Fire Fighters Association of Missouri
Archive | November, 2020

FFAM Historian Passes, Kay F. Asher

Kay Asher, the much-loved historian of the FFAM, left us on September 21, 2020. If you did not know Kay in some way through her work with the FFAM, it would surprise me. Kay was involved with the FFAM and the FFAM Auxiliary since 1968. Her late husband, Delmon “Jack” Asher, was the historian of the organization for over 25 years. Kay and Jack worked side-by-side to preserve the history of this organization. Not only did they collect our history. But they graciously provided space in their home to store the artifacts. After Jack passed in 2010, Kay continued to collect, preserve and keep the history of the FFAM. She was a major supporter of the firefighter’s museum being built in Kingdom City so that we would have a place for our history. Kay was honored many times and many ways by the FFAM, achieving Spouse of the Year in the Auxiliary in 1995, and she received the Phil Sayer Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

On a personal level, I became friends with Kay early on in my involvement with the FFAM. No one could not be friends with Kay. Her sparkling and bubbling personality reached across space and couldn’t be ignored. I remember when I first met Jack and Kay. I was mesmerized by this giant of a man that towered over this tiny little short woman. She held his hand as they went thru the room, and I might add, kept him in line. Once she got around to me, she grabbed my hand and said, “Now, I’m Kay, who are you?” A force to be reckoned with was my first thought of this precious lady. Her smile was infectious, and her laughter, oh my! If you got her giggling before you knew it, everyone was giggling too. Even the boys! She was feisty, ornery as could be, funny as they come, quick with a hug and a kiss, and if she ever got mad… You’d better watch out! But most of all, she was the dearest of friends, and I’m glad she became one of mine.

We are all saddened at the loss of Kay. We will all miss her greatly at our meetings and conventions. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Asher family. God speed Miss Kay. Continue Reading →

The Passing of Firefighter Gerald “Ike” Taylor

Isaac Gerald Taylor, 91, of Cameron, Missouri, passed away September 19, 2020, at his home surrounded by his loved ones. Gerald was born September 24, 1929, in St. Joseph, Missouri to Isaac and Ora (Redmond) Taylor. He was a graduate of Maysville High School, class of 1947. Gerald married Phyllis May Lebow on February 27, 1954, in Maysville, Missouri. He worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation until his retirement. Gerald was actively involved in the community. He was a Boy Scout Leader for Troop 175 and Tribe of Mic-o-say and was a member of local chapters, Elmer Ellis Post 33 and VFW Reynolds-Vorris and Pemberton. Gerald was preceded in death by his parents, Isaac and Ora Taylor, great-granddaughter Trinity Roberts, and grandson Jeff Taylor. Survivors include wife Phyllis Taylor of the home, son Steven G. Taylor, daughter Susan (Don) Wiedmaier, two granddaughters, five great-grandsons, and two great grand-daughters.

Last fall, the City of Cameron recognized Taylor for his 52 years of service to the Cameron Fire Department. Along with a proclamation from the residing Mayor Darlene Breckenridge, he also received a commemorative plaque from then Cameron Assistant Fire Chief Mike Walser. Walser said Taylor played a vital role in not only the fire department but emergency medical services as well. The Cameron Police Department, Cameron EMS, and Cameron Fire Department then gave him a formal escort out of the city hall. Taylor is the longest-serving employee in the history of Cameron.

A month later, Missouri State Fire Marshal J. Tim Bean recognized him during a special ceremony. “The loyalty and commitment you demonstrated throughout your career exemplify the best of the Missouri Fire Service,” Bean said. “Your dedication is appreciated by all. Thank you again. I know what a strain it is on the family. I was raised in it. Thank you, sir.”

Auxiliary Meeting Minutes – November 2020

The meeting was called to order by President Jessica Miller at 9:00 a.m.

Members Present
Jessica Miller, Norborne FPD; Sheri Berendzen, Cole Co FPD; Carrisa Thompson, Holts Summit FPD; Joni Fields, Paris Rural FD; Ann Jones, Madison West Monroe FPD; Joyce Thompson, Kearney Fire and Rescue.

Jessica Miller asked if there were any changes, comments, or corrections for the August 9, 2020 meeting minutes. Joni Field made a motion to accept the meeting notes as written, seconded by Carrisa Thompson, motion passed.

Financial report
Sheri Berendzen read the report with a beginning balance of $4,590.37 in our account at the closing of the August meeting. There was one deposit for a total of $35.00 and 0 expenses and a new balance of $4,625.37. Ann Jones made a motion to accept the financial report, seconded by Joyce Thompson, motion passed. Continue Reading →

A Message From The 2nd VP – November 2020

Greetings brothers and sisters. I thought this newsletter I would write about something different. I wanted to write about what your membership’s benefits are as a member, as it has become time again to renew your membership. The membership packets are mailed or soon will be to your department. Your memberships are due January 1st to Jamie at the office. We use this money to run the organization and provide benefits to its membership. Also, a portion of that money goes to the memorial.

As an FFAM member, you have many benefits. A member of the largest fire service Association in the State of Missouri. Support from an organized voice on important annual fire service legislation in Jefferson City. Having representation in the National Volunteer Fire Council. A line of duty death benevolence program that makes available $1,000 to your beneficiary. You are eligible to receive assistance with the repair or loss of broken eyeglasses up to $200. You have access to college scholarships for yourself, dependents, or family members. Department members are eligible to apply for up to $3,000 in an equipment grant. Receive discounts of up to 25% on select VFIS Volunteer Fire Service Insurance programs. Access to low-cost accidental death and dismemberment insurance. You can receive a Jones & Bartlett Learning and IFSTA training manual. You have exclusive access to California Casualty Insurance programs for preferred auto and home. Receive discounts on tuition through Columbia Southern University and Waldorf College. Receive discounts from Missouri Storm Shelters. Discount medical screenings from LifeLine Screenings. Air Evac membership discounts Airmedcare membership application. Discount tickets to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, and Six Flags. Department/member MU FRTI Winter Fire School training scholarship. ID machine available for check-out. Contact RB Brown at 636-692-8500.

Each member receives this bi-monthly newsletter delivered to your home. The newsletter details a large variety of fire service issues on a regional, state, and national level, a training schedule of regional and state fire schools, featured articles, equipment classifieds, political issues, and more.

Continue Reading →

Eight Promoted to Firefighter

The Southern Stone County Fire has recently promoted eight of its members to the rank of a firefighter within the district. The promotion ceremonies were during the June, July, and September board meetings. The promotional ceremony introduced a new “green stripe” tradition.

Southern Stone Fire Deputy Chief Mike Moore stated, “It builds off a tradition in the Southern Stone County Fire district started several years ago when a green stripe of duct tape, was placed on the top of an introductory firefighter’s helmet. It was a simple way to identify a new, introductory member on the incident scene. When the introductory training was finished the green stripe came off.” Since its inception, every introductory firefighter wore that green stripe through his or her training.

Deputy Chief Moore said, “To carry that tradition to the next level, we have come up with a new tradition, with respect to that green stripe.” We will continue to have the newly promoted firefighter remove the green stripe. However, now the firefighter will cut off a piece of that green stripe and stick it on the bottom brim of the promoted firefighter’s new traditional helmet. As a part of the new promotion ceremony, the following is read aloud before the green stripe coming off. Continue Reading →

History’s Corner – November 2020

I am sure that we can all agree that these are strange and difficult times. I have been around for over eighty years, and I cannot remember a year of my life with more trying situations. I have found that reflecting on the past and some of the most fun times and the most epic people I have encountered make the day more meaningful.

In doing this exercise, most of the individuals that come to mind are fire service folks, and their memories make me smile. One of the most interesting couples I have met in the past was from my home county of St. Charles, actually Wentzville. To see Jack and Kay Asher at an FFAM convention was a true Mutt and Jeff experience. Seeing them walk into a room, hand-in-hand would make you smile. For decades, they kept records of almost any activity the FFAM did. Even after Jack passed in 2010, Kay continued the quest for information and kept the historian’s role alive until her death. I think that is true dedication to a cause.

One of my many articles that appeared in this newsletter reflected some of that dedication. In the May and June 2012 issue, I wrote an article about the origin of the FFAM, and Jack contributed to it. The following are some excerpts from that same article, with some of Jack’s style of writing included. Continue Reading →

News From District 2 – November 2020

Hello, from District 2. The 2020 annual fire and EMS funeral team conference were on October 23-24 in Lake Ozark, Missouri. Instructors from four states with the National Honor Guard Academy made us realize we had muscles that we did not use very often. From rifles to axes, color guard procedures to folding the flag. It was a great two days of honor guard training, with nearly forty in attendance. I wish to thank all that attended and the FFAM newsletter for supporting the event by sharing the information with everyone. Also to Brian Zinanni and the Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team for sponsoring our keynote speaker as she traveled many miles to share her story.

The speaker was Ms. Juliann Ashcraft, wife of Andrew Ashcraft. Andrew lost his life along with nineteen fellow firefighters in the Yarnall Hill fires in Prescott, Arizona, in 2013. He was 27 years old. The fire funeral team here in Missouri loaded up their trailers and responded to Arizona to honor and assist with the visitations and funerals in 2013. At just 29 years old, she lost her high school sweetheart. In an instant, she was alone with four children.

She did a round table on Saturday afternoon with a good group attending. She shared information on how teams could assist families before, during, and after the visitation and funeral. At the annual banquet, she gave a very inspiring talk about her life during and after Andrews’s death. We had tears in our eyes one minute and laughing and smiling the next. I wish to thank the FFAM Board President Chief Hoover, and District 14 Assistant Director Glenn Dittmar for assisting in presenting Ms. Ashcraft with a replica of our Missouri kneeling firefighter.


Sometimes we do not realize what impact we can have on supporting our fellow firefighters and EMS families in their time of need. She made us realize the funeral is not the last thing a family may need. She stated she had a “village” that helped her with whatever she needed after the funeral. An incredibly special lady. You can hear her speak if you go to youtube and pull up the 2019 National Fallen firefighter Christmas tree lighting. Continue Reading →

Preparing for Winter Operations

Slips, trips, and falls are the top type of employee injuries. These incidents occur at the station and on the scene throughout the year. But increase substantially through the winter months. Slips, trips, and falls are costly for fire departments as well, with the average lost workday claim reaching $60,000 in costs. Awareness, policy, equipment, and tactics combine to help reduce your exposure to injuries.

Fire departments are encouraged to review their winter weather policies and regularly communicate safety messages to firefighters. Take a few moments and review these safety tips with all members of your fire department. Continue Reading →