Thank you! I know we normally say thank you at the end of many of our conversations, but I feel it is correct in this context to say it up front. It was humbling to have received encouragement from many of you for me to fill the vacant 1st Vice President position. It is an honor to be selected to fill the position and although I was the only candidate, I would like to think at least some of you thought I would be the best candidate.
Unlike many in today’s politics I don’t have an “agenda” that I want to push through, but I do have a thought or two about our organization and the fire service. My thought to share today is, I believe we must continue to define, refine and showcase the FFAM as the premier organization representing the entire Missouri fire service. By entire I mean each and every one of us including all full-time, part-time, paid, volunteer, union, non-union, and new or veteran members. We have instilled so many descriptive terms for the members of our profession that we have at times drawn dividing lines where there should not be any, after all aren’t we all just “firefighters” trying to make our communities better? There are many organizations that represent certain pieces of us and they each have their respective purpose and goals. In my belief, the FFAM should be the one single clearing house that serves every member of the fire service with no judgment, bias, discrimination, hard feelings or division.
If we can create an entire unified front of the tens of thousands of Missouri Fire Service members representing every inch of this state can you imagine the influence that we can have on our future as a profession? There is no reason why we shouldn’t believe that the work done by this organization representing the entire Missouri fire service will not benefit each of the other organizations representing parts, pieces or segments of us in other ways. Unity in numbers has a way of bringing about results providing there is in fact deep seated unity.
To help with this thought pattern it is imperative that we get all agencies and all fire service personnel involved in the FFAM. When I think of involvement in the organization I look at something more than just paying a membership, actually taking part. There are always things that need someone’s attention and often the same group ends up with the responsibility of making something happen. With a more diverse membership base we would have numerous willing and capable partners to achieve success.
When you look at the member benefits we currently have weighed against the cost of membership it truly is a bargain. Although membership costs may rise a modest amount from time to time, the payoff still outweighs the expense. When you actively engage as a member you get to exercise your ability to effect change not only within the organization, but within the Missouri fire service as a whole.
So now is the time to get out and make some noise and get your agency more involved or perhaps influence your neighbors to join and become active members. We cannot effectively represent the entire Missouri fire service if we don’t have the membership’s assistance to guide the organization’s efforts. Get involved or stay involved!
Again I say thank you for this opportunity to serve each of you. Should you need any assistance or wish to discuss the organization, never hesitate to contact me.