Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, the members of the IAFC, as your president and chairman of the board for 2011 and 2012. I am so fortunate to have the chance to serve as a leader of the leaders of the men and women who serve our citizens in communities around the world. …
We have been through some incredibly difficult times in our communities. Over the next year, the IAFC will help you in your trials at home as we move through where we are to what we will become as the fire service. We will continue to offer support to you through leadership, education and service in new and innovative ways so you can provide the best to the members of your departments and to the people we serve.
In addition to the great work that has been accomplished in the past, I intend to work with the IAFC staff, the executive committee and the board of directors to improve the communications we all need on emergency responses and in our organization, and soon, with everyone’s support, we hope to see the passage of Senate Bill 911 allocating the D Block to public safety.
We will help those in our organizations define and provide for a myriad of different types of EMS models based on the needs and desires of our communities.
We have been the “International” association forever, but this year—because of the hard work of our previous leaders—we will host a summit for fire service leaders from around the world in October.
And we will start a formal process of helping us, collectively, improve the image of our fire leaders and our organizations. We’ve been getting kicked around in this country for having the audacity of providing for our families a decent wage and a reasonable retirement after giving all we can—sometimes our health and very lives—for the safety and protection of the property of those same people and their families who spurn us. Many of us do this as volunteers in our communities.
But if you look in the media, sometimes we are our own worst enemy instead of our best cheerleader. We must show to the media, our citizens and our elected officials the things we do to earn their respect and excise those that do not represent the fire service as the leaders they deserve to have in charge of their fire departments.
I look forward to serving you and working as a member of this excellent group of leaders. I am humbled and grateful. Thank you.
Chief Al H. Gillespie, EFO, CFO, MIFireE
IAFC President and Chairman of the Board