A happy new year, and I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday season! Now that 2020 is behind us, let’s look forward and be positive that 2021 will be far better. So with the new year, challenge everyone in your department to set a goal for themselves, including command staff, and set a department goal for the entire organization to achieve in 2021. No matter if you are a volunteer, combination, or career. We all can set goals to improve ourselves and enhance our organization we represent. With hopes that we are on the downward curve of COVID-19, we can get back to face to face training with members of neighboring agencies. I know some departments have limited outside training and some have suspended in house training as well. We all should be the “best boots on the ground” so if we are running with our mutual aid departments we know how they operate and the incident should go smoothly.
In other District 11 news, two fire districts were on Santa’s good list. Smithville Fire Protection District received their new Ford F-550 squad that will respond to medical and wildland fires in calls in the 112 square miles they protect per Chief Cline. In December, Edgerton-Trimble Fire Protection District also received their new Squad 81 Ram 5500 crew cab. It will help fight brush fires and will be used as a medical response. It is equipped with SCBA and structural firefighting tools and auto extrication equipment. Chief Rodney Deckman said the unit will be used in their 61 square miles. It can respond quickly to areas that larger apparatus have difficulty accessing. Both Chief Cline and Chief Deckman stated these new units would assist the district and reduce wear and tear and maintenance of the district’s pumpers currently used on medical calls.
Lastly, let’s talk about those that served before us. One thing that no one should forget, is to pay recognition to them all. Too often they become the old grumpy member or the forgotten retiree. In reality, they set the stonework of what your district or department is today. Some may have been volunteers before the agency ever thought of being a career or combo agency. Let’s not just push them aside and forget their importance to the station. Offer the retirees a cup of coffee or have lunch with the current crews. They lived the life we all are living currently at the station, but most did it for far less money or even free if it is now a career agency. My personal opinion is we can move forward with technology and the cool new rigs but, do not forget where we came from and who helped improve the department or district for yesteryears.
With that, I would like to recognize District 11 Senior Director Monty Thompson. He served 50 years with the Kearney Fire Protection District since the fall of 1970. He witnessed the department swing from all-volunteer to a paid IAFF department and has served as your FFAM District 11 for 40 plus years helping departments big and small in the Kansas City area. Congratulations sir, on all your accomplishments, and we look forward to more years of your service at both agencies.