"I pledge my dedication to upholding and elevating the impeccable standards of the IAFC; the expectations of the global fire service."
Chief Dan Eggleston, 2018-2019 IAFC President and Chairman of the Board, delivered his presidential acceptance speech during the general session of Fire-Rescue International, August 9, 2018, in Dallas, Texas.
"I would like to begin by thanking the IAFC membership and its leadership.
"This is an incredible organization that provides innumerable resources and a wealth of knowledge to members of the Fire Service.
"The leaders... our Board of Directors.... CEO Mark Light and his outstanding staff... all show an incredible level of dedication and professionalism every single day.
"Each of you here today exemplify the finest our fire service has to offer.
"We have much to be proud of.
"I would like to recognize my dear friend... and outgoing President Tom Jenkins....he tackled some very difficult issues during this tumultuous year and helped keep the IAFC focused on providing value to our membership.
"It is an honor to have had Chief Jenkins set the bar for me and I embrace the challenge.
"Firefighting isn’t just a profession... it’s a calling.
"Those of us who have had the good fortune to serve the public in this honorable career know exactly what I mean.
"We have a natural affinity to help others without expecting anything in return.
"The fire service is family and a culture unlike any other.
"Like many of us in the fire service, I followed in my father’s footsteps.
"My father, Jack Eggleston served in the fire service for over thirty years.
"He often sacrificed time away from his family in order to help others.... as many in this room have certainly done as well.
"My Brother in Law Mike Ferguson, who is a battalion chief in Petersburg, Virginia is here today, along with my Sister Jackie.... she’s a school teacher and has served in many leadership roles in the volunteer fire service.
"Their pride.... our pride... in our service to our communities and the nation... runs deep.
"Everyone in this room who proudly wears the mantle of a firefighter... or is connected to the fire service... knows exactly what I am speaking about.
"There is deep satisfaction in our association with the fire service.
"And, an abundance of pride.
"I would like to take this time to thank each one of you here today for taking time out of your personal lives.... away from your families... and loved ones.
"Whether it is in service to your community... instructing... mentoring... or traveling to conferences such as this one.
"Your allegiance to this career is laudable.
"I know I speak for leaders in the IAFC when I extend my our deepest... most heartfelt gratitude for your professionalism and dedication.
"Our jobs are changing....
"Like so many other regions of the country and the world of late, our communities are experiencing their share of turmoil.
"In three days, the Albemarle/Charlottesville community will mark the one year anniversary of a civil disturbance that drew the eyes of the nation.
"We are all experiencing some of the stormiest and most demanding issues we have ever seen in the fire service.
"I know that each of you are responding to similar challenges in your communities.
"We aren’t just firefighters anymore, we are civil servants called upon at a moment’s notice to answer any call for assistance.
"There are other battlegrounds we face.
"Our departments are entrenched in fighting for our own health and welfare through cancer prevention efforts... fighting for our jobs and benefits through pension reform... defining our role alongside law enforcement in acts of domestic terrorism and finally... ensuring ample future funding for much needed resources.
"I feel it is important to acknowledge that the IAFC embraces these challenges and is at the forefront of finding solutions.
"Whether it is through our regional relationships, informing our legislators or the aggressive stance it takes toward continually educating our members... IAFC leadership cares about its members, the community, and the fire service.
"One very important challenge that we have embraced is the mental health and welfare of our members.
"We are no longer expected to 'suck it up'... 'tough it out'...
"The IAFC and fire departments around the world understand the urgency of recognizing and treating firefighters who are in crisis.
"We are better than ever about building peer support teams and proactively offering programs for PTSD, depression, and substance abuse.
"We have much to be proud of in the fire service in 2018.
"With an influx of younger members, I feel confident we will continue to see our profession thrive.
"As I look around this room and witness the pride, professionalism, and genuine dedication to the fire service... it fills me with hope.
"The best is yet to come.
"The late Robert F. Kennedy once said.... 'Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written ....... the history of this generation.'
"In closing, I would like say I am so grateful to the members of the IAFC for putting their faith in me and electing me to this acclaimed role.
"It is my hope that this position will allow me to have a positive influence on our profession at an even higher level.
"I pledge my dedication to upholding and elevating the impeccable standards of the IAFC.... the expectations of the global fire service... and the tenets upon which our great nation was built.
"I challenge each of you to do the same as we stand side by side and march into the future of the fire service.
"Thank you and God Bless!"
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more