Biden. The Foundation is taking a guarded approach with this starting with how the DOJ (Department of Justice) decides on these cases and then making our administrative determination on the next steps regarding LODD honors.

The Funeral Response Team continues to make upgrades in equipment having purchased a new double-axle trailer replacement for a 2010 model. The team currently has 5-response and 1-LODD trailers. As of early December, they have provided 38 non-line-of-duty and 11 LODD services. I will have the final numbers and some additional information for a 2022 summary in the next article. The Foundation has made administrative determinations on 7 names and approved them for LODD honors in the 2023 services at this time.

The Foundation has identified site and facility improvement initiatives for 2023 and meeting this winter to finalize those plans. With the memorial grounds now 22 years old, it has arrived at a level of needing some repairs and upgrades each year. The most recent upgrade was new elevated lighting in the north end (entrance) to the memorial. For 2023 we are planning projects for flowerbeds, brick, concrete, and landscaping.

We continue to benefit from some generous corporate sponsors in various areas. Gail has been working with Harbor Freight past and present.

They have again provided gift cards toward maintaining our flag inventory for our services and the field of flags in 2023.

The Museum will now have a west-side neighbor. The Village of Kingdom City has announced the property west of the museum has been sold and plans approved for an automotive dealership. That said the Museum project continues with the next steps through WSKF Architects in talking with a General Contractor as a project partner and the likelihood of going with phased construction. Skyrocketing costs of everything have pushed up all the numbers at least concerning projected retail values. We hope that some select partnerships with various trades will change the overall picture of things in this area. Outside of fundraising, that will be the next step after a General Contractor partnership is in place.

By the time you are reading this article, Spring will only be 60 days away so it is time to think about springtime clothing. We can help with our online store at MOFireFighterMemorial.myshopify.com. This convenience allows custom product shopping with your credit or debit card plus direct-to-home shipping at any time vs. having to wait until Fire School, Convention or the next memorial service.

Thank you for your time and continued support of your memorial and future museum.