Fire Fighters Association of Missouri
Archive | Larry Jennings RSS feed for this section

A Message from the 1st Vice President – November 2019

It is hard to believe, but it appears the end of the year is upon us and somehow most of us ran out of time to accomplish all the things we wanted to or more likely should have completed this year. I hope each of you find successes when available and remember to take the “big picture” into account before deciding your efforts fell terribly short.

I think we should talk a little about family this time. As we scrape the surface of this element of our lives I want to talk a little about our “home” family and about our “fire” family. We all know the importance of our families, whether they are traditional, blended, functional or like many, dysfunctional. The connection to your family often provides the foundation or at least the materials to make a foundation that will connect you to the world throughout your lifetime. Without some basic skills learned through your family connection we would be left floundering around searching for where we “fit” in to society.

The family dynamic has certainly changed over the years and we each can form our own opinion on what has been good and what may not have been so good in these changes. The busy lives, hectic work schedules and desire to serve our communities we have undertaken in recent times have helped to change some basic family functions. As less time is spent with our family it is easy to lose sight of the importance our family interaction serves. With this in mind we all need to make the effort to carve out time to interact with your family and perhaps take the high road and work towards repairing any damage that has been done in the past without casting blame or expecting praise for doing so.

Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – September 2019

I hope everyone’s summer has gone well and you had the opportunity to get those things done you wanted and maybe even carved out a little time to rest and relax. For those of you that represented the FFAM by working at the Missouri State Fair Fire Department, I extend my personal thanks and thank you on behalf of the citizens of Missouri and those visiting our great state for your dedication and willingness to serve in such a unique agency.

In this edition why don’t we talk about memories. Each of us have developed many memories over the years and will continue to do so at least up until the day we pass. Some of those memories are treasured and bring great joy to us when we reflect on them, but others are not so good and sometimes as much as we try they just don’t go away. Stop, before you don’t read any further because you think we are going to rehash a current topic of job related mental illness and PTSD, we are not headed there.

It has been said that all of our experiences and all of the memories that result from those experiences blend together to make the person we each become. If you are fortunate to have only good experiences and positive memories then I applaud you and hope you bring a ray of sunshine into everyone’s life you touch. Of course if this is the case it is likely you are not in the emergency services field. As most of you know our line of work exposes us to the worst days of a lot of people’s lives and even though the tragedy may not have happened directly to us, we will share that memory with those people forever. Due to that exposure we in the emergency services field tend to be a little more cynical or skeptical and have what I like to call, “a firm grip on reality.” No, I am not saying we should all run around being gloom and doom, I am just saying we may sometimes be a little less than a ray of sunshine.

Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – JULY 2019

Believe it or not, it may actually get to be summer sometime this year, well maybe. Hopefully for those of you affected in large or small ways by the unusual weather patterns and flooding, you are able to recover. I think we should talk about retirement in this edition.

Although you might not be ready to “retire” just yet please continue to read as this isn’t just about what you think retirement is in the traditional sense. Let’s talk about traditional retirement first so we can get that out of the way. If you are ready to retire and you have things lined up so you can “fade” away in style then I say congratulations and I hope all is well. But, hey don’t forget when you go you are taking along a vast amount of experience and knowledge. Perhaps you could find a way to share that knowledge with those remaining in the fire service.

For those of us that are getting closer to traditional retirement there is still time to get your things in order so you can leave in style and still be able to live comfortably. Hopefully, by this point in your career you have made wise investments, lived life to its fullest and above all taken care of your health.

Continue Reading →

Convention 2019 – The Aftermath

Well, it is over. That’s right Convention 2019 has come and gone and all that is left is some nifty shirts and memories. It was the pleasure of the FFAM Board of Directors to serve as host for the 2019 Convention and we hope each attendee had an enjoyable experience.

Returning to familiar territory, the event was held on the beautiful grounds of the Missouri State Fair, home too many of our members for 11 days a year during the State Fair. We were fortunate enough to have decent weather and made it through the entire weekend without rain, torrential winds or snow, all of which have blessed the convention on various other occasions.

As others will be providing additional details about the Convention throughout this edition let it suffice to say the fire fighter challenge contest and awards banquet went well. We tried something a little different this year and included a Friday evening meal as part of the registration fee. We put together a pretty tasty picnic style meal and were able to accommodate almost everyone’s dietary needs for the evening.

Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – MAY 2019

I hope this edition finds each of you poised to enjoy summer and maybe some much needed time away from at least a few of your normal responsibilities. I have come to realize over the years that it is vitally important to make and take time to break the normal daily schedule as overall life is way too short to not enjoy all that is around you.

Let’s talk a bit about the future. For those of us getting a little long in the tooth, that’s an “old generation” saying, the “future” we once saw may have already become yesterday and we have moved on towards a new “future.” For those younger readers it may seem like the future is so distant that it is just not that important to you right now. For those in the middle you have seen enough to know the past is the past and the future you once saw is not that far away. No matter which group you may fall into we all must remember one fundamental concept: the future is yours.

There are some schools of thought that believe everything is pre-determined and no matter what action you may or may not take, your future is already written and you just have to ride the wave to find what your future is. There are other schools of thought that would subscribe to the theory that everything you do is controlled by you and what your future is will be shaped by the decisions and actions you take.

Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – MAR 2019

Greetings! During these cold, ice and snow covered days in parts of our state it is hard to think that Spring, if we get to have one this year, and then Summer will be upon us in no time at all and we will all be discussing how hot and humid our state is and how much we wish Fall or Winter was near.

In this edition let’s talk about investing. Seems like a simple enough topic on the surface, but investing can take on many forms at many different levels in our lives. I think we can all agree that an investment in the obvious form normally deals with a financial matter. In other forms investment can be doing things for your betterment, we have all heard the saying “invest in your future” at some point or another.

When you consider the overall importance of financial matters in the long term well-being of any of us it becomes pretty evident that at some point we each need to make investments. Although money is not everything, it is an unfortunate thing that in our society money is required to meet many of our obligations. The recent federal government shut down news coverage was riddled with the sensational stories of employees that had not yet missed the first paycheck, but were already going to be evicted or had no food for themselves. I am fully aware that there are many people in our society that live literally from one paycheck to the next, but to have this outcry before a check was missed should be a wake up call to anyone working and receiving a paycheck.

Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – JAN 2019

Welcome officially to the New Year! Since you are reading this it is a good sign that you made it through all of the various holidays that closed out 2018. As hard as it is to believe the year certainly sped by as they all seem to do anymore. I hope you all had a good close to 2018 and my hopes are you have a prosperous and safe 2019!

Let’s talk about goals in this edition. It seems about the end of one year and the beginning of the next many of us jump up and make noises about one thing or another to improve ourselves either through better eating, more exercise, more education or other similar endeavors. While all of these items are admirable, are they realistic? Oh, we all say they are and we have the best intentions, but a short time into making that modification in our lives something always seems to come along and derail us. Before long we sink in to that funk that perhaps we are a borderline failure or just somehow don’t have the required discipline to stick to our goals.

This issue can extend beyond those personal expectations we set with the best of intentions and spread into our work or even family lives. We sometimes set goals that many times for reasons beyond your direct control fall short and we once again start sliding into that funk. Eventually we reach a point that we just don’t care anymore and give up on trying to do something positive with our lives or careers and just start going through the motions to exist. When this happens it can lead to many negative results if left unchecked.

Continue Reading →

A Message From the 1st Vice President – November 2018

Well believe it or not, just as expected the winter months have begun, daylight savings time has wound down, busy schedules have not slowed and we are headed in to the traditional “holiday” season. I hope each of you are well and will have the opportunity over the coming months to enjoy much needed rest and interaction with family and friends.

I believe we should talk about motivation this time. For a large share of people this is a word or concept that just happens with little to no effort. For others, motivation can be a challenge. For some people they have been highly motivated, but now find themselves… Let’s just say, less than motivated. I would imagine if you think back to your early days in the fire service you were highly motivated. It was exciting, it was new, it was a challenge, and you wanted to learn. For some, that remains the spirit right up to an into their retirement years. The rest fall someplace between the highly motivated and the person who leaves the fire service entirely.

Perhaps we should examine why over time some of our members are no longer very motivated to put out their best effort, show up for incidents or trainings or even stay a member. I firmly believe that motivation is one of the key drivers in keeping a person actively involved in the fire service. It is incumbent on each of us and particularly on the formal leaders in the fire service to make the fire service worthwhile and to spark the motivation every member had at one time.

Continue Reading →