As we look back over the last year much has happened. Many of our friends, neighbors, and those we have sworn to protect have lost much. The one constant through the pandemic has been YOU. THANK YOU for your dedication and loyalty to serve!
Vaccine mandate review:
Vaccines have been politicized to the point that misinformation abounds. What should you do, or what do you believe? https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-vaccine/art-20484859. Whatever you decide regarding vaccines, many institutions around us are taking positions that may make you, the front line, choose between your chosen career or unemployment.
For Example, The City of New York has imposed a vaccine mandate, Disney corporation mandated vaccines for anyone going on a cruise. A Battalion Chief was fired for refusing to enforce the order in Orange Co, and Winter Park FD mandates unvaccinated employees to get weekly COVID tests, while offering $150 to those who receive the vaccine. Locally, many hospitals have required all employees, vendors, and suppliers who enter the hospital to provide proof of vaccination.
As the United States tops 777,000 deaths from COVID and 5,000,000 million worldwide. This new strain (Omicron variant) rears its head
( https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern). What does all of this mean for you? What about your choices? So much confusion and the situation is very dynamic. At this time, we have the ability to bargain the impact of a mandate. There is also legislation https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/18/governor-ron-desantis-signs-legislation-to-protect-florida-jobs/ prohibiting the mandate for Gov agencies. Case law has supported the position for choice however, recent case law has upheld private company’s rights to impose mandates.
Local 2546 will continue to monitor the issue, and at this time, there are no departments we represent with vaccine mandates and we have NOT heard of any on the horizon. If you have questions or concerns over policy in your department, please speak with your DVP to coordinate efforts in getting answers for you.
One thing is for sure to me, and there are facts to support this position, vaccinated individuals are less likely to die from the virus. The decision to get vaccinated is a personal one that may come with consequences. If you are not vaccinated, please speak with your physician and review the risk and the benefits and review the facts from an individual medical standpoint.
New location now open:
The Union Office has officially moved to 752 Commerce Drive, Suite 1 and is precisely one building to the south of its old location. You can't miss it, the new storefront is impressive and offers little doubt about who resides inside. Please stop in to see the much-improved office space (and obtain a free gift for visiting) that provides an opportunity for your District Vice President to do the work of the membership. In mid 2022 the Executive board will complete a policy allowing the membership to use the hall for training, special events, and perhaps a retirement party or two. Due to trade and shipping issues, we have not yet received our cabinets to complete many of the workspaces but anticipate finalization by March. Please enjoy the photos of your new building. Thank you so much for being so committed to making your Union the best.
Local 2546 - Office
Note: Address 752 on side of the Building
Many of the old-timers have retired and moved on to other things, leaving gaps for the younger generation to step into. Opportunities abound in both the Departments and your Local, much of what you now have was because of those before you.
The pay we now experience did not come without commitment. It did not happen because our employers noticed our work. It came because of our commitment to educate and support the legislative body on what we do and assist them in getting elected, raising the level of awareness within the community by putting boots on the ground explaining what we do and what we need to continue to keep the community safe. We support candidates that support and understand our end goals. Without continuing this tradition many of the benefits and legislative support will be lost. In today's world, we do not contribute enough funds to compete with many of the big Political Action Committees. Small contributions matter but to bring attention to OUR causes and plights we must do more to stay relevant. Manpower and boots on the ground are something we can quickly provide to make us stand out. Some have said the new generation coming into the workforce want and expect more! Nothing wrong with feeling that way but that mission can not be completed without members committing time to the cause, and unfortunately there is no app for that.
You must make yourselves prevalent in all aspects of the promotion of Firefighters and your visibility is of the utmost importance. Social Media only goes as far as the user that looks at it. Older citizens do not use these platforms and many of them are the ones you are depending on to support you. Putting in the effort the old fashion way face to face and generating a dynamic conversation with the voters. This is the only way to assure your success and become memorable to the candidates we support. Especially when we/you do not have the political funds to compete with the huge corporations and special interest groups biding for tax dollars. Personal connections matter the most and all politics are local!
Your leadership team wants to ensure that you have the knowledge and keys for success, long after we have left leadership positions. This is about YOU, our Union, and your ability to successfully navigate in the upcoming years. This will not happen on its own and it will not happen without your dedication and desire to ensure a successful future for you and your families. It means a genuine team effort and the first step will be you committing. Our responsibility begins with providing you with educational opportunities to discover, learn, and obtain the tools needed to meet your goals. PLEASE contact your DVP or our Locals Secretary to get on a list for academic/political opportunities to start the process.
We must pass on how we got here and assist this generation as it explores new avenues. As part of the new generation of Firefighters and Paramedics, you must embrace your destiny to develop and improve our profession and its benefits by engaging fully. Participate when called, volunteer to help in our community, support the local's candidates, be kind to each other, and always remember Firefighters and Paramedics live to help others and protect our community.
I am thankful for what I have today and pray for those who are less fortunate than I, I am truly grateful to each of you for having faith in my leadership.
Please stay safe, stay strong and continue to serve with positive attitudes.
This December 2021 edition of Straight Streams is special to me because our youngest Son achieved one of his dreams, and I am able to post a couple of pictures from his journey.
Job well done Kota!
Congratulations to Dakota Vets for his appointment as a Firefighter for the
North River Fire District.
A dream realized is a goal;
broken into steps,
backed by a plan of action,
that becomes reality
Brothers and Sisters,
Happy New Year! Thankfully it is beginning to cool down outside a bit, although it seems like things around the Local never do.
I have been part of Charlotte County’s negotiation team. DVP Brendan Betancourt and the team have been working extremely hard with the negotiations.
In Sarasota, I continue to attend the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee and Training Committee meetings and continue to serve as a Trustee for the Sarasota County Fire Department Health Trust.
Last month, I had the privilege of attending an Executive Council Meeting with the Florida Professional Firefighters (FPF) in Jacksonville. January, I will be in Tallahassee as your representative on the Florida Professional Firefighters, Florida Retirement System Committee. I will also be attending the 2022 legislative session with the Florida Professional Firefighters leadership team, walking the halls of the State Capital building on your behalf to assist in delivery of our legislative priority's with our Local and State representatives.
As many of you know October 1st was the start of Suncoast Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, Inc., Local 2546’s fiscal year. A draft of the budget was presented and discussed at the September E-board meetings, and the finalized budget was presented and discussed at the Quarterly Membership Meeting in October.
There was a dues increased this year that will take effect after January 1, 2022. The dues increase came from an increase in Local operating dues based on an annual calculation per our By-Laws. The formula seeks to maintain a singular rate for all members that is based on a Local wide average. The dues are calculated yearly based on 1% of the average “normalized,” salary of all Units. Since some of our units finalized new contracts this year with salary increases, the average salaries of the units increased triggering an increase to the Local’s operating dues of $1.19 bi-weekly. The second reason the dues are increasing was due to an increase at the International level. The IAFF increased their dues $0.48 per month.
The current dues as of January 2022 will be:
(Click on image to enlarge)
Thank you, and I appreciate the opportunity to serve you all!
Brothers and Sisters,
I hope this article finds you well and enjoying this holiday season. Your Local has been working hard to prepare for 2022's Florida State legislative session and the upcoming election year. During the September Executive Board meeting, your elected board took the move for the first time and authorized maximum PAC contributions for all races in 2022 that involve our area. This was done early enough to allow your Local to be involved in every campaign as soon as a candidate files for election. When resources are limited, getting involved early with our friends running for office is critical. I applaud our board for taking this step. And recognizing the need to be involved as soon as possible in these races.
The regular state legislative session starts January 11, 2022, and runs until March 11, 2022. Bills are being pre-filed. Your Local leadership, along with the Florida Professional Firefighters, are monitoring all legislation involving firefighters closely. The Florida Professional Firefighters made a significant hire and obtained Meredith Stanfield from CFO Jimmy Patronis' office as our new Legislative Policy Director. This hire will only make our already impressive lobbying abilities better in Tallahassee. The Florida Professional Firefighters Executive Council voted to support CFO Patronis's re-election campaign. The Florida Professional Firefighters voted this way due to the continuous work CFO Patronis has done on behalf of firefighters. CFO Patronis was a big help in our push for both the PTSD and Cancer Presumption Bills.
There are currently two bills pre-filed that are a priority for our legislative push in 2022. The first one is Senate Bill 264 (SB 264), , filed by our Brother Firefighter, Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor). https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/264. This bill involves improvements to our Firefighter Bill of Rights. It already has a similarly written companion House Bill 31 (HB 31), filed by Representative Busatta-Cabrera (R-Coral Gables). The second bill is Senate Bill 774 (SB 774), filed by our State Senator from Sarasota County, Joe Gruters. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/774. This bill deals with communicable and infectious diseases. This bill also has an identical pre-filed House Bill 53 (HB 53). HB 53 has been filed by Representatives Fetterhoof (R-Deland) and Omphroy (D-Lauderdale Lakes). This bill would create similar coverage to which is provided for hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, or tuberculosis for Covid-19 and for infectious diseases that have been declared a public emergency. These bills would mirror current law and require a vaccine to receive coverage, provided an FDA-approved vaccine existed.
Everyone, please enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!
Representative Fiona McFarland meeting with Longboat Key members
Attending Charlotte County Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch's fundraiser
Sisters and Brothers,
I hope as you read this edition of Straight Streams, life finds you and your families well. Thank you all for your continued efforts as we come back to some normalcy from this pandemic.
Here are some updates from the Secretary’s Office since our last publication.
The Officer Elections Policy Manual has been completed and gone through final review. Final changes from the review are being made and will be ready for use in our upcoming Officer Elections. Thanks again to all my fellow committee members who helped in updating this manual.
Many of our Units have completed their negotiations and ratified new agreements this year.
Long boat Key
Congratulations on your new agreements. Big THANK YOU goes out to all your negotiation teams on their hard work. Speaking from experience, this is one of the toughest tasks your representatives complete on your behalf. Please thank them when you see them for their efforts.
Charlotte, and Sarasota County, are still in the collective bargaining process. Please keep up with the current status of your process. Offer to help out where you can, and don't get caught up in the rumor mill. Remember that your DVPs can't do it all themselves. Please participate by filling out any surveys they send and attend negotiation sessions whenever possible.
Note on the surveys. You may receive a text message or email from IAFF SMART, depending on how your DVP chooses to gather and disseminate information. Please read the text before deleting it, and don't mark it as SPAM. You may hinder your ability to receive updates or future surveys from your representatives.
Local 2546 Elections:
Elections will take place in February per the Constitution and Bylaws of Local 2546. Nominations will be accepted for the following offices at the January 2022 General Membership meeting:
DVP North Port
DVP Long Boat Key
DVP City of Bradenton
DVP Southern Manatee
DVP Cedar Hammock
Trustee at Large seat 1
Trustee at Large seat 2
PLEASE MAKE SURE TO UPDATE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS WITH THE LOCAL IF YOU HAVE MOVED IN THE PAST YEAR!
Officer Elections are completed via mail in ballots and it is crucial that we have your accurate information so you can vote. Please email me at Secretary@iaff2546.com with your updated mailing address.
Human Relations Committee:
I would like to thank Sister Brooke Calitri for her participation in the committee. She decided to pursue another career and left the Fire Service there for will no longer participate on our committee. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
I want to thank Brother Jamie McDaniel from Englewood FD for stepping up to help on our committee. He will be filling our new opening and is very enthusiastic in this opportunity to serve our members. Please thank Brother McDaniel when you see him.
The Committee has met twice thus far, with soon to be more dates to come. We are working through the Committee Bylaws and defining the roles this Committee will fill to help serve our membership. We will be attending the upcoming IAFF Human Relations conference in January to get training on a variety of Human Relations topics and issues. This will help our committee be able to better serve our members.
Union Training Opportunities:
We have officially moved in to our new office. The new address for the Local is 752 Commerce Drive Suite 1, Venice, FL 34292. It is located in the building behind our old office; we are now in the suite next to Commerce Drive. We are going through final touch ups as everything has been on back order due to COVID. We are looking to start hosting classes next year. Please pay attention to your DVP’s notices if you’re looking to participate.
These are just a few things we're working on, and many exciting things are going on in our organization. Opportunities to participate in your union are always available. Don't hesitate to contact your DVP, Steward, or the office if you need anything from the Local.
Lastly, but most importantly, I want to wish you all a happy and safe Holiday Season. I want to thank you all, for the service you provide to our communities. I also appreciate your membership in our great Union and the privilege of serving as your Secretary.
I thank you for reading this, and please stay safe.
Always your Brother,
Welcome to Local 2546
When you see these members take a moment and welcome them into the Org.
Johnathan Alt - City of Bradenton
Connor Barauskis - Cedar Hammock
Hunter Henson - Cedar Hammock
Peter Setefano - Cedar Hammock
Dewayne Eckes - Charlotte County
Jackson Bennett - North River
Matthew Krames - North River
Dakota Vets - North River
Arthur Waterhouse - North River
Stephen Collison - Sarasota County
Noah Cooper - Sarasota County
Jesse Durst - Sarasota County
Steele Harris - Sarasota County
Marshall Hattaway - Sarasota County
Sam Heath - Sarasota County
Brendan Hostetler - Sarasota County
Zachary Hurley - Sarasota County
Tanner Luke - Sarasota County
Tyler Lyke - Sarasota County
Davon Naylor - Sarasota County
Daniel Olalde - Sarasota County
Jack Rester - Sarasota County
Tyler Shapiro - Sarasota County
James Spranger- Sarasota County
Paul Grenier - Southern Manatee
Jay Haft - Southern Manatee
David Cassella- Venice
Congratulations on Your Retirement
Charles Edwards- City of Bradenton
Wanda Pavone - Charlotte County
Jeff Wright- Charlotte County
Tom Truesdale - North Port
Jeff Dirling - North River
Gary Hixson - Sarasota County
Larry Maglione - Sarasota County
John McGuire - Sarasota County
James Nave - Sarasota County
Todd Pierce - Southern Manatee
Jeff Cripe - Venice Fire
Mark Devine - Venice Fire
Steve Roberts - Venice Fire
James Runck - Venice Fire
I write this post with bitter sweet emotions. This will be my last Straight Stream article as your DVP, I retire in March and my term will end in March as well. It has been an honor to represent you all for three terms (9 years!) but all things must end. I’m looking forward to silent mornings, not having to drive downtown, or to the office in Venice and my phone being silent for long periods of time. Although this is a thankless, stress inducing, age removing, terrible pay, never ending job I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished in the last 2 CBAs and will continue to accomplish for you during these current negotiations. I feel secure in your future with those who have stepped up and took on this challenge of Union work.
I could not have done any of this without your help and especially the help, support and work of your Stewards. I want to recognize all the Stewards that have worked for me while being the DVP. Gerardo Rogazy has done more for me and the membership than anyone will ever know. He has been and will continue to be a great asset for the Local and please make sure to keep him as the Local's Secretary. Dane Martinez for all his help in those first three years. Jumping right into a negotiation and learning our new jobs, Dane was always willing to help out and give his opinion on what was best for you all. Paul Kurtz for not always seeing eye to eye with me. It’s good for your new DVP to have stewards that don’t think like them, to help understand all members and their concerns. Mike Haslem for picking things up fast and running with them. You don’t need to give Mike much direction, he’s on it. Jose Reyes for always giving me his honest, straight forward no bs opinions and making conventions fun. Even though my two new Stewards have only been with me since July they give me faith for the future of your unit. Paul Zaller for putting in the extra effort from the word go and producing good solid work. Tim Baker for always thinking of the “what about this” or “if we did that, will it affect that”. When negotiating that is always a good trait to have. I want to thank them and I appreciate all they have done for me while representing you.
Remember that this is YOUR Union and you have the power to get involved and make changes that will benefit your future. As I’m put out to pasture know that I love you all and wish nothing but the best for you.
In Unity and Brotherhood,
New Hires (pictured left to right) Tanner Luke, Tyler Lyke, James Spranger, Zachary Hurley, Tyler Shapiro, Brendon Hostetler, Jack Rester, Daniel Olaide, Sam Heath, Marshall Hattaway, Jesse Durst, Steele harris, Davon Naylor, Noah Cooper, Stephen Collison
Lieutenant Randy Allen and fire medics Miriam Troyer, Andrew Moler, and Michael Alberti received the Preservation of Life Award at Florida’s 16th District Congressional Fire and Rescue/EMS Awards presentation ceremony.
Florida Fallen Firefighters
SCFD's WC Donaldson Honored
Charlotte County Fire representatives FF Jeff Rathburn and FM Aleta Stadel attended
WC Donaldson was posthumously promoted to the rank of SCFD Lieutenant, recognized as a line of duty death and on Thursday, November 18, 2021 his name was placed on the Fallen Firefighters Memorial at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala.
SCFD Honor Guard attended
Chief Regnier Retirement
Local 2546 wanted to thank Fire Chief and former Local 2546 member Michael Regnier for his loyal service to the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County. Chief Regnier will leave Sarasota County on Dec 28, 2021, and move to Long Boat Key as Assistant Chief "C" shift in charge of Fire Training and operations.
On behalf of the entire membership, we thank him for his leadership and wish him luck in his new job.
Brothers and Sisters,
I hope everyone has a great holiday season. News from Longboat is all good. We had our annual golf tournament at the beautiful Longboat Key Club Golf Course. We filled up all the teams this year and had a great turnout. Because of the members of our Association and support from our great citizens, we were able to raise a lot of money for our Firefighter Charity. Our Association charity does things like provide scholarships for those attending fire and EMS-related training programs. Support local families in need during the holidays. Provide hands-only CPR classes to our citizens free of charge. And, of course, give to firefighters in need during tough times. We thank everyone who came out and supported our cause.
We are in the process of hiring a new Assistant Chief/Shift Commander. Chief Bryan Carr took a position with our Brothers and Sisters in Charlotte County. We thank him for his service here. We will miss his leadership and expect good things for him in Charlotte County.
We recently had our annual service awards. FF/PM Chase Bullock was awarded our Firefighter of the Year award. He has taken on many new tasks for the department. And he was recognized for his efforts. FF/PM Jason Berzowski and Deputy Chief Sandi Drake were awarded commendations for their efforts in getting our Wellness Initiative kicked off this year. Labeled the PCC or Post Covid Challenge, members participated in dropping that extra Covid weight some of us had. We had members lose as much as 50 lbs. We were using our department physical (life-Scan) as the judges for best improvement. FF/PM Berzowski and DC Drake both gave 24 hours of leave from their personal banks to the winners as rewards for their efforts. We have already started again for next year. We had a crew also receive the Phoenix award for their life-saving efforts recently. We have a great bunch of Firefighter-Paramedics at LBK.
Everyone have a great Holiday!
Chase Bullock received "Employee of the Year" award
Deputy Fire Chief Sandi Drake recognized for 20 years of service and her help starting the wellness initiative at Longboat
Brothers and Sisters,
Since the last update we have successfully finished contract negotiations on the pay opener we had this year. With this being said we are prepping to move into next year, as we have a full contract to negotiate moving forward.
We have completed our first full year of ALS and transport with great success. I would once again like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication, it is because of you that has made it as successful as it is.
Station 51’s rebuild has been completed and crews have moved back in along with our new Engine 51. All the crews are enjoying the significant upgrades from our old station. The build on the new Rescue 51, which will be our 5th rescue to our fleet, is still in the works. Unfortunately, all the shortages we are seeing is delaying the build.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate FF/EMT Steve Roberts on his retirement this October along with the upcoming retirement for BC Craig Runck this November. We wish you guys well and hope you enjoy retirement, you all have earned it.
Stay safe and stay strong everyone.
the Tactical Medic Response Team participating in "live fire arms" training with Venice Police
Welcome Aboard : Jacob Shelton, Andrew Garcia, Alex Peterson, Danelys Benegas, William Clarke, Daniel Manion, Tim McCrink, Juan Leyva, Daniel Kimberlin and Shane Vincent
Greetings and Happy Holidays Brothers and Sisters,
There's still a lot happening at Englewood Fire Department.
We received our state certification to get our paramedic program and ALS engines up and running. Four of our Medics have passed the state exam and we have four more medics now going through school. We are also starting up a volunteer program which will help us with manning, training, and future employees for the Englewood Area Fire Control District.
This is a time of great change with multiple retirements coming up in the next year and replacing those years of experience with new employees will be challenging and rewarding.
I also wanted to take this time to wish everybody a safe and happy holiday season, reflecting on those whom we love and those who love us.
EAFCD DVP Roman Grabowski
Congrats to Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Franklin, Spencer Heldenbrand, David Miller & Corey Krajic for passing State Paramedic exam (pictured also Chief Easton and Fire Commissioners William Kimberlin, Ronald Davison, Eldon Loisell, Ron Benedetti and Mark Knauf)
Brothers and Sisters,
I reflect on the past few months here in Charlotte County and around the World. I attempted to find something to discuss in my article this quarter and besides the usual negotiation information and COVID discussion. I would like to put a spotlight on mental health. I have been blessed to take part in several members life-changing experiences going to the IAFF Center of Excellence in Maryland. I have seen amazing transformations in members' lives that have found hope and a newfound ability to conquer and be successful in life, overcoming addiction and mental health stigma.
One of Charlotte's members came back and began giving back in his off time, assisting others facing similar circumstances through an organization called Hollys Hope. (https://www.hollyshope.info/) They meet regularly in Port Charlotte/North Port and offer a haven for those who need any sort of assistance. The purpose of my article is, please, reach out. If not to another Brother/Sister, then to strangers who have walked similar paths and are there to help. You are never alone!
Brendan R. Betancourt
Cub Scout Pack # 351 visiting the Deep Creek station
Confined space training
Hello Brothers and Sister of 2546,
I hope this finds you all well and in good health. This quarter’s Straight Streams will be short and sweet. You know what they say no news is good news so that is a good thing sometimes, especially around the holiday season.
We are moving along with the Station 86 construction, or as some of you call it, Station 112. The station should be up and operational by March/ April 2022 so it is getting close to the finish line. As far as everything else, we are currently operating in our contract which passed ratification this September and it is a good one!
I hope this holiday season finds you all in good spirits and don’t forget to spend quality time with your loved ones, it is probably the best gift anyone of us could receive this year after all the chaos we have all been through. Until next time, remember what my good ole’ buddy always says…..Life’s a garden,……..Dig it!
Cub Scout Pack #257 stopped by for a tour
2021 Mortons Chili Cook - Off winners
teaching fire safety to students at Ivy League ELC
Hello all and happy holidays.
This publication is produced quarterly so I'll start by going back to August 18th of 2021.
On that day, the Bischoff family added Waylon James to their roster and the BFD family welcomed him as well. I can't put a completion date on station 3 but I do know they plan on moving various items in there around the middle of December. Back at the November 3rd council meeting, approval was given to purchase a 2-acre property on Manatee Ave East. This property will be the new location for our new station 2.
The following council meeting on the 17th of November, Assistant Chief Tim Geer was recommended by staff and approved by Council to be our next Fire Chief.
I believe he "officially" takes the helm on January 3rd. Congratulations Chief Geer. We're all eagerly awaiting the arrival of 2 new engines sometime in the new year and expect the Station 2 ground breaking to happen around the same time.
Finally, Congratulations to our current Fire Chief Chuck Edwards. His last day is the last day of 2021. Chief Edwards did 30 plus years with our Department, spending time in the seat of almost every rank in the organization. He saw us through some lean times with a steady but strong hand. We appreciate his leadership and wish him well as he turns the page of his own book of life.
Thanks to all of you for all you do.
Take care of yourselves,
Station 3 rebuild making progress
Annual Christmas Party at the Haven with Santa
( Ken Langston) and his trusty elf (Dana Tindall)
live burn and rescue training
Chief Edwards Retirement Ceremony
A retirement ceremony was held in the Bradenton City Hall for Chief Chuck Edwards, who will be retiring at the end of the month after 33 years with City of Bradenton Fire. All the best Chief!!
Commission approves Tim Geer as City of Bradenton's next Fire Chief
City Hall retirement ceremony
Brothers and sisters,
As many of you know, we are currently in negotiations. The City has called for a shade session with Council on our latest proposal and I am hopeful we can have a contract ratified soon.
Council approved the proposal to increase staffing by 9. Safer Grant Funding was proposed in order to hire the staffing during the fiscal year.
Two new Council members were elected into office. Council members Mark Kuharski and Melissa Lockhart. I’m hopeful to continue to our great relationship with our new Council members as we have in the past.
Last, I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. Enjoy time with your families and stay safe.
Honor Guard participating in William Gaines Veterans Day Event
Greetings 2546 Brothers & Sisters,
I hope this issue of Straight Streams finds you all well. Not too much has changed at SMFR. We are in the final year of our contract and will begin negotiations this summer. The Fire Chief and I have already had preliminary talks and I’m confident that our negotiations will be straight-forward and smooth.
SMFR is also looking at purchasing new SCBA’s this (or next) budget year. Our current Scott SCBA’s haven’t quite reached their age limit, but other departments in Manatee County have already switched to MSA. The intent of our Admin is to have interoperable SCBA’s in the event of a Mutual Aid RIT emergency. I applaud our Admin and Board of Commissioners for keeping our safety as a top priority.
We just hired 2 FF/PM’s and they both joined our Local. Actually, one of the new hires is a Union transfer from Oldsmar Fire Dept. Please join me in congratulating Jay Haft and Paul Grenier. With the hiring of the last 2 firefighters, something dawned on me. Our Department is changing. It’s hard to believe that in the next 5 years almost all of the Officers that mentored the group I was hired with will be retired and the next generation will be taking over. Time flies in this career and it’s important that we stick together and help each other grow. Be safe and enjoy the Holiday’s with your family (both work & personal families).
Thank You and Be Safe,
FF Moore & Zitnick during pump training scenarios
Lt’s Connor & Daughtrey and FF’s Ellis & Brady after a fire.
FF Signeri testing off on L-339
Brothers and Sisters,
The last few months have been busy at North River. Over the last few months there have been a lot of things going on including, a Captain’s and Engineer’s promotional exams and several new additions.
I would like to congratulate Aaron Taylor and R. Jay Martin on their promotions to Captain. Congratulations are in order for the newly promoted Engineers, Chris Carver, Joseph Houlihan, and Tom Price. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Dakota Vets, Jackson Bennet, Matthew Krames, Arthur Waterhouse, and Steve Garrity to the North River family.
North River has also made a four-legged addition. Drew the lab is now working as our facility service dog. Drew came from South Eastern Guide Dogs and is one of the first facility service dogs to be placed at a fire station by South Eastern Guide Dogs. Drew is at Station 1 and with his new handler, Chief Sicking.
On the ALS front, Cierra McDonald has passed the medical director and has earned charge status. Congratulations Cierra!
As we move into the Holiday Season, I would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays. Stay Safe,
therapy dog Drew and his handler AC Joe Sicking
Charge Paramedic Cierra McDonald
Greeting Brothers and Sisters from West Manatee,
As 2021 comes to a close I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in continuing to provide great care to our District and visitors. As COVID starts to decline, we are starting to go back to some sort of normalcy to our work routine. Vaccination rates have gone up and everyone has remained healthy.
There have been numerous committees that have been started and also continued with new members. First, the Policy committee has been working with Administration to revamp and update a number of policies. Some had not been updated in many years so it is great to see some fresh language and ideas. Also, the Safety committee has been meeting quarterly as well. There have been many items discussed and brought up and thankfully no major incidents have occurred.
Some operational changes have been implemented to help better serve our District. Our ladder truck has been moved out to our Station 3 on Holmes Beach. Ladder 129 is now Ladder 139. The change will help better serve our island area as we have many two to three story buildings that can be easily accessed with the ladder if needed. Also, with four personnel being staffed at our Station 3 at all times, it will help add safety and more eyes to ladder operations.
We currently have 1 Firefighter/Paramedic spot open. The District hopes to do interviews in early December for a January start date. We also have hired 2 individuals for administrative duties. Kaitlyn Wright will become our new Administrative Assistant, replacing Julie Kichar when she retires, and Jalex Beghtel will become our new Finance Clerk. We welcome them to West Manatee and look forward to them starting.
That is all I have to report from West Manatee. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to the upcoming year.
teaching fire safety at Palma Sola Elementary
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
It has been a busy but good year. I would like to thank each and everyone for the contributions, support and the Brotherhood. I am looking forward to the new year of 2022 and a progressively changing department. I wish everyone a Happy Holiday and to be safe.
DVP Paul Reda
DVP Reda and Retired BC Leigh Hollins instructing school bus extrication training at Ft. Myers Shores Fire Department
on scene at a house fire
Give the gift of life! Are you a match for Bri?
Bri is a 32 year old loving wife and mom. At the age of 15, Bri was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and within the last year entered end-stag renal failure. Bri is an RN in the Neonatal ICU at Tampa General Hospital and her husband Joel is a firefighter at North River Firefighter Organization Inc. They have given so much to their community and are now asking for your help. If you want to find out more about how you can help, visit www.kidney4bri.com
Caroline's Support Squad
The Venice Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund is selling shirts to help support Venice Fire's Ryan Hellmer and his family during this tough time. (to download order form click on letter from benevolent fund) To make a personal donation please contact :Tammy Short , Venice Firefighters Benevolent Fund; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sisters and Brothers,
I am proud to announce that the POLAR PLUNGE IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!
We have created our team for the 2022 POLAR PLUNGE on the website and set our fundraising team goal at a $2000 minimum. Remember, our team efforts help our friends at Special Olympics. The official date is set for February 12, 2022, at Aquatica in Orlando.
This event is a great chance to have some fellowship with your Sisters and Brothers from around the local. If you are interested in participating, please get in touch with me at your earliest convenience to add you to our team text group. We try to make it a whole family weekend, and if there are enough of us, we can work on a group hotel rate.
I look forward to hearing from you and making our 10th plunge the best yet!
Please use the information below and follow the instructions on the site to sign up.
Team name is Suncoast Polar Firefighters 2546
Thank you for reading.
Always your Brother,
Gerardo “G” Rogazy
Suncoast Polar Firefighters 2546