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Brothers and Sisters, 

 

Congratulations to Bradley S. Jacobs 

 

Brad has a newfound retirement and has retired from all aspects of the fire service. Brad started with the Englewood-fire department over 40 years ago. Unfortunately, he left the Englewood fire department because he set the Fire station on fire. Yes, he did! While that is not the reason why he left and the station didn’t burn all the way down, it is a fun story to share.

Brad then joined Metro, now know as Sarasota County fire department, and spent the remainder of his career there. He has been a loyal union member for his entire career. Brad served on the union's Board of Trustees for many years and has also served as a Health Trust trustee and was instrumental in providing the Summary Plan description pamphlet. Brad is a trustworthy confidant and a peer who worked with me for more than a decade, mentored me on many occasions, and helped me study for those impossible drills. One particular training drill it was without success, I almost died, or at least it felt that way! Those who know Brad understand his commitment and loyalty to this Local and the fire department. I will genuinely miss his face around here. His jovial attitude and the ability to point out all the things that I was doing incorrectly so eloquently will leave me without a person worthy of banter. Thank you, Bradley Scott Jacobs for the many years of commitment! I hope you enjoy your complete retirement from the fire department and have fun with Laurie traveling throughout the U.S.  Thank You my friend. I love you Brother, job well done!

Congratulations to Matthew Seiler 

Matt served as DVP for Sarasota County for nine years, a challenging job, tenuous, and many times thankless. When he first started as DVP he demonstrated he could change the world, and in many ways, he did just that. He changed the world for the firefighters of the Sarasota County fire department. Most will never know what he did behind the scenes that would make those firefighters' lives better. Matt also worked on the Health Trust board to assure the county maintained its commitment to the firefighters. A benefit most will not appreciate until they retire and are faced with paying the full cost of health insurance. Matt served as the labor leader on the Joint Apprenticeship Training committee and Safety committee to assure the firefighters were appropriately trained, treated fairly, and given goals that they were realistically able to attain with genuine effort. He sat on the hiring board alongside management to ensure we hire the best. Which meant he sat in a room for 8 hours a day, five days a week, reviewing applications asking the same questions repeatedly, and digging into the background of potential firefighters. Matt was always willing to take on a fight for what is right and showed the county HR where we could find a compromise that benefited the firefighters. Matt stepped into the position with the idea to regain items that were lost through the recession of 2008/2009. I can say that Matt accomplished the majority of those goals and there is no doubt Matt possessed the will and skill to fight to move the group forward.

Congratulations on your Retirement! Thank you, Matt, for your commitment on behalf of your Brothers and Sisters in Sarasota County. By the time you get this letter, Matt will have already retired. Please feel free to reach out to him and send him a short note of thanks 941-356-5440.

Politics

Brothers and sisters, as we welcome summer and say goodbye to the cooler temperatures of spring, things will begin to heat up in the political races within our municipalities. Brother Jason Berzowski and I will be charged with assisting you through the interviews and selection process for the candidates that will legislate the level of service within your perspective departments. It's an honor to help these candidates pursue their goals, and you will find it both rewarding and exciting to develop these new relationships. I have found that most do not like the political process over the years because they're unsure of how to proceed. The easiest thing to remember is that these are individuals just like you and I and care about the community. While they do not have the authority to address the day-to-day operations of your fire department, they do have the authority to oversee this chief and his actions in the government of your department. As a labor representative, you can provide these legislators with education and information that will help them understand where your department is excelling and opportunities for improvement. Simple communications accomplish all this, and these communications need to be fostered all year long and should not just focus on collective bargaining topics. Focus on community and how to work alongside with the legislators to promote your department and its accomplishments. Once you begin to nurture those relationships, it will be beneficial for both you and the legislator and you might even gain a new friend.

Many Thanks

Thank you for trusting me for a second term as your President. At the completion of this term, I will have served you for 25 years in some capacity with Local 2546. I started as a Trustee, later became the Sarasota County DVP filling the former DVP’s unfinished term and then moved into the Treasurer position prior to becoming President. During that time, I was honored to function as the Treasurer but also as a business agent. I was able to negotiate contracts for most of our departments. Working for you has been very enjoyable but saying it hasn't been tough would be an understatement. The crew that I work with really made the job fulfilling and quite the educational experience. I would not have enjoyed the success that I have obtained if it were not for my most cherished confidant and union friend Mervin Kennell.

 

There were so many men and women from various departments to help me be successful in serving you. These last five years have extended what would've been a very difficult retirement by allowing me to continue my association with the fire service, and my relationships with each one of you. Spending over 30 years working beside men and women who enjoy helping others has been a gift from God one in which most individuals will never ever get to experience. It is the continuation of my union career that has made that retirement easier. So again, thank you very much for the opportunity to serve all of you.                               

The Next Generation

Brain-Drain - We are seeing it in the fire service, in the union, and really we’re seeing it in the world. It's when the current generation, currently the generation of Baby Boomers, are handing things off and trying to pass it on to the next generation. Many folks will claim that it is a “brain-drain” and I challenge you on that verbiage. I think it's an opportunity for the next generation whether the Gen X or Millennials to take charge of their future and the rest of ours (the Baby Boomers) To take what we've left them and better it.  I don't believe for one minute there's a brain-drain, I believe that this next generation will make this world a better place and work to make the fire service better than when they got it. What needs to happen to promote that is encouraging them, bringing them into our inner circle, open up and share all of the things that we know now and mistakes we have made in the past and how we moved forward. Don’t force decisions on them but make them a part of the conversation and teach them how to make informed solid choices and actions. All good leaders have their successors picked out at the start and mentor and grow them so one day they can steer the ship. Take the opportunity to pass on your knowledge, wisdom, and training. One day they will take the wheel and remember all you taught them and they will then pass it on to the next generation. Don’t lose the momentum. Don’t let the link in the chain stop with you, continue to add to it so it goes on for years. Be one of those individuals that is looked back on and remembered for their place in the chain.

My youngest son who is a Gen Z is quite positive about life always looks at the glass as half full. However, he's very honest about his feelings of what he sees in the world. He's not afraid to tell me that our generation has made it damn near impossible for his generation to buy a house and we've created the melting of all the ice caps and so on. Many times, as union leaders we find ourselves on the defensive when the new generation comes toward us with contradictory points. I've chosen that last three years of my term; I will open my arms wide and listen to the upcoming generations and give them a seat at the table. I will encourage them to assist with the change or even lead the charge on problem resolution. I will mentor and I will pass on what I have learned to future generations so they have the tools to continue forward. Phil Vets, the younger version, challenged those in charge, questioned processes and the reason why. I chose to get involved and make a difference, and I hope I did some good along the way and made a difference by being there. Others will decide for themselves the difference I made, and I hope there will be times in the future that others will look at something and say “Wow, that was awesome that Phil was there”.  I think to be remembered for what you gave and what you passed on to future generations, solidifies your place in the history of our local and our lives.

Office

I know you've heard a lot about this new building, and I want to tell you a little bit more, this fall we will be having an open house at the Union Office. There will be merchandise giveaways, a barbecue and yes even some free beer. It's about time, and it's been a long time coming, we will have a party to celebrate each and every one of our members. So please stay posted!

As to union meetings, I would like to officially announce that at any of our union meetings you will be able to have two beers during or before the meeting. After the meeting your able to have a few more but in order to keep things simple we'd like to keep the drinking down to a minimum until we get through the business. Certainly want people to be responsible with their alcohol intake and we do not want anyone to get in trouble leaving the office.

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Cheers!!

Educating the Public - (Job Opportunity’s)

If you were to ask me what is the one thing we could do to assure the lives of our firefighters and paramedics are improved? My answer would be to educate the public on what we do, what we need to do it, why we do it and how they can help. Therefore, this year we're going to start a new program, no were not reinventing the wheel again we are going to do what we do best and that is educate the public. Are you interested, do you want to improve your future? Do you want to spend a few hours a month improving your ability to serve your community? Knowing that this educational the public receives from you will gather you great support, and the ability to gain the recognition that you so deserve.

Your Local will be introducing a program next month, and we would love for you to be a participant. Please call my office at 485-5193 and leave a message with Sylvia I will get back to you and set up an appointment to discuss your involvement. Yes, you will get compensated for this work!  I have little doubt that community involvement will benefit each of you dramatically.

Sincerely,

Philip Vets

President

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Sisters and Brothers,

I hope this finds you and your families well.

Here are some updates from the Secretary's Office since our last publication.

Contract Negotiations:

 

These Units have completed their negotiations and ratified new agreements this year.

  • Charlotte Fire & EMS

  • Sarasota County

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.   

Sarasota County, Cedar Hammock, Venice, North River and Southern Manatee will be negotiating either full CBA’s or pay openers soon. Please keep up with your process an offer help where you can, remember that your DVPs can't do it all themselves. Please participate and attend negotiation sessions whenever possible.

Local 2546 Elections:

 

 Nominations were accepted for the following offices at the January 2022 General Membership meeting:

  • ​President

  • DVP Sarasota

  • 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

Elections took place in February per the Constitution and Bylaws of Local 2546  and the results were as follows:

  • President of Local 2546:

    • Phil Vets

  • DVP Sarasota:

    • Tim Baker

  • DVP North Port:

    • Jentzen Barton

  • DVP Long boat Key:

    • Richard Roome

  • DVP City of Bradenton:

    • Doug Huffman

  • DVP Southern Manatee:

    • Derek Foss

  • DVP Cedar Hammock:

    • Paul Reda

  • Trustee at Large, Seat 1:

    • Paul Dyer

  • Trustee at Large, Seat 2:

    • Ted Lang

Congratulations to all the elected officers and thank you for your upcoming service. Each will serve a three year term from April 11, 2022 to April 14, 2025.  Most of you already know the responsibilities of the positions you’ve taken, and it is a privilege continuing serving with you. To those serving their first term, I look forward to serving along side you and please reach out for any assistance you may need from this office.

I want to recognize and thank all the members who ran for office. Sister Stephanie Behling and Brothers Chad McCollum, Jose “Joey” Reyes, Paul Zaller, and Michael Keane. I hope to see them run for future openings and stay involved in helping out.

Special Recognitions:

 

  • Trustee Brad Jacobs

 

I would like to thank outgoing Trustee Brother Brad Jacobs for all his years of service on our Board of Trustees. Brother Jacobs has been a Trustee for as long (or Longer) than I’ve been on the job (15 years at least). I appreciate all the classes you taught for CPR to our local communities and the great positive impact you have on all those around you. Your dedication to the Sisters & Brothers of our local is greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy being fully retired now and see you around from time to time. Please thank our brother when you see him.

  • Sarasota DVP Matt Seiler

On our last edition of Straight Streams, Sisters and Brothers, outgoing DVP Matt Seiler thanked me for being his steward. It was an honor to have worked alongside him for 7 years as a steward. We started out as opponents running against each other during his first DVP election and I’m glad we became good friends. He mentioned all the work I’ve done for the members of Sarasota and that they will never truly know the magnitude. I will always say it was a team effort and he played the major part in our successes in his 9 years of service as DVP.

He has done this job going through major life changing events and I’ve seen the personal sacrifices made, that my Sisters and Brothers, is what you will never truly know about those who serve in these positions. 

Matt, I know you’ll be an active retiree and I’ll see you around. Please enjoy your well-earned retirement both from the Fire Service and Union Leadership. My Brother, simply put THANK YOU!!!

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MDA Boot Drive:

 

We were able to finally go back on the street and continue our great tradition. As I write this, we were able to raise approximately $100k (and still awaiting final counts) as a Local! Great Job and thanks to all who participated.

Human Relations Committee:

 

Members of the Committee attended the 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. We will be finishing up our completion of the committee bylaws and creating election terms for seats on the committee. Please stay tuned for updates from your DVP’s.

Politics:

This is a midterm election year, please be ready to help out your teams during this year’s season. Being involved and helping get local representatives in your jurisdictions elected goes a long way in preserving and gaining better pay and benefits.

Union Training Opportunities:

 

The new office is getting the final touches for total completion over the next few months. There was a back log of items that were delayed due to supply chain issues all related to COVID. Please keep tuned for updates from your DVP as the office becomes now functional and we will be looking to host classes in the future.

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 appreciate your membership in our great union and the privilege of serving as your Secretary.

Thank you for reading and please stay safe.

Always your Brother,

G.

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Brothers and Sisters,

I hope this message finds you well.  The office remodel is starting to come to a close, and things are getting closer to normal.  Having an office on the main floor has been much easier to get work done.  Thank you to Sarasota DVP Seiler and North Port DVP Barton for helping on the design committee, the office looks great!

In January I was in Tallahassee as your representative on the Florida Professional Firefighters, Florida Retirement System Committee.  I was also in Tallahassee to attend the 2022 Legislative session with the Florida Professional Firefighters Leadership team where we were working on many issues, but regarding the FRS Committee, we were requesting a study to be completed on the cost of bringing back benefits lost in 2011.  The FRS Committee is working on reducing the retirement age and years of service from the current 60 years old or 30 years of service, back down to 55 years of age or 25 years of service.

In March I had the privilege of going to Washington DC. to attend the International Association of Firefighters Legislative Conference.  At the conference, we walked the halls of the Capitol building on your behalf to assist in the delivery of our legislative priorities to our representatives.  In March, I also attended the Labor & Arbitration Conference in Tampa with North River DVP Miller.  We learned about issues that are going on throughout the State and gained a better understanding of the arbitration process.

Summer is coming quickly and that means the budget process will be starting back up.  I will also be heading to Jacksonville, Florida in June to attend the Florida Professional Firefighter's 78th Annual Convention and attend another (FPF) Florida Retirement System Committee meeting.  

 

As always, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you all!

Sincerely,

Johnny Rigney, Jr.

Treasurer, Local 2546

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Sisters and Brothers,

 

I hope this article finds you well. The 2022 Florida Legislative session adjourned on March 14th with the annual Sine Die. This year the legislature had the task of redistricting based on 2020 Census numbers. Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties are all growing. More people are moving into the area. I know many of us have seen this with increased calls for service. This growth has also increased our political influence. Redistricting has brought an additional seat to our area in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. Local 2546 has made endorsements in all local and state legislative races except our two new ones. Your Local 2546 leadership and Florida Professional Firefighters (FPF) leadership will be meeting with candidates for these seats in the coming weeks. In short, the campaign season is upon us. As your Political Liaison Officer, I will be working through your District Vice Presidents (DVPs) to arrange politically related events until Election Day this year. These events will be for all levels of government we touch. Local and State positions are up for election this year all over our Local. I simply ask that you answer your DVP's call to action this year. Our lifeblood is our relationship with our political leaders. Please make it out to the events you can attend. I look forward to seeing you all out there.

Local 2546 members worked alongside the Florida Professional Firefighters to achieve many legislative wins this year. House Bill 31 involved our Firefighter Bill of Rights and was a priority bill this year. This Bill allows firefighters and union representatives to invoke their rights throughout the "informal inquiry" process and provides additional protection in an investigative or disciplinary process. It successfully passed the House and Senate and awaits the Governor's signature.

House Bill 689 addressed our worker's compensation benefits in regards to PTSD. This Bill expands your access to these benefits by extending the timeframe to apply for these benefits. Members now have up to 52 weeks from the diagnosis of PTSD to apply for these benefits. This change will protect our members and help them get the care they need if they develop this terrible condition. Additional worker's compensation enhancements occur in House Bill 453. This Bill has to do with our Heart/Lung presumptive benefits. This Bill makes sure you have access to your Heart/Lung benefits if something happens to your pre-employment physical. Some firefighters in our State were unable to obtain their benefits due to a lost pre-employment physical. State Law requires that pre-employment physical be present to apply for these benefits. We were able to modify this language to allow members to obtain these benefits even in cases where the employer misplaces the pre-employment physical or never completes one at all—working with our political friends in the State legislature. Both Bills are in front of the Governor, awaiting his signature.

Lastly, on the Legislative front, your Union was able to secure a critical FRS study. During the 2011 Legislative session. The special risk Florida Retirement System was changed from 25 years of service or age 55 to receive full benefits to 30 years of service or age 60. Meaning everyone entering FRS after July 2011 would have these new requirements. Your legislative team and the Florida Professional Firefighters prioritized securing the study needed to evaluate changing the requirements for full benefits back to 25 years of service or age 55 for all. I'm happy to say we were able to get this mission accomplished. This is a substantial first step needed to start working with the legislative bodies in the State to get this changed for all members. Your Local leadership will be working with the Florida Professional Firefighters in the coming months to develop a proposal for this change. Additionally, we will be working here at home and in Tallahassee to educate members of our local delegation on the need for these changes. We know the mission ahead still has a lot of work. But we got the study we needed to start the process. And we look forward to doing the work ahead to be successful in this cause.

Another aspect of what we monitor and try to influence in the legislative process is budgetary issues. We had many successes there as well. Ten million dollars was set aside for USAR team enhancements. Two million dollars was secured for firefighter cancer research at the University of Miami. Governor Desantis announced that First Responders would be receiving a $1000 dollar bonus again this year. Finally, the Hometown Hero program was created to provide down payment assistance to firefighters and other essential workers. This program will help firefighters buy homes in the communities they work. Our Brother Senator Ed Hooper was instrumental in helping this initiative find its way into the state budget.

Your Union does not rest on its successes; as I said before, the campaign season is already firing up. We will be working hard to ensure your elective officials know the priorities of our Firefighters. We need your help. Please come to as many political events as your can this year. And bring your checkbooks. Even a 10 dollar donation to a campaign goes a long way. Thank you in advance for your efforts.

 

Fraternally,

 

Jason Berzowski

Local 2546 representatives are in Tallahassee this week attending the FPF Legislative Conf
Local 2546 representatives along with North River Fire's Chief Rampino attending the FPF Legislative Conference
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Attending Charlotte County Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch's fundraiser at the Twisted Fork restaurant
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Representative James Buchanan stopped by Venice Fire for a tour of their new Station, along with some Venice High School students during Government week  
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Congressman Vern Buchanan visiting Longboat Key Station 92
Heading 6

Swearing in of New Officers

Welcome Aboard Gentlemen

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Sarasota County Fire DVP Tim Baker and BOT Trustee Paul Dyer
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Longboat Key DVP Rich Roome
Matt, Jeff and Brad, thank you for your service to your membership and to the Local 

New Members

Welcome to Local 2546

When you see these members take a moment and welcome them into the Org. 
Philip Arth - Charlotte County 
Tanner Bores - Charlotte County 
Dufrane - Charlotte County 
Kyle Gardner - Charlotte County 
Josua Mazzarolla - Charlotte County 
Adriano Mijares - Charlotte County  
Joseph Nelson - Charlotte County 
Ernesto Sierra - Charlotte County 
River Silva - Charlotte County 
Seann Smith - Charlotte County 
Anthony Perrone - Englewood 
Tyler Anderson - Longboat Key
Daniel Martinez - Longboat Key
Logan Cox- North Port
Damon Griffith- North Port
Aiden Hayes- North Port
Zachary Jekanski- North Port
Martin Lemay- North Port
Nicholas Petys- North Port
Jonathan Russell- North Port
Christopher Heier - North River 
Matthew Luh - North River
Antonio Esposito - Punta Gorda
Evan Griffin - Punta Gorda

Andrew Diemer - Venice
Jacob Shelton - Venice

Shane Vincent- Venice 

Recently Retired

Congratulations on Your Retirement 

Brett Pritchard - Cedar Hammock
Michael Sheets - Cedar Hammock 

Eric Benson- Charlotte County
Michael Clements - Charlotte County
Todd Ernst- North Port

Ralph Longoria - North Port
Martin Szalbirak - North Port 
Donald Bathje - North River
Phillip Barrett - Sarasota County
Timothy Carden - 
Sarasota County  

Paul Dyer - Sarasota County
Brian Lange - Sarasota County 
Eric Pillard - Sarasota County
Matt Seiler - Sarasota County

Joseph Stadther - Sarasota County
Larry Betts - Southern Manatee

Scott Blanchard- Venice Fire 
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I want to take this opportunity to thank Matt Seiler for his dedication to the men and women of Sarasota County IAFF 2546. Matt has spent the last nine years representing us and looking out for our best interests. Matt, thank you for your service and congratulations on your retirement!


Moving forward, I will officially be sworn in as your new DVP on The 11th of April, 2022. I am looking forward to representing each and every one of you. We are headed right back to the table for contract negotiations and the County is already looking for negotiation dates. Anyone wishing to get more involved with the Union, become a Union Steward, or help out with contract negotiations please reach out to myself or Union Steward, Paul Zaller.


Timothy Baker
DVP Elect
727-420-8272
Scfddvp@IAFF2546.com

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Congrats Matt on your retirement !!!
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Welcome to the SCFD Family:  Pena, Le Blanc, Guglielmello, Mudd, Zacher, DeArk, Lukert, Almeida and Hall
Awards Ceremony

Sarasota County Fire Department

Sarasota County Fire Department honored personnel who have gone above and beyond to provide exceptional service to the community and the department in a March 25th award ceremony.

FF Kyle Kosianowski was recognized as Firefighter of the Year

F/M Beau Smith-Kerr recognized with the Chief’s Award

FF/EMT Bryan Boley was recognized as the SCFD EMT of the Year

FF/PM Jonathan Seaman was recognized as the SCFD Paramedic of the Year

Bryan Rees was recognized as the SCFD Officer of the Year

Firemedics Michael Cavallo, Logan Kramer, Lee Thompson, Terrell Haisley, Sean Sponable and Andrew Waltrip were recognized with a Unit Citation

NPFR James Hurley, SCFD Shannon Thomas and NPFR Keith Barreto were awarded Unit Citations

Adam Nethery, Taylor Smith and John Vacca received Phoenix awards

Lt. Todd Mercer recognized for 25 years of service

Joseph Raridon and Bryan Rood received Phoenix awards

Lt. Matthew Brown was recognized for 25 years of service

LT Matt Seiler recognized for 30 years of service

SCFD's Employee Services Administrator, Rosena Thomas received the Citizen of the Year award

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Brothers and Sisters,

As we start off 2022, I would first like to congratulate Battalion Chief Scott Blanchard on his retirement. We wish you well Scotty and safe travels on your upcoming adventures.

The month of February included live fire training for the department. This was the first time we’ve had the opportunity to do live fire training to this extent since starting ALS and increasing staffing. I would like to acknowledge the Training committee for all their hard work in preparing and running this training. Also, a thank you to Englewood for the use of their training facility and their hospitality.

In March we did our first round of ACLS recertification and CPR recertification. It was our first opportunity to train with our new advanced training mannequin that we received though funding from the CARES act. This new training prop has the ability to present symptoms, bleed, etc. A huge improvement in training from the days of pretending on a basic mannequin.

Lastly, we are awaiting the delivery of our newest rescue, R55, that is expected delivery in the next few months. It is also in the works to increase staffing with the delivery of another rescue.

That is all for now. Until next quarter, stay safe everyone.

 

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training on our new CPR mannequin 
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Marine unit participating in Coast Guard Search and Rescue Procedures and Boat Operations course
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Brothers and Sisters,

 

 The start of the new year has brought about numerous changes for Longboat Key. We ended the year with the retirement of our longest tenured employee, FF/PM Rocky Parker. Rocky has since begun a new career as a Flight Paramedic and we wish him the best. We have hired two new Assistant Chiefs and 3 new FF/PM’s. Assistant Chief Regnier comes to us after 33+ years at Sarasota County with 6+ years serving as the Fire Chief. Assistant Chief Szalbirak comes to us after 26 years of service for North Port with 16 as a Lieutenant. FF/PM Daniel Martinez joins us from Venice, FF/PM Tyler Anderson from Palm Harbor and FF/PM Ryan Corso from Charlotte. We welcome them and expect great things.

Finally, I would like to thank Jason Berzowski and Jeff Bullock for their help and guidance as I embark on this new chapter as the DVP for Longboat Key. Your knowledge and expertise has been greatly appreciated.

 

Stay safe,

 

Rich Roome

 

And remember “A year from now, your gonna weigh more or less than what you do right now.” – Phil McGraw

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 Assistant Chief Regnier and Chief Dezzi
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Assistant Chief Szalbirak and Chief Dezzi
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Gentlemen, Welcome to the Longboat Key family
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Brothers and Sisters,

I do not have a lot to report from Englewood this quarter. Silence is bliss sometimes.

We are still working on getting our Paramedic program up and running and are progressing in a positive direction. We will be hiring soon and will have paramedic preferences. We will also hire Paramedic single certs and run them through our Academy as a condition for continued employment.

We will have 6-7 retirements in the next 12 months so that will be a large turnover for a department our size, along with hopefully a Safer Grant on this next cycle for 10. All of the years of experience will be hard to replace but the future of the District is in the right hands.

Our political future looks to be solid and we all still working great together as a team.

 

As always, start well, make good decisions, and provide the safety and care that we all got into this profession to do! Still the best job in the world!

In Brotherhood,

Roman Grabowski

EAFCD DVP

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Kenneth Camara, David Gentry, Logan Massie, Jonathan Appelo were presented the Phoenix award for for saving Mr. Robert Johnson (pictured alongside Chief Eastwood) when he suffered a heart attack.
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LT Ken Camara awarded Officer of the Year
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Brothers and Sisters,

As we settle into 2022, I am reminded of how much change has occurred in the last few years.  Change in the world, our community, our homes, and on the job.  Charlotte County Fire and EMS has experienced a lot of different and sometimes challenging changes.

Just a little refresher on some of the changes that impacted our work environment:  Covid, new Fire Chief, 2 new Deputy Chiefs, new SOPs, new Protocols, new Training Captains, new training schedules, new technology, new Directives, new Bulletins, new DVP, new Stewards, new contract negotiation representatives, new CBA, new county Policies, new members, new officers, new stations, new retirements, and on and on…

Speaking for myself, any changes to routine feel overwhelming at times.  Especially when it feels like I just got used to the last changes made, or I disagree with the changes being made.  When I feel this way, I must remind myself of a few things. First, not all change is bad.  By bad, I mean it isn’t a change that goes against my core values.  I may not agree with it, but that doesn’t mean its intent is to harm or is inappropriate.  If you find that a change being made goes against your core values, say it.

Second, if I believe I can create or improve something that exists or a new change, I often take my opinion, do the research, form a suggestion, and pass it up the chain of command.  Now, I also fall into the trap of complaining to the left or right of me, but I am trying to limit that reaction because it does no good after a few minutes of venting.  I recommend if you feel you can improve something, pursue it, and make the improvement.

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the crew of Engine 8C stopped by Lexington Manor  to wish Mr. Joe Brown a happy 105th birthday.

Finally, in the words of my Father and mentor, “Don’t live in the past.”  That statement feels uncanny and generic, but it couldn’t apply more to any other industry then ours, in my opinion.  It’s okay to reminisce and think fondly of the past, but don’t let it take up too much of today.  When I find myself saying things like, “We never used to have to do that…”, I remind myself to reflect, adjust my thinking, and move on.  If you feel similar in these circumstances, I hope you take a moment to get down to the root cause of your feelings, work through it, and move on.

Change can be difficult at times. It can also be extremely rewarding.  If it feels overwhelming and you need assistance working through it, reach out to  a professional either through EAP, the DVP or stewards, with your family, or on your own.  Protect your mental health like you would protect a brother/sister in a fire, tenaciously.

Welcome to the new members of Charlotte County Fire and EMS, including our new Administration team.  A special thank you to the Collective Bargaining Members that dedicated their time to meet for over a year and approximately 22 times with Administration to work on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Most importantly, congratulations to our recently esteemed retirees.  You gave us everything you had during your years with us, helped build us into what we are today, and may your retirement be the best part of your life!

Your humble servant and Trustee,

Michael McNeeley

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hosting the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) Region 6 Hazmat team, comprised of hazmat teams from Fire Departments across several counties.
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crews battling South Gulf Cove brush fire

Charlotte County's  

"First Responders" Memorial

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Hello Brothers and Sisters of 2546,

 

I hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy. As another quarter has passed, we seem to only be getting busier. It seems not too long ago we had a seasonal influx of population in our area. I am convinced that is a thing of the past.  With this influx comes our call to duty, and with that comes extra stress and workload not only in our work lives, but home as well. My message this quarter is to remember what we are doing, and why we are doing it. Don’t let the little things misdirect your attention from what is the most important, true friends, and family.

 

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

 ~Bruce Lee~

 

As far as North Port, we have been moving along with a couple minor new happenings to report. First, if you haven’t heard Chief Titus has applied for Sarasota County Fire Chief position, and we wish him well; change is not always a bad thing. North Port Station 86, and Sarasota County Station 26 is almost complete, and boy is it a monster! We have a tentative opening ceremony on April 15th if you would like to come check it out. We have officially broke ground, and we should be breaking it in sometime around June/ July. Until next quarter my friends….

 

Jentzen

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 Station 86
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Welcome to the NPFR family:  FF Russell, FF Griffith, FF Jekonski, FF Lemay, FF Cox, FF Hayes and FF Petys 
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Proposed Training Facility
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crews battling a brush fire 

North Port Fire's

Employee of the Year awards

North Port Fire held its annual awards and pinning ceremony at its new Station 86. The department gave out several awards along with 21 Phoenix Awards for successfully resuscitating 21 people who were in cardiac arrest on their arrival during 2021.

Honor Guard participating in Station 86 Grand Opening

Grand Opening of Station 86

New Firefighters taking pledge

Kyle Dawson, Markus Freudenberg, Yohank Benitez- Steve Kerr

LT Kyle Dawson recognized as Fire Officer of the Year

NPFD FF of the Year- Matthew Petitt

Firefighter-Paramedic Matt Petitt Fire recognized as Firefighter of the Year

BC Ray Coyle recognized as Staff Employee of the Year

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Officer of the Year: Kyle Dawson, FF of the Year: Matthew Petitt and Staff Employee of the Year: Ray Coyle

Nicholas Jusino and Thomas Young received Phoenix awards

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Jacob Cocanougher and Matthew Petitt received Phoenix awards

Gerardo Rodriguez and Colin Zargham received Phoenix awards

Dimtriy Stsiborsky, Matthew Petitt and Shawn Krajic received Phoenix awards

Matthew Anderson, Kyle Dent and David Truran received Phoenix awards

Mark Pardo, Thomas Young, Jonathan Foreman, Randy Wells and Joshua Clements received Phoenix awards

David Hawes and Michaela Magnapera received Phoenix awards

Martin Szalbirak, Adam Davis, Jonathan Foreman and Travis Hill received Phoenix awards

James Byrd, Zachary Wiegele, John Willis and Michael Roman received Phoenix awards

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Hello All,

 

Just a few months into the new year and things are moving fast. We're finally moving into station 3, design plans are being finalized for station 2 and there are whispers of a station 4. Bargaining began on April, 13th and we look forward to being done long before the end of the fiscal year.  

There have been quite a few personnel moves as well. Promotions took place all over the department. In administration, congratulations go out to our new Assistant Chief Brian Canaday and our first Division Chief of Training, Ed Corsino. In the Prevention bureau, Inspector Chris Melser was promoted to Deputy Fire Marshal and in Suppression, Lieutenant Jim Reynolds was promoted to Battalion Chief, Charge EMT Lionel Harrison to Lieutenant and Firefighter Brian Piazza to Charge EMT.

We also want to congratulate Collin Dunsmore and family on the birth of their 6lb. 4oz. baby girl, Grace Olivia. Born on March 4th, we welcome Grace to the BFD family.

At the beginning of the year, I was elected to another 3 year term as your DVP. I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve and remain dedicated to you all. Thank you.

Stay safe, Doug 

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City of Bradenton Administrators recognized recent promotions during Commission meeting, recognized back row l to r: Charge EMT Brian Piazza, Lieutenant Lionel Harrison, Battalion Chief Jim Reynolds, Division Chief of Training Eddie Corsino, Deputy Fire Marshal Chris Melser, Assistant Chief Brian Canaday and Fire Chief Tim Geer
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 Palmetto Scrap Yard fire
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teaching fire safety at Ballard Elementary
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view of scrap yard fire from turntable of BFD Tower 419 
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Brothers and Sisters,

 

I want to start off by congratulating our two newest members of PGFD Antonio Esposito and Evan Griffith. Please join me in welcoming them to the PG family. 

 

As you know, Council has approved our proposal for staffing increase and the Department has applied for SAFER Grant funding. I’m hopeful for great news in the near future. 

 

Our Pension Ordinance has been updated to reflect changes made in negotiations to our current contract. They will go through Council for vote and adoption in the weeks to follow. 

 

As always stay safe,

 

Danny Felico 

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Tyler Canfield and James Klages recognized for 15 years of service
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participating in joint training with CCFR
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FF Bala working the Emerald Point Condo fire
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Greetings from Southern Manatee

 

We’ve had a few promotions since the last edition, and I want to take this time to recognize those individuals. Lt. Dan Anderson of C-shift was promoted to EMS Officer. This is a new position at SMFR, and the need was created with the advancement of ALS (non-transport) Engines. Lt. Anderson hit the ground running and his effort has dramatically helped the Training Division. Congratulations Dan!

The next promotion was needed due to the growth of the District and increased call volume. Fire Chief Bounds saw a need for a Logistics Chief, which would take the responsibility of the major projects from our line personnel. The Logistics Chief is a non-union position, being a Division Head. Lt. Adam Chevalier of A-shift will be promoted to Logistics Chief starting March 28th. This was also a very competitive process and Lt. Chevalier was fractions of a point ahead of the next person. Congratulations Adam!

Due to the addition of the above-mentioned administrative positions, 2 Lieutenant positions opened up. FF/ Paramedic Sam Collins of A-shift scored #1 in the assessment and was moved to C-shift replacing Lt. Anderson. Lt. Collins started his new position last month. Congratulations Sam! FF Steve Hodges of C-shift scored #2 in the assessment and will replace Lt. Chevalier on A-shift and will also start his new position on March 28th. Congratulations Steve-o!

The promotional process at Southern Manatee is a difficult one and can be grueling. I would also like to give credit to all the other candidates that tested. Each of these promotions had steep competition and the scores were all very close. It is reassuring that we have qualified, competent, and quality employees. Chief Bounds, Chief Blanco, & Chief Thayer were completely transparent during all 3 of these processes and sought Union feedback when needed. This is just one example of how far our department has come the last 15+ years.

Last but not least; because of the upward movement at SMFR we had a void to fill with new hires. After the hiring process, 150-something applicants was narrowed down to 20. All 20 of the finalists seemed to be quality candidates. Unfortunately, that list had to be trimmed down to 5. Chief Bounds emailed the candidates last Thursday and the 5 rookies will start April 11th. Congratulations to the new hires and we’re looking forward to our Local adding more members.

That’s it for now, SMFR will start contract negotiations this summer (possibly as early as May). I hope everyone has a fun & safe Spring Break!

 

Thank You,

Derek Foss

Southern Manatee DVP

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Lt. Dan Anderson promoted to EMS Officer

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FF Ely working the Palmetto Scrap Yard fire

Southern Manatee Fire's 

Pinning & Awards Ceremony

On April 21st, the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Board of Commissioners held a ceremony recognizing the achievements of several members of the department. These included recent promotions, years served and the pinning of five new firefighters.  (not pictured but recognized were Paul Wojcik who was promoted to Inspector and Seth Burnett for 20 years of service)

new hires: Luis Penarenas, Justin Woods, James Burkett, Joseph Walker, Wesley Wollenberg were pinned during the meeting. Welcome aboard gentlemen!!

Captain Adam Chevalier promoted to Logistics Officer

Steve Hodges promoted to LT

Mike Bloski recognized for 25 years of service

SMFR's Hazmat Team received Special recognition from the US Food and Drug Administration

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Brothers and Sisters,

 

Good things are happening at North River.  Over the last few months we have added another 4 firefighters to the North River roster.  The newly hired, Charlie Childress, Chris Heier, and Matthew Luh have started at their assigned stations and have begun their North River journeys.  All three have signed up with the Local and are a welcomed addition.  The fourth new employee will be on board in the coming weeks.

 

The MDA boot drive was another great success this year.  The turnout was strong, and we were able to collect over $17,000 not including the coin count.  Great work! I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone that participated and to Joel Baker to coordinating the North River effort.  From where I’m standing, I see many great things in North River’s future.

 

Stay safe,

 

Ben

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Tech Rescue training with Team 636, comprised of Special Op members from both NRFD and BFD 
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Trench training with Team 636  
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working Palmetto Scrap Yard fire along side BFD
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Brothers and Sisters,

 

The beginning of 2022 has been off to a great start. In February the Department held its annual Awards ceremony for many of our outstanding members who serve the department and district. Firefighter of the Year went to Robert Haygood, Officer of the Year went to Paul Hopkins, and Rookie of the Year went to Gabriel Gonzalez, just to name a few. There were many more awards given out and it was great to recognize every individual.

In March the Department participated in the annual MDA boot drive. Over the course of the first weekend in March, members occupied three intersections in the district to collect money from the public. It was a great turnout and we ended up collecting over $8,000 for MDA. We look forward to next year and to collecting even more!

Also in March, a "Drowning Awareness" campaign was put on by the Department. With spring break going on and summer right around the corner, there are many people visiting our area and beaches. The goal of the campaign was to emphasize the importance of watching children while in or around water, by media coverage and sign holding on the side of the roadway. Multiple news outlets were able to film the press conference and numerous agencies participated including Manatee County EMS, marine rescue, and law enforcement.

This month in April, members of the Department will be attending FDIC. Over the course of the week, they will take many classes ranging from various topics and will bring that information back to share with the Department through training opportunities. It will be the first time attending this event by numerous members so it is an exciting opportunity.

That’s all I have to report for the quarter and I hope everyone continues to have a great year!

Frank Agresta

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Girl Scout Troop 40  competing in a combat challenge while visiting Station 2

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Parrot Cove Marina boat fire 

West Manatee Awards Ceremony

The ceremony, held Feb. 15th  celebrated the hard work and dedication of the fire district’s staff and first responders 

Capt. Paul Hopkins recognized as Fire Officer of the Year

FF Robert Haygood recognized as Fire Fighter of the Year

FF Gabriel Gonzalez recognized as Rookie of the Year

LT Dan Tackett recognized for 20 years of service

FF Andrew Powers awarded the Meritorious Service Award

BC Tyler MacDonald recognized for 10 years of service

FF Clayton Lease recognized for 5 years of service

FF Frank Agresta recognized for 5 years of service

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Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

This quarter at Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue we have had a great start to the new year. For starters, we have gained a new member to our Local, Firefighter Pete Setefano. He has been with Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue for 5 years now and we are excited to have him join our Union. I feel he will be an asset to continue good relations with management.

With mixed emotions, we had two of our members retire after 25 years of service. Those two are Lieutenant Brett Pritchard and Firefighter Michael Sheets. Hate to see them leave but hope you will enjoy any endeavors you have during retirement. We all thank you for your service.

In January the Affiliate Leadership Training Seminar was held in Orlando and we had the good fortune to have FF Garside, C shift Steward attend.  It was an opportunity to dive into what it means to be a part of a union. The seminar gave him a better look into how to be a successful leader and bring back valuable information to the members.

CHFR has a busy year ahead and we look forward to it. We will be looking at 4 new hires in April. Breaking in our new training tower. There will be a round of Lieutenant, Captain and Battalion promotions in June. Opening Negotiations for wages in June. 2 seats open for Commissioner elections in November.  Fire Chief Hoyle will be Retiring. Not to mention preparing for our Collective Bargaining agreement negotiations. I and all the members are looking forward to a successful year and the positive track the union and our department are on.

 

CHFR DVP Paul Reda

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Congrats on your retirement Michael !!
Congrats on your retirement Brett !! 
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In Memoriam

May They Never be Forgotten

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Red and Gold IAFF Logo - SPFF - Black Ba
           Delbert Miller
Retired Sarasota County

Happening Around the Local

If you would like to submit photos for Straight Streams or Facebook, please email them to: officemgr@iaff2546.com 
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2022 Scholarship Recepients

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Congratulations to Joshua Carden, Chadwick Davis and Jentzen Barton for being awarded one of Local 2546's annual scholarships. Good luck gentlemen in your future endeavors. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application. Instructions and submission forms for next years scholarship process can be found on Local 2546's website.  
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Polar Plunge 

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Our "Suncoast Polar Firefighters 2546" team recently participated in Polar Plunge held at Aquatica in Orlando; raising over $700.00 to help our friends at Special Olympics 

Team "Suncoast Polar Firefighters 2546"... Joel Baker and son Caleb, Jay Tsultim and son Connor, and Secretary Gerardo "G" Rogazy

If you would like to join in on the fun next year while raising money for a worthy organization please contact : 

 Secretary Gerardo "G" Rogazy

MDA Boot Drive 

Members from North Port Fire, North River Fire, Sarasota County Fire, Southern Manatee Fire, and West Manatee Fire took to the streets after a COVID hiatus filling the boot for our friends at MDA. A check in the amount of $103,735.91 was presented to MDA at our E-Board meeting, for our collections so far. Thank You everyone who participated...If you would like to get involved contact your MDA Rep. 

CONTEST ANOUNCEMENT

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BOOT DRIVE SHIRT DESIGN

Sisters & Brothers,

We are now looking to create a new shirt for next year’s drive and want your design ideas!

The parameters for the design are listed below:

  • The design must include “Suncoast Firefighters for MDA”

  • To be printed neon safety yellow shirt, so the design will only be in black print.

  • This shirt will represent the entire local, so please no actual department names on it.

All submissions must be in to the Secretary’s office by the close of business on July 11, 2022.

The Executive Board will choose the winner

 The Winner of the design Contest will win the following:

  • Trip to next MDA conference.

  • Polo shirt and a challenge coin from local 2546.

Here’s the design we’ve been using for the last few years:

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Good luck and We look forward to your submissions!!

Your Brother,

Gerardo “G” Rogazy

Secretary@iaff2546.com

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Drowning Awareness Campaign

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West Manatee Fire Rescue's drowning prevention campaign kicked off with the start of Spring break.  Volunteers waved signs promoting water safety at the entrance to the City of Bradenton's Municipal Beach, March 19th. 

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(click on image for more info)

 Salute to Service

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THE RAYS THANK YOU

FOR YOUR SERVICE!

(click on image to register for complimentary tickets to upcoming games)

Mark Your Calendars

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Paul Donnelly
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Laura Gross
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Jim Brantley
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(click on image for more info)