By Pam Burditt
Mom and I recently represented the Foundation at the Digital Ally Golf Tournament events including the trophy ceremony. Additionally we volunteered for the KC Crusaders who staffed the event. We had a wonderful time. The tournament benefits NFFF, S.A.F.E., COPS, and our local Children’s Mercy hospital. The trophy was flown to the 18th hole by the CMH helicopter. Digital Ally is committed to supporting fallen first responders
We met with the family of a KC fallen firefighter who will be added to the memorial in October and also two recently fallen KC police officer families.
Day one of the tournament was 120 degree comfort index with the humidity, no breeze in sight. Sunday was cloudy, windy and cool and I was freezing. That is Kansas for you. There seemed to be a great turnout regardless of the weather.
All three of the leading golfers were in the same group heading into the 18th hole, and all missed their birdie putts resulting in a three-player playoff which tied again so it was off to the 17th hole for the second playoff which was eventually won by Wesley Bryan. It was very exciting even though I know nothing about golf.
While volunteering we had one shot land in front of us right next to the port-a-potty’s and this shot landed behind us in the weeds which was later moved out to the street for him to hit. We had to stop traffic for this player to continue. I couldn’t resist taking this photograph. If you have any free time consider volunteering to assist at one of the Foundation golf events. There are a variety of ways to assist, some require no knowledge of golf nor walking of the course.
Since the early days of the fire service, bells have been used as a way to summon firefighters to a station, communicate the type of emergency or announce the end of a shift. When a firefighter died in the line of duty, a special sequence of five bells was tapped. The tolling of bells is still a tradition to honor the fallen during funerals and memorial services for firefighters.
You can be part of a national tradition to honor the memories of firefighters who died in the line of duty and show your support for their survivors. Join the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) in Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters. This poignant tribute is part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, October 8-9 in Emmitsburg, MD.
As the Memorial Service begins on Sunday, October 9, the bells at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel will chime. Local remembrances can occur any time between October 7 and 9, and can be a thoughtful moment of silence, a special reading or tolling a ceremonial bell by members of the local fire department. Suggestions for tributes that others have used and additional materials are available at www.bellsacrossamerica.com.
“Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters is a unique, grass-roots opportunity for a community to pay their respects to these brave men and women,” said Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, Executive Director of the NFFF. “It is also a very meaningful way to show the survivors of the fallen that their loved ones will not be forgotten.”
More than 6,000 people, including Members of Congress, Administration officials and other dignitaries, members of the fire service, and families and friends of the fallen firefighters will attend the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. Families will receive flags flown over the U. S. Capitol and the National Memorial. Members of the fire service, pipes and drums, and honor guard units from across the U.S. will participate in this national tribute.
A complete list of fallen firefighters being honored and a widget to display their information on your website, along with Memorial Weekend related videos, photos, media and broadcast information is available at weekend.firehero.org.
On Saturday, October 29, you can be a hero to the survivors of our fallen firefighters and to the firefighters that protect you. Take 2,220 steps with firefighters from around the country at the 2nd Annual National Stair Climb for Fallen Firefighters at Citi Field.
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This fall, the Behavioral Health team will be launching several new resources to provide the fire service and their families with access to counseling and psychological support.
To help the fire service move to the next step, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is sponsoring a meeting in Baltimore on September 26-28, which will explore how to develop messages that will encourage people to change behaviors. We are inviting several of the researchers who informed Heart to Heart, representatives from fire departments who support cardiovascular disease research, and some from the fire service constituent organizations who have a galvanizing influence throughout our industry.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has rolled out a totally revamped website to support seatbelt usage among firefighters. “The look and feel of this new website, plus its increased ease of use will improve this already effective program,” says the Executive Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has managed the seatbelt pledge program since 2011.
A faciliated discussion and planning session helped us gather important feedback and lay the groundwork for the coming year. Based on that discussion and other input we’ve recevied throughout the year, we are going to take a new approach and create a strategic plan for each region. We may be reaching out through a few surveys to collect some information from everyone. Your valuable insights will be needed to meet each defined goal.
For the Arizona Local Assistance State Team (AZ LAST) and many other teams across the country, 2016 marks the 10th Anniversary of a landmark initiative by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) aimed at providing assistance and support to fire departments following the death of a firefighter.
In June, thanks to a generous donation from the family of Timothy T. Gunther (2015-NY), we held the first ever Young Adult Retreat in Warrenton, Virginia, for sons and daughters of fallen firefighters, ages 18-25.
In May, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation hosted a Survivor Wellness Conference in Portland, Oregon. This conference focused on self-care during grief and included sessions about physical, mental, and emotional health.