Fire Fighters Association of Missouri

President’s Remarks – July 2016

This newsletter article brings me to the annual Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Services held on May 14, and 15, 2016 in Kingdom City. I believe this is the most important activity I am involved in every year and will commit a large portion of my article to the memorial.

As they have done for many years, I thank Chief Greg Lubbert and the Central Callaway Fire Protection District that spent many hours cleaning all of the granite walls and other tasks the Thursday night prior to the services. Chief Lubbert has faithfully done this year after year.

A special thank you to Lt. Steve Nichols from the Little Dixie Fire Protection District for overseeing the maintenance on the Memorial again this year. Lt. Nichols always has everything looking good for the annual services. There are many people that helped Steve with this task, Doc Kritzer, Greg and Brenda Carrell, Josh Biggers, and there are others that I am not aware of. A special thanks to each of you.

Many hours were also given for the Candlelight Service and the Sunday morning services. Keith Smith from the Warrenton Fire Protection District, Bill Albus from the Little Dixie Fire Protection District/MO State Fire Marshal office, and Linda Coleberd from Hannibal, worked many hours gathering information and developing the programs for both services. I thank each of you!

The Candlelight Honor Guard was provided by the Little Dixie Fire Protection District. Jim Cummings, Chaplain for the Southern Stone Fire Protection District did an excellent job with the message to over 200 attendees at the Candlelight Service. To Blue Ice Productions and Chairman Keith Smith from Warrenton, Missouri who provided all of the recording and video services for the entire memorial, as they have done for many years at no charge to the Memorial Foundation. Many, many thanks to Greg and Rose Rosebrock.

Each year our history is documented by Don Vaucher. Don is at every event and photographs all activities and provides FFAM with prints and CD’s and never asks for recognition or payment for his services. Thank you Don and Harriett.

This year we were honored to have Mr. Lane Roberts, Director, Department of Public Safety, for the State of Missouri attend and presented proclamations to the 2015 Line of Duty Death family members assisted by State Fire Marshal Greg Carrell.

Harriett Vaucher was our keynote speaker at the Sunday morning memorial service. I heard many compliments and I believe Harriett had a very heartfelt message. Thank you.

David Hedrick, Director of the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute gave our opening invocation and as always did an excellent job. David always accepts my request to help and I appreciate his involvement with the state chaplains organization.

Our Honor Guard Commander this year was Captain Pat Furlong from the South Metropolitan Fire Protection District. Commander Furlong did an outstanding job coordinating honor/color guard and pipe and drum members from many fire departments throughout Missouri. Thank you Pat and members of the many honor guards and pipe and drum members.

I really appreciate all of the Memorial Board members that helped in so many ways throughout both services by, reading of names, bell ringing, placing of wreaths and turnout gear.

A special thank you goes to Gary and Sheri Berendzen for hauling the chairs to and from Jefferson City, to Jared Jackson, Tim Hodges, along with the Junior Fire Fighters from Little Dixie Fire Protection District and other individuals that helped set up the chairs for use at both services. And again, a special thanks to Glenn Dittmer and Janet Cain that come every year to help with anything asked of them. True volunteers, what more can I say. Also to Don Hahne and Steve Paulsell who performed Taps flawlessly to close our services.

Ladder trucks were provided by the South Metropolitan Fire Protection District and the Warrenton Fire Protection District to fly the US Flag at the entrance to the memorial walkway. Washington Volunteer Fire Company and Charles Staats provided their antique trucks again. Thanks to all.

We also appreciate Christopher Benne and Air Methods Helicopter and flight crew for its fly over and “Salute” to our fallen comrades.

I also need to thank everyone else that helped in any way that made our Annual Memorial Services special to everyone, especially to the families being honored.

Thank you to the FFAM Auxiliary for providing and distributing the ribbons and to Doc Kritzer and the FFAM Auxiliary for having statues and souvenirs available to all attendees and to Dr. Baker and his wife for the Field of Flags. The Baker’s represent us all over the state, and I appreciate their support.

There were many, many more that helped in some way, and I thank each one of you. I apologize if I have forgotten anyone, as I surely have, because it takes so many to get ready for such an event. To those that I did not mention by name, I appreciate your faithfulness every year.

I understand another excellent Summer Fire School was presented in Jefferson City by the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute. Congratulations to David Hedrick and staff.

The FFAM State Fair Fire Department Committee has been working many hours preparing for the 2016 State Fair. A work weekend was conducted on June 3, 4, and 5 with many firefighters in attendance helping. Thank you for your service and commitment to the success of FFAM. Another work weekend will be held on July 15, 16, and 17, 2016 at the fire station.

Everything is shaping up for another great time at the 2016 Missouri State Fair. A full staff of FFAM members from throughout the state have been selected to work and I am looking forward to another great time seeing old friends and making new ones. Chief Donnie Rogers has worked diligently and invested many hours selecting and preparing his staff to lead and provide the professional fire and rescue/medical services the patrons of the Missouri State Fair have become accustom to.

I am very thankful to have all of the FFAM officers, directors and assistant directors, committees and many others serving the needs of the fire service of Missouri.

As always, I am available in the event you have any questions or comments. You may contact me at 573-581-6235 or

Kenneth Hoover, President

Fire Fighters Association of Missouri