Fire Fighters Association of Missouri

President’s Remarks – July 2019

What a great annual Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Services held on May 18-19, 2019, at the Auxvasse elementary school Saturday night and at the memorial site on Sunday morning. I believe this is the most important activity I am involved in every year. 

As they have done for many years, Chief Greg Lubbert and crew, Central Callaway Fire Protection District, North Callaway Fire Protection District, Fulton Fire Department and many others spent many hours cleaning all of the granite walls and other tasks the Thursday night prior to the services. Chief Lubbert and others have faithfully overseen this task year after year. Thanks!

Many hours were also given for the candlelight service and the Sunday morning services. Keith Smith, Warrenton Fire Protection District, Bill Albus, Little Dixie Fire Protection District, State Fire Marshal office, worked many hours gathering information and developing the programs for both services. I thank both of you!

The Candlelight Service Honor Guard was provided by the Little Dixie Fire Protection District, led by Honor Guard Commander Korey Smith. Danny Smith, retired firefighter and police officer did an excellent job with the message to around 200 attendees at the Candlelight Service. My continued appreciation goes 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, thanks to now retired Greg and Rose Rosebrock. True friends of the fire service.

Our history again this year was documented by Gail Hagans and Don Vaucher. Gail and Don are usually at every event and photograph all activities and provides FFAM with prints and CD’s and never ask for recognition or payment for their services. Thank you Gail and Don. Great photos!

This year we were honored to have Mr. J. Tim Bean, Fire Marshal, State of Missouri attend and presented Proclamations to the 2018 Line of Duty Death family members. 

Sandra Karsten, Director, Department of Public Safety, State of Missouri was our keynote speaker at the Sunday morning memorial service. Great job Director. Thank you!

Dr. Ron Baker, a Memorial Foundation Board Member gave our opening invocation and as always, he did an excellent job. Dr. Baker willingly performs many tasks for the foundation, especially the display of the flags at the memorial site, again this year. Awesome display.

Our Honor Guard Commander, Lieutenant Tracy Gray, Columbia Fire Department did an outstanding job coordinating Honor/Color Guard and Pipe and Drum members from many fire departments throughout Missouri. Thank you to Lieutenant Gray and members of the many Honor Guards and Pipe and Drum members for your service.

Lieutenant Gray quickly accepted the request to oversee this important part of our services as Chief Ludden had changed jobs and was unavailable this year.

I appreciate all 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. Also, to all the extra help moving everything to the school at the last minute and back to the memorial site Sunday morning.

A special thank you again goes to Gary and Sheri Berendzen for hauling the chairs to and from Jefferson City, and to the other individuals that helped set up the chairs for use at both services. Again, a special thanks to Glenn Dittmer and Janet Cain that come every year to help with anything asked of them. Also, to Don Hahne and Steve Paulsell who faithfully for many years have performed Taps and echo flawlessly to close our services.

Ladder trucks were provided by Metro West Fire Protection District and Crystal City Fire Department to fly the US Flag at the entrance to the memorial services at the memorial site. Also, a big thank you to Air-Evac Helicopter for the fly-over and salute. Thanks to all!

I also need to thank everyone else that helped in any way to make our annual memorial services special for everyone, especially to the families being honored.

Thank you to the FFAM Auxiliary for providing and distributing ribbons and all you do for the organization throughout the year. To Dr. Baker and his wife for the Field of Flags. The Baker’s represent us across the state and I appreciate their support. 

There were 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.

Progress on the much-awaited museum and education center is looking fabulous. The exterior is nearing completion. I believe that several of the original board members that have gone on to their heavenly reward are surely rejoicing about the progress.

Now is the time for everyone to do extra fund-raisers so we can completely finish the project.

Please have your department do some kind of fund-raising activity, such as a boot drive, a BBQ, or anything else you can do to help with the preserving of history of the Missouri fire service.

I’m enjoying my retirement but have been busy with Granddaughters and many projects. I’m still serving with the Little Dixie Fire Protection District, but in a lesser capacity.

The FFAM State Fair Fire Department Committee has been working many hours preparing for the 2019 State Fair. A work weekend is scheduled on July 12-14. 

Everything is shaping up for another great time at the 2019 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. I recently appointed Chief Terry Wynne of Galt Fire District to the State Fair Fire committee and Terry Plumb of Southern Stone County Fire Protection District will serve as the fire chief this year.

Please come and visit your organization at the State Fair if you have the opportunity. Many hours are given by many FFAM members. I thank each one of you that volunteers your time, so the fairgrounds will be safe and protected.

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

Enjoy your summer and as always, I am available in the event you have any questions or comments. You may contact me at 573-473-4001 or chiefhoover@sbcglobal.net

Kenneth Hoover, President 
Fire Fighters Association of Missouri