Fire Fighters Association of Missouri

History’s Corner – September 2020

Well, it seems that because of the circumstances we are making history in 2020. It was April 16-17, 1955, when the Firefighters Association of Missouri held it’s first-ever “Fire Convention” in Columbia.

There were some forward-thinking members of the fire service in Missouri in the mid-1950s who thought that their interests were not being addressed at the state level. These folks were just like the present members of your local fire department. Most were volunteers who worked as car dealers, farmers, welders, concrete finishers, and many other trades. Some were local ministers, bankers, and leaders of their respective communities. They all had one thing in common. They wanted a voice in politics in Jefferson City and they wanted recognition for their efforts as members of their local fire department. They also wanted a way that thoughts and ideas that would improve the emergency services in the state could be shared with one another for the greater improvement of the service.

Demonstration from First Convention April, 1955

1954 – 1955

What was going on in 1954 -1955 along with these thoughts? Dwight David Eisenhower was the president. He made the decision on February 12, 1955, to send the first military advisors to south Vietnam. That same month he conducted the very first presidential news conference on a TV network. On a slightly lighter note, the McGuire Sisters song Sincerely was number one on the national charts and stayed there for ten weeks. On February 13, 1955, KRCG/TV in Jefferson City started broadcasting! On March 5, Elvis Presley made his very first TV appearance on the show Louisiana Hayride. If you had a TV at the time, you were more than likely watching Dragnet, I Love Lucy, The Jackie Gleason Show, and the kids were really into Howdy Doody.

New bcfpd International 4×4 / Towers 750 front mount leading ffam Convention Parade in Columbia in 1974. Boone County had three of these delivered after fire district formation in 1970.

According to the “official” FFAM records, the convention was held again in 1974, 1977, 1979, and 1988 in Columbia. Each of those years the host department was the Boone County Fire Protection District. 

Festus/Jefferson County Firefighters Association has four conventions under their belt over the years. Washington Volunteer Fire Company holds the record for five conventions, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002. If the grapevine is any source for anything nowadays their total may jump up to six in 2021. 

My first experience with FFAM conventions was as a young member of the St. Charles Township Fire Department. That department hosted the convention in St. Charles in 1958. For some reason, the leadership of that department thought it was a good idea to take on a couple of green kids fresh out of high school as members. My only contribution to the convention was to provide the music for the “firefighters ball” that was held at the Knight of Columbus Hall as part of the convention.

The Swing Kings dance band provided music for the firefighters ball in St. Charles for the 1958 ffam Convention. That is yours truly on the trumpet. Another lifetime occupation missed!

 Our thanks and the gratitude from all the FFAM members goes out to all the hard-working folks at Kearny. It’s one thing to bust your butt and then have a successful convention. It is still another to do that and then not have a convention. We know this was not your first rodeo, since you have hosted a number of conventions. We all appreciated your efforts. 


Congratulation to Chief Keith Wolven, the Board of Directors and members of the SSCFPD in Branson West for their thoughtful and innovative plan to support the two school district high school teams in their fire district. 

The Hackney/International rescue rig had been in service for a number of years, responding from the District’s headquarters station in Branson West. The International chassis had served its purpose and it was time for a change.

Like most fire districts, the options were to either replace the entire rig at a huge capital outlay or transfer the Hackney body to a new chassis.

That chore fell to SSCFPD master mechanic Captain Brad Snider. Brad is a perfectionist when it comes to this type of project and did a highly professional job. Because of the size of the vehicle, there was plenty of room for promotion of the two high school sports teams on the sides of the vehicle. 

It is oblivious that Southern Stone is living their motto, which is also clearly displayed on all their vehicles, “Neighbors helping neighbors”. Thanks for all you do in our neighborhood.