Fire Fighters Association of Missouri
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Mutual Aid Update

Thank you to the entire FFAM family for allowing me the opportunity to meet the board and auxiliary back on June 7, and for extending the invitation to be a part of this newsletter, providing a forum to share valuable information to each of you!

A quick snapshot of me, I am a 33-year veteran of the Missouri fire service, serving in volunteer, career, and military departments. I retired from the Columbia Fire Department in October 2019. Almost immediately, I was brought into the Missouri Division of Fire Safety as the Program Manager for the Fire Fighter I/II, and Hazardous Materials programs. On April 6, 2020, I was promoted to Statewide Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator. My move into this new position certainly came at a very challenging time for Missouri and the Missouri fire service. COVID-19/PPE, followed by civil unrest, and a tropical depression were just the first sixty days of my “trial by fire.” To those who have reached out and helped guide me through the last ten weeks, fire chiefs, regional coordinators, Matt Luetkemeyer, Chief Bean, and former co-workers, I cannot thank you enough.
With the gradual reopening of the state, it is allowing me to get out to some of the regional chiefs meetings and meet you folks in person!

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Division Spotlight – November 2018

The Division of Fire Safety salutes the service of Monty and Joyce Thompson. Through forty-eight years of marriage, the Thompsons have served the public through their volunteer work with the Kearney Fire and Rescue Protection District. They’ve also spent part of thirty-seven summers working at the Missouri State Fair.

In 1970, Monty joined the Kearney district and Joyce joined the Ladies Auxiliary. Forty-eight years later Monty continues to serve the district as a volunteer assistant chief. Joyce continues her work with the auxiliary.

In 1981, Monty received his EMT license. In 2010, he received his Fire Fighter I and II certifications. Since Kearney did not have an ambulance and the closest one was with the Holt Volunteer Fire Department, Monty would help get patients ready until an ambulance arrived. He also worked weekends at Smithville Hospital.

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Division Spotlight – September 2018

Robert was born November 11, 1972, to Wayne and Linda Dawes in Springfield, Missouri. He attended Walnut Grove schools where his mother was a school teacher for over 30 years, graduating in 1991.

Robert married his wife Carie in 1995 and moved to Blue Springs, Missouri, to start their family. He then attended DeVry Institute of Technology and received an associate’s degree in electronics in February 1999. He was hired right out of school and spent the next eleven years working as an elevator mechanic for General Elevator and Hydraulics Company in Lees Summit. Over the years Robert and Carie had three daughters. While working for the elevator company they moved to Stockton, Missouri, in 2004.

Robert began working for the Division of Fire Safety’s Elevator and Amusement Ride Safety program in 2010 and has proven to be a loyal and valuable employee. Fellow employees enjoy Robert’s positive attitude and good humor.
In April of 2018, Robert was asked to teach a three day elevator safety class to the Springfield Fire Department for elevator evacuation procedures. He was commended for the excellent job he did sharing his expertise and providing a hands-on presentation. The fire department was very pleased with his presentation. Since that time, several areas of the State have requested Robert’s presentation.

Robert and his wife are members of the Benevolent and Protective order of Elks which provides assistance for veterans and families in need.

MO Division Spotlight – March 2018

Matthew Luetkemeyer, the Statewide Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator for the Division of Fire Safety has served in the fire service for the last twenty-eight years, but not always in Missouri. From humble beginnings, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, Matt started out as a volunteer firefighter in Warrenton in 1990 as a junior firefighter. At the same time, he was a cadet member of the Wentzville Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. Upon graduation from high school in 1992, Matt combined his passion for the fire service with his interest in aviation and military studies, and enlisted in the United States Air Force as a firefighter.

After completing basic military training and graduating from the Department of Defense Fire Academy, Matt was assigned to Whiteman AFB, in Missouri. He worked his way up through the ranks from the tail board to crew chief, with temporary duty assignments in the Middle East and Central America. In 1996, Matt left active duty to serve in the Air Force Reserves and then on to the Missouri Air National Guard. While serving part time as a firefighter, and still as a volunteer in Warrenton, Matt worked as a dispatcher for Warren County Joint Communications. This led to a position with the Missouri State Highway Patrol as a tele-communicator at Troop C in St. Louis. During this time, Matt met his wife, Betsy, and now son, Wesley. In 2000, Matt and Betsy made the decision to return to active duty in the Air Force and were given a direct duty assignment to the Fire Department at Charleston AFB, SC. After Charleston, they then continued their military journey, being assigned to fire departments at Eielson AFB, Alaska, where they welcomed the birth of their son, Jacob. Then on to Daegu AB, Republic of South Korea, and Minot AFB, North Dakota, where they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Magdalene. They then went to RAF Mildenhall, England, and then back to Minot, North Dakota, where Matt retired in 2016 with twenty-four years of service. Over the years, Matt has held duty positions throughout the spectrum of the fire service to include Firefighter, Driver/Operator, Crew Chief, Logistics Officer, Station Chief/Captain, Fire Inspector, Assistant Chief of Health and Safety, Assistant Chief of Operations, and Assistant Chief of Training. Other duties have included Contracting Officer Representative and Inspector over War Reserve Material maintenance contracts, U.S. Customs Inspector, Unit Safety Representative, and Unit Deployment Manager. Deployments and temporary assignments have included duties in the United Arab Emirates, Honduras, Qatar, Okinawa, Germany, and Iraq. After retiring from military service, Matt, Betsy, and their children returned to Missouri to settle down and establish a permanent home.

Upon their return to Missouri, Matt and his family settled in to Columbia where they started the search for their new careers. Matt found his way to the Division of Fire Safety and secured the position as the Statewide Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator, where he quickly established a rapport with fire departments all over the state. Through the coordination of resources over several emergencies, along with the assistance of the nine Regional Fire Mutual Aid Coordinators and the command staff from departments far and wide, he has quickly gained a foothold within the fire service here in Missouri. Above and beyond his Mutual Aid duties, he oversees the NFIRS reporting as the State NFIRS Program Manager for the U.S. Fire Administration. As well as maintaining the Fire Department Registration process, Radio Frequency Sharing Agreements with the Division of Fire Safety, the Division’s Donated Equipment Program, the Missouri Volunteer Fire Service Program, and he has been an integral part of the new Missouri Firefighter Veterans’ Initiative. He also fields questions from not only the fire service, but also citizens from around the state in regards to burn bans, fire department activities and requirements, fire reports, and other related topics. Matt has also established communications, and worked on projects with the Statewide Mutual Aid Coordinators for Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Forest Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Department of Defense partners, from both active duty and the National Guard from around the state. Matt has been a valuable and dedicated member of the team in the Division and plans to be for a very long time.

Betsy has established her new career as an employee of the State of Missouri as well. Initially working for the Department of Health and Senior Services, she now works for the Department of Social Services as an Administrative Office Assistant. Wesley, 23, works for a non-profit organization in Columbia, and Jake, 14, and Maggie, 8, are both attending school. Together, they have enjoyed being back home close to family and enjoy the outdoors of Missouri by camping, hiking, and ATV riding whenever they get the chance. They are all glad to be a part of the community and look forward to continuing their service to the State of Missouri for many years.

MO Division Spotlight – January 2018

Deputy Chief Steve Grass, Chief of Investigations for the Division of Fire Safety, is no stranger to the fire service. Steve started out riding tail board on the Marywood Fire Deparment in Aurora, Illinois in 1980. When he moved to Mountain Home, Arkansas in 1981 to attend college. He served on the Northeast Lakeside Fire Department until 1985 when he was accepted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol to attend the recruit academy. After graduating the patrol academy, Steve requested to be stationed near the Arkansas border for his love of the Ozarks. He was stationed in Macon-Shelby counties! There, he learned the difference between a draft pond and sewage lagoon!

Steve became the Assistant Chief of Shelbina Fire Department and was a member of FFAM and the Northeast Missouri Firefighter’s Association. Steve served on the Shelbina Fire Department until 1990 when he requested a transfer to Troop (Region) G, Wright County. “I loved the people in Shelby County, but I hated the winters, “ said Steve. “If I could pack the folks up and take them with me, I would have,” he said. Steve soon joined the Mansfield Fire Department where he was chosen to be assistant chief. “I was very pleased with how the department was very close knit and worked very well with the surrounding county departments,” said Steve. One of his biggest hurdles was the challenge of going through and ISO evaluation. “One day a gentleman walked into the station and said he was from ISO and was doing a courtesy check of their records. He said it had been several years since we had an ISO evaluation, we were an ISO-6. He said, “we are showing your front line pumper was a 1960 Chevrolet and your second due was a 1938 Ford? What do you have now?” This was 1993, I told him, “a 1960 Chevrolet and a 1938 Ford!” He said, “we need to talk.” Continue Reading →

MO Division Spotlight – November 2017

Shane and Vicki Bullock have been married 17 years and share a love for God, family, friends, hobbies and church.

Shane has been in some aspect of the fire service for over 28 years. He began as a Junior Firefighter in High School and successfully climbed the ranks from “go-for” gopher to Lieutenant, from Training Officer to Chief. In the beginning, he served in many capacities for the Belle Volunteer Fire Department with over 274 square miles as his responsibility when he also became one of the youngest Fire Chiefs in the State of Missouri. Continue Reading →