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Dear Brothers and Sisters – A lot to cover this Straight Streams, and I will begin with some significant and positive news that will demonstrate how your dues are working on your behalf. August brought the IAFF Convention to Ottawa, Canada, this year. Brother Rogazy and I traveled to the event this year. Our mission was two-fold, carry your votes and learn as much as possible about the new opportunities the IAFF offers to improve your health and safety; an of the strides being made on your behalf.


In briefly discussing the By-Law changes, 47 resolutions brought forward at the Convention, and 42 received adoption. I encourage you to read the new By-Law changes on the IAFF website. I have broken them down to simplify the issues for you, as this is my generalized interpretation of them.


  • 8 items had an associated cost to them and were very important to the membership.


  • 29.5 cents to fund the IAFF Foundation. The Foundation was working as intended. Because of that, donations were not from outside sources and were financed by the IAFF general fund as needed. This move will allow the Foundation to receive membership funding and open up the chance to obtain more private funding. Once the financial changes get implemented, the assistance to members and the public will be significantly enhanced.


  • 7.5 cents to the Emergency Dispute Fund – This fund assists affiliate leaders displaced from their Fire Department employment because they did their job in protecting and defending the membership. Since 2000 there have been 234 cases brought to the Legal Guardian policy on behalf of IAFF Affiliates. The Fund was created in 1970; the last increase was in 2006 when it was at .32 cents (other than colas). Accompanying the resolution was Resolution 33, which enhanced the Union Activities Justice Fund, providing coverage because of the original policy sunset in 2017. This clarified the awards and the maximum time the awards would be granted. The combination of these changes and the program assured that the membership of the IAFF's General Counsel would lead the fight to get members their Jobs back when wrongfully terminated for doing their Job as Union members.


  • 5.75 cents to fund a salary for the Trustees. (Trustees didn't receive a salary before this resolution)


  • 5.25 cents to add staff and upgrade the current GIS department within the IAFF – This benefit has helped 2546 and its units on many occasions.


  • 3.5 cents for 2022 and 6.5 cents for 2023 to aid in Firefighter cancer research – Please review the following link to obtain important information regarding this monumental move.


  • 3 cents to create an IAFF EMS Medical Director cadre to influence and educate advocates for the Fire Service.


  • 1.75 cents to fund the HR Committee to assist in the various needs that arise throughout Canada and the US regarding Human Relations. 3/4 cent for the committee's operational expenses and 1 cent for technical assistance for Local Affiliates. (In early 2000, Local 2546 was a recipient of technical assistance from the HR Committee when Sarasota County had an issue involving a hangman's noose) A companion Resolution #11 established the HR committee as a permanent committee of the IAFF to assure the good work would continue and secure access to all affiliates.

  • 9 resolutions censuring a US Senator and several Fire Chiefs

  • Most of the other Resolutions needed administrative changes that streamlined or assisted the IAFF in doing business on behalf of the membership.


  • 7k exemption, when created, was because they worked Firefighters 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This legislation set the number of hours government can work a Firefighter within a specific set of time (days) and then required the employers to pay overtime. The law was first implemented in 1938 under President Roosevelt and then amended in 1974 by Congress to provide further guidance on private fire protection related to work hours. This Resolution will cause the IAFF to develop a plan and pursue changes to FLSA in that more desirable work schedules further enhance the health and safety of Firefighters.

We have started offering educational classes to ensure we can offer education to the average member. It was essential to provide an opportunity that does not cause an increased cost to the Locals and reach deep enough into the units to capture the young Firefighters & Paramedics that desire to get involved or want to obtain information from professionals vs. listening to the firehouse lawyers.

During September, October and November, we will have speakers attend our Board meetings to educate your DVPs on various issues. Please feel free to show up at a Board meeting and see firsthand some of the essential work and education completed on your behalf.

The rebuilding of the Local's Face Book, Unit pages, and more started this week, as our entire electronic repertoire needed improvements to ease accessibility of information by the membership. We believe the new items contained in the revamped communications collection will be one that each member, young and old, will find useful. We are excited about this as it has been years since any significant change was implemented. More to come as we roll out this system in the next two months.


I am so proud this election cycle to see and walk with many of you for the vetted and endorsed Candidates. The turnout has been phenomenal, and please share with your coworkers how easy it was. To our young members, this is the #1 way you, as a member, can influence your future. Your time assisting them is priceless; it is how they get to know you, the great people you are, learning about your family or your issues, and not just as an employee.


Trust me when I say there are groups out there swaying Legislators with deep pockets, something we do not have. Boots on the ground are our way of matching big money!


I intended to provide more information for you in this Straight Streams, but due to getting Covid-19, I have been a bit under the weather. I recently received the gift during a trip to the IAFF Convention, and because of my comorbidities, I have lingering issues. Yes, this is my first time getting COVID, and I staved it off for over two years.


Stay safe out there, protect yourself and be kind to one another. Stay in shape to avoid comorbidities, eat healthily and exercise to safeguard your future to get every dime you can out of your hard earned retirement.


I remain humbled by the opportunity to serve as your Local President.


May God bless each of you

Phil Vets

Secretary- Gerardo Rogazy.png

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.

  • Cedar Hammock

  • Southern Manatee

  • City of Bradenton

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, Venice, and North River are negotiating either full CBA’s or pay openers. Please keep up with your process and offer help where you can, remember that your DVPs can't do it all themselves. Please participate and attend negotiation sessions whenever possible.

FPF Convention:

  • First, I would like to thank FPF 7th DVP Emeritus and Local 2546 President Emeritus; our Brother Merv Kennell. After achieving triple emeritus status 😊, he has finally fully retired to enjoy his grandbabies and family full time. Merv has done more for the firefighters of this Local and the State of Florida than we will ever know. He has been a great mentor to a lot of us here in your leadership today.


Merv, it has been an honor to be able to learn from, and serve our members alongside you. Enjoy your well-earned retirement. Love you my Brother!


  • Second, Congratulations to our NEW FPF 7th DVP Brother Jason Berzowski! As you know, Jason has been serving as the FSR for the Local and our Political Liaison officer. Thank you for stepping up to fill Merv’s (little) BIG shoes. I look forward to your leadership in the FPF organization.


  • Lastly, your Local was well represented at the convention. One of our own retired Brothers was made a lifetime member of the FPF organization. He served in 2 departments of our Local and has continued to be proud dues paying member while serving in the States Fire Marshall’s office. Here’s another Brother that has done so much for us than we will ever know. Thank you, Chief Julius Halas!

Local 2546 MDA shirt design contest:

Congratulations to the winner of our MDA Shirt Design Contest Brother Alan Glass!


Brother Glass is a member of the Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue unit of our Local and his design will be the shirt used for the next few years in our yearly boot drive.

Brother Glass has won a trip to next MDA conference, a polo shirt from the local of his choice and a Challenge coin.

Please Congratulate Brother Glass when you see him for his contribution.


Human Relations Committee:

The Committee has completed their Bylaws and they have been submitted for review. This will be an elected committee by the membership of the entire Local which will follow the officer election cycles. If you are interested in becoming part of this Committee there will be 2 seats up for election coming in January. Please stay tuned for postings from your DVP and Stewards.


This is a midterm election year, I want to thank those of you who have already helped 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. Please continue to participate all the way until the elections are over. Your DVP’s and Stewards are coordinating efforts with our Political Liaison officer Brother Jason Berzowski.

Union Training Opportunities:

  • We have completed our first of many educational seminars at our new hall. The BOOST YOUR COMMUNICATIONS CLASS was well attended and we gained invaluable information on how to improve our communications not only internally, but also on how to get our message out with the public and media outlets. Big THANKS to our instructor Brother Jayson French. He serves as the President of the West Palm Beach FF’s and as the IAFF 12th District FSR.

  • The Nuts & Bolts of Public Sector Bargaining presented by the firm of Donnelly & Gross with Jim Brantley Esq. has been scheduled for September 8, 2022 from 0900-1400 hrs. as our next class.

This class is a great way to learn the basics of what your need to know when it comes to negotiations and will help you understand the process from beginning to end. The class is free to members and it is first come first served. There are only 35 seats so please sign up ASAP to ensure your seats. You can use this link to the Eventbrite registration page: Nuts & Bolts class hosted by local 2546 or scan the QR code below.

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  • We have tentatively scheduled a class for November 14, 2022 with a Worker’s Compensation specialist to provide members a better understanding of how the system works. Please keep your eyes peeled for the Sign-up flyer to be sent out soon.

If you are not able to attend these classes don’t be discouraged, we will be scheduling more seminars in the near future. Keep yourself informed and pay attention, as these seminars come available.

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,


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Brothers and Sisters,

Summer is coming to an end, and Hurricane season is upon us!  I have been working on the upcoming budget, we had an FRS Committee Meeting, and the FPF and IAFF Convention have concluded.

The upcoming budget has taken some time this year.  I have been reviewing all of the updated monthly expenses for the newly remodeled union headquarters.  The rising costs of goods and services must also be accounted for in the new budget.  As part of last year's budget, we set up a scholarship program to send two honor guard members to the IAFF’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service in Colorado Springs.  I am happy to report that the policy was finalized and approved, and the individuals should be selected this month.

We had an FRS Committee meeting in June at the FPF Convention in Jacksonville.  We discussed the goals of the committee for the upcoming years.  It has also been decided that restoring the years of service and age to retire from 30 years of service or 60 years of age back to 25 years of service or 55 years of age was going to be a top priority moving forward and already has some traction.  At the last Legislative session, a study was ordered to get the cost of the transition, and it appears like it is definitely an option.  For those of you that are unsure of your current FRS benefits, I have included a couple of informational sheets to help out. (FRS Defined Benefit - Pension Plan: Hired post-July 1, 2011 and FRS Defined Benefit - Pension Plan: Hired pre-July 1, 2011)

Lastly, I previously mentioned that the FPF and IAFF Conventions came to a close for the year.  During both of these Conventions, there was a vote by the body to increase member dues for both the Florida Professional Firefighters and the International Association of Firefighters.  Since our dues structure has a pass-through for these dues, it will cause an increase in our dues as well.  This increase is not due to Local 2546 but due to the State and International.

  • Per FPF Secretary/Treasurer Gilbert Marsh – Effective July 1, 2022, the Per Capita rate will increase $0.25 per month from $7.50 per month to $7.75 per month.  This was due to increases voted on by the 2022 Florida Professional Firefighters 2022 Convention body.

  • Per General Secretary/Treasurer Frank Lima – Beginning October 1, 2022, IAFF Per Capita will be $16.73. This new amount reflects the changes approved by delegates at Convention.

That total includes the existing $15.68 and adds 55 cents for inflation and 1 ¼ cent for Resolution 33 (NISOH LODD Investigations) from our 2021 Convention. It also includes 48 ¼ cents ($0.4825) which was approved by delegates during our Convention this week. The new total of $16.7250 is rounded to $16.73 per Article VIII, Section 5 of the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws.

Approved resolutions containing per capita increases are listed below:

Resolution 19 - Cancer Research Funding
Resolution 45 – IAFF Foundation Funding
Resolution 10 – Emergency Disputes Fund
Resolution 24 – Funding for the Elected Human Relations Committee
Resolution 43 – EMS Physician Medical Directors
Resolution 44 -- Fire and EMS Operations Department Staffing Increase
Resolution 28 – IAFF Employment Immigration Sponsorship Support Resolution: Assistance from the IAFF to Navigate through the Immigration Process for Members to have Equitable Access to Opportunities within the IAFF Washington or Canadian Office. 



Treasurer Johnny Rigney, Jr.

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Greetings, Sisters and Brothers,


I hope this letter finds you well and you're enjoying this hot summer as much as possible. The political season is in full swing. The Primary has concluded and the General election is November 8th. Your Local has been fortunate in some races. But we remain fully engaged in some critical races in all three counties we have units. Your DVP and Local leadership will be doing everything we can to ensure success in the political process. We are meeting with and vetting every candidate and developing relationships with our endorsed candidates. Events are scheduled each week. We can't do it alone. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to contribute. Watch your message boards and text threads. When your DVP puts out an event, please participate, even if it's just for a couple of hours. Every little bit helps. We pride ourselves on being a boots-on-the-ground operation. That only works if we have actual boots on the ground. It could be a neighborhood walk with a candidate, sign holdings, campaign kickoff events, or putting signs up. There are many different ways for you to play your part. Help your DVP and Union leadership show the mighty force we can be politically.

We have important races in all three counties. In Manatee County, we were fortunate to have friendly candidates run unopposed in most fire districts. But our brothers at the City of Bradenton still need our help. They have two important races critical to the make-up of their council. One race involves a friendly incumbent we must keep in office. Another involves an endorsed newcomer to Bradenton politics willing to take on an unfriendly incumbent. Both races are vital. If you are a member of one of the Manatee County departments. Your DVP will post events to help our brothers at Bradenton with their political process. Please come out for a few. We are stronger together. And our Local uses each other for comparables during contract time. A couple of weak contracts popping up in our area end up hurting us all. Please come out if you can.

In Sarasota County, we have endorsed Joe Neunder for County Commission in District 4. Members of the SCFD have been out doing neighborhood walks with the candidate on Saturdays. If you haven't come out yet, you should. Contact DVP Baker for times and locations. I would also like to commend DVP Baker and his team; they have been involved throughout this political process. From interviews to event planning and getting themselves and others to the events. They are working hard to set SCFD members up for success in this political process. Please watch as they roll out future events and please come out.

The Cities of North Port and Punta Gorda both have important races coming up, replacing friends on each council. After conducting interviews we will be endorsing Bill Dryburgh in Punta Gorda and Phil Stokes in North Port . We are setting ourselves up to keep a friendly face in those seats on each Council. Watch for news from your DVPs on upcoming events in those departments.

And finishing our trip from North to South in Charlotte County. DVP Bettancourt and members of CCFEMS did an outstanding job with our boots-on-the-ground operation in Charlotte. They were walking neighborhoods, putting up signs, waving signs on corners, going to campaign events, you name it, they were doing it. They helped our two endorsed candidates in Charlotte for County Commissioner win their races and contributed significantly to their re-elections. Both candidates were extremely appreciative of our efforts.

In our State races, we have been fortunate. Our endorsed State Representatives of Will Robinson (District 71), James Buchanan (District 74), Mike Grant (District 75), and Spencer Roach (District 76) have all won their races already. This leaves our endorsed candidates Representative McFarland (District 73) and Representative Gregory (District 72), as the only ones with contested races remaining.


On the State Senate side, we had two of our endorsed candidates, Senator Jim Boyd (District 20) and Senator Joe Gruters (District 22), win re-election. We still have a little work to do on the Senate side, helping Senator Albritton (District 27) in his re-election bid. Lastly, we will be working to help Rep. Vern Buchanan (U.S. District 16) get re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

As you can see, your Local is very involved politically every cycle. If you're wondering what you can do to help, please reach out to your DVP.

Finally, I'd like to take a bit of personal privilege and thank the delegates representing the FPF 7th District at the recent convention. These delegates chose to elect me as your Florida Professional Firefighters 7th District DVP. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the firefighters of the 7th District at the State level. A special Thank you to my predecessor Merv Kennell. Merv served many years as our Local president and FPF 7th District DVP. My friend Merv has decided to become a full-time Grandpa. I think we all can agree he has earned some time off. I also want to thank President Vets for everything he has done for me. It is no stretch to say I would not be where I am today without his help. Between Merv and Phil, I could not ask for two better Union mentors and Brothers. Having over 70 years of knowledge working with you has been an incredible experience for me. Thank you Both. And finally, thank you to the executive board of Local 2546 for your trust and belief in me.

As your Political Liaison officer and FPF DVP, I will continue to ensure our elected officials understand the needs of our Firefighters. A lot of work is still to be done, and each election cycle presents opportunities for our organization to grow and gain influence. Please ask your DVP what you can do to help in this critical cause.



Jason Berzowski

berzowski and Huffman Kurt Landefeld for Bradenton City Council..jpg
attending City of Bradenton Commission, Ward 4 candidate Kurt Landefeld fundraiser along with Bradenton DVP Huffman
Jason bringing lunch to the hard working people at manatee county supervisor of elctions o
providing a much needed break for the hard working people at the Manatee County Supervisors office
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members of Local 2546 supporting Representatives Boyd and Gregory 

FPF 7Th District DVP

Swearing In

During the FPF Convention Local 2546's FSR Jason Berzowski was confirmed as 7th District VP as DVP Merv Kennell officially retired to enjoy more family time. Local 2546 /FPF 7th DVP Emeritus Kennell leaves behind a legacy spanning 40+ years serving Local 2546 on both the local and state level.  Jason was officially sworn in by FPF President Bernowski on July 1st. 

FPF President Bernoska officiated
FPF 7th DVP Berzowski and FPF 7th DVP Emeritus Kennell
FPF President Bernoski, 7th DVP Berzowski, FPF VPresident Salvatori, and 7th DVP Emeritus Kennell
Local 2546's delegation at FPF Convention

Thank you Merv for your years of service to the community and Local 2546!

Enjoy your retirement and those grandkids!!!! 

New Members

Welcome to Local 2546

When you see these members take a moment and welcome them into the Org. 
Jesse Herrera - Cedar Hammock
Micah Ingram - Cedar Hammock
Brittany Rash - Cedar Hammock
Trace Parcels - Cedar Hammock
Ryan Atwood - Charlotte County
Richard Bailiff- Charlotte County
Jonathan Dori - Charlotte County 
Dwane Eckes - Charlotte County 

Kevin Knipe - Charlotte County 
Cobi Leggett - Charlotte County 
Camedon Logan - Charlotte County 
Owen Morazes - Charlotte County 
Christopher Rodriguez - Charlotte County
Mark Rogers - Charlotte County                          James Burkett - Southern Manatee                   
Luis Panaremas - Southern  Manatee              Joseph Walker - Southern Manatee                Wesley Wollenberg- Southern Manatee        Justin Woods- Southern Manatee                  David Miller - West Manatee

Recently Retired

Congratulations on Your Retirement 

Tom Franz - Charlotte County 
Leroy Wilson - Charlotte County 
Joe Mills - Englewood Fire
Jeffrey Strong - Englewood Fire
Dawn Dunkum - Longboat Key
Rocky Parker - Longboat Key
Joseph McCord - North Port
Joe Silva - Venice Fire
Brian Deckard - Sarasota County
Bryan Eastwood - Sarasota County

Jose Velazquez - Sarasota County
Tony Lear - Southern Manatee
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Brothers and Sisters, 

Your new leadership has hit the ground running and have our hand in many aspects of the roll and responsibilities that come with the job. I appreciate all the members that have stepped up to offer their assistance in different areas.

 Special thanks to Lt. Jakimer for being the liaison to assist me in posting updates.



The General Election is right around the corner on November 8th. Anyone interested in being apart of this proces, please let me know.

District 4- We are supporting Joe Neunder

District 2- With the assistance of Lt. Byrne and Steward Griffin, interviews were conducted of the candidates before the Primary. The Union made a decision to wait until the Primaries were over before making a final decision on who to officially support. 

I cannot stress enough, of the importance of being politically involved. I will continue to do my part in building relationships with our Commissioners no matter what their political party affiliation, I just need the memberships help putting boots on the ground waving signs, door flyers or what ever is asked of us by the Commission Candidates.



We attended the FPF Convention in Jacksonville back in June. 7th District VP Merv Kennell officially retired after many years of dedication to our Local and to Sarasota County’s Unit. We are losing many years of experience and Knowledge. Happy Retirement Merv!

One of Local 2546’s own affiliates LBK Jason Berzowski has been voted in as our new FPF 7th District VP. Congrats to Brother Berzowski!

Florida Professional Firefighters Association has officially endorsed Ron Desantis as Governor in the upcoming Election.

Steward Griffin and myself attended several days of an educational seminar down in Coral Gables this past month. The educational classes were put on by the IAFF and included  several topics surrounding negotiations. Great info and knowledge obtained!

Union Business:


We have worked very hard to put together a Contract proposal to the County that addresses the concerns and input obtained from the membership meetings, survey monkeys and online. We have kicked off the first negotiation session and had a great turn out by our membership.

Thank you to Grady Griffin for stepping up to plate to assist our Local. Grady has been a great asset to us and I am proud to bring him onboard as one of our shop Stewards. Congrats Grady!

President Vets is working hard to bring Union classes to our Local and hold them at the Union hall. We shall post them as they come available, please don’t hesitate to sign up.

Good news on the Horizon. President Vets has also been working hard with all the Local DVP’s to assist us with better communication platforms. He is having our Union website rebuilt and designed to address a better line of communication for the Local and all the Units. This is very exciting news and we hope to have something up and running within the next several months or earlier. 




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Welcome to the SCFD Family:  Macrae, Baer, Appelo, Foster, Dube, Vassallo, Gentry, Firestone, Gibbs, Goodwin, Garcia, and Perdue 
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participating in 'active shooter' training with SCSO
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Brothers and Sisters,

Not a lot to report this quarter for Venice. First, I would like to congratulate Kyle Hartley and his new position as Assistant Chief, its well-deserved and I look forward to where you will help take us. Also, a congratulations to Battalion Chief Joe Silva on his retirement. Thank you for everything you have done for the Department over the years. We wish you the best Joe on your adventures that wait ahead.

We have also started off this year’s negotiations with what I believe to be a good start. I am hopeful that we can accomplish some past due changes that will only help our department and its firefighters in moving forward. But as they say, “we’ve only just begun”


That’s all for this quarter, but more to come next quarter. Until then, stay safe.



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B-Shift during High Rise training 
Venice SAVE training better pic 1.jpg
Swift Assisted Victim Extraction (S.A.V.E.) training with Venice PD
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Swift Assisted Victim Extraction (S.A.V.E.) training with Venice PD
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Brothers and Sisters,


We have reached the halfway point of 2022 and there have been a few changes. On July 1st was the retirement of FF/PM Dawn Dunkum after 22 years of service with Longboat Key. Dawn has had a hand in training just about every current employee at Longboat Key. She will be greatly missed. Congratulations to FF/PM Daniel Martinez, FF/PM Tyler Anderson, and FF/PM Ryan Corso on successfully completing their paramedic preceptee program and being cleared by our medical director. Assistant Chief Regnier and Assistant Chief Szalbirak have settled in nicely and we will continue to expect great things from them.

Finally, we would like to congratulate Jason Berzowski on his new position as Florida Professional Firefighters 7th DVP. We know you will continue to work  hard for us both locally and at the state level.


Stay Safe,


Rich Roome

Congrats to FF/PM Daniel Martinez, FF/PM Tyler Anderson, and FF/PM Ryan Corso on successfully completing their paramedic preceptee program
Congrats Dawn on your retirement!!!!
several Longboat Key members along with President Vets attended FPF 7th DVP Berzowski's Swearing In 
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Brothers and Sisters,

We have a lot of moving parts at EFD at the moment.

We just had two 20 year veterans retire in July. FF Joe Mills and FF Jeff Strong have started their life away from the fire department. We will miss both of them around the Station and their 40 years of experience on calls.

Our Paramedics and our ALS are officially up and running. Chief Easton has approval for a second District Chief. We have a handful of officers retiring in the next 6 months which will provide for alot of movement and promotions in the very near future.

We are still waiting on the status of our Safety Grant with hopes of growing this Department and building it for the future. We had 4 Commission seats that ran uncontested so keeping our Fire Commission Board together ensures us of continuity and seamless growth at all levels at EFD .

I'm proud to be part of such a professional team moving toward the future in an exciting way.

As always 

Protecting the Wood

In Brotherhood,

Roman Grabowski DVP/ EAFCD

EFD Zappula and alligator.jpg
Peter Zappula vs a very unhappy gator
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Paramedics FF Shane Williams,  FF Jason Franklin, LT Josh Jacobs, FF Matthew Wickwire, FF David Gentry, FF Anthony Perrone and FF John Wilcoxon will officially be providing ALS to the citizens of Englewood
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Brothers and Sisters:


Last Straight Streams, I asked Trustee McNeeley to contribute an article to give a different voice to our Charlotte County column if anyone would like to write one in the future please let me know. I am writing this while flying back from visiting the IAFF headquarters and AFL-CIO headquarters in DC. I am rejuvenated with the vigor of strength from all of those that came before us and those who currently stand in solidarity with us as a collective union, not just in the IAFF but labor in general. During this trip, I was reminded of how far we have come as a profession from the early days of low wages, low safety standards, and high mortality to the current positive position we carry and the influence we have on safety aspects, collective bargaining, and politics.


The team at the IAFF headquarters in DC offers services with memberships dues that many members are unaware of: I visited a team who is currently working on Charlotte County’s GIS study to help map calls and find opportunities for where we can place apparatus and manning (this should be complete in the next 90 days), a dedicated advertising and strategic communications team that helps drive messages via social media, internet, printed advertising, and even a full-fledge TV production studio. A financial team that helps prepare the union leadership for negotiations with comparable studies, MFA documents, and a whole group dedicated to safety, including pushing for research on cancer and healthy initiatives. We have used and will continue to use several, if not all, these services for the direct impact on our employees, citizens, and education of elected officials and the Administration of Charlotte County.


All of that being said, the Union is only as strong as the group in its entirety. The general membership is more educated and aware than ever before. We are looking for new individuals to take the torch and help run the Union at multiple levels within our Organization. I urge you to help and contribute when able. The power of us collectively is a force to be reckoned with!


Thank you again for the opportunities you have provided me in my elected position. The challenges and lessons learned thus far have been numerous and enlightening.

Stay united, stay strong, and continue to promote the Brother/Sisterhood we own.  


Brendan Betancourt

the crew of Station 8 stopped by the Skunk Ape Conference to show off their Brush truck nicknamed "Skunk Ape". Brian Ruggiero, Ernesto Sierra, Jeremy Tuttle, Skunk Ape, Glenn Thompsen, Nick Hornborg, and Matthew Adamo.  
crews working box truck fire near Neal Rd.
crews battling Riviera Marina fire
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Hello Brothers and Sisters of 2546,


I hope this finds you and your loved ones well. Yet another quarter has passed, and I find myself asking where did it go…. As we get older, time sure just zooms by, so enjoy every moment. As far as us down in the big City of North Port, boy have we been busy. As I’m sure with everyone in the Local, our call volume is increasing daily and we are in a rat race to keep up, but we will all prevail.


With that being said, we just went through the hiring process to pick up an additional 9 for staffing of another Rescue, and it is badly needed. Station 86 has officially opened and is operational with NPFR TRK-86, R-86, SCFD E-26, R-26; NPFR’s second District Chief will be there sometime towards the end of this year.


On a different note, we entered a golf team in the First Responder Games which were held in Cape Coral this year, and took 3rd place, nice work!

There isn’t much else to report, so until next quarter, stay safe and enjoy your friends and family as much as possible.

crews from North Port and Sarasota County enjoy a meal at newly opened Station 86
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welcome to the NPFR family: John Witters, Larry Pino, Bobby McCue, Brandon Leacock, Connor Kamp, Matt Lukowski, Tyler Longo, Layne Boyette and Jake Johnston
NPFR La Petite Academy .jpg
teaching fire safety to 172 students at La Petite Academy 
NPFR C shift  I-75 at MM177 NB.jpg
"A" Shift responding to vehicle fire at I-75 at MM177 NB
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Hello All,


This quarters report will be brief. 


Bradenton's new fire Station 3 is finally on line. It's beautiful. Along with the new station came a new fire engine. We need more of those. 


Due to retirements,  we picked up a couple new guys this quarter. Noah Huffman started the first part of May and Chris Mundell started early part of August. Welcome to the family boys. As a result of those retirements we had a promotion as well. Congratulations to Brad Bischoff for becoming our newest Engineer. Brad has become a great Steward and will undoubtedly be great in his Engineer spot.


And now it's that time of year. The political season is upon us. A time when a different kind of alarm sounds. The one your DVP strikes when HE needs YOUR help. Political action is the single most important component for union success. Without it, you have nothing. No voice, no relationship, no leverage, nothing. Relationships developed through political action are critical to our mission of providing better pay and benefits to you, the member. In short, get your politics right and everything else will be right. I can't overstate the importance of your help. Your DVP can't do it alone. Make plans now and set aside some time this season. Help your DVP help you. In the end, you'll be the ultimate benefactor. 


Stay Safe, Doug 

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"Push in" ceremony for newest pumper, a Pierce Enforcer, E431 at newly completed Station 3 
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Mark Kushto and Garrett Mumford received a commendation for exemplary care of a patient
crews participated in helicopter training with BayFlight
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Brothers and Sisters,


As many of you know there’s a few things happening around the City. Chief Gibbs has stepped in as interim Chief and Chief Canfield has been appointed to interim Ops Chief. Our Grant was approved for a new training tower. No updates have been given on our SAFER grant application at this time. 


With Debby Carey stepping down from Council and Jaha Cummings running for Charlotte County Commission we have two seats up for election. I wish both of them the best in their future endeavors and thank them for their commitment to the City and our Department. With that being said after conducting candidate interviews the Union has endorsed William Dryburgh in District 2.

Our newest member Matthew Steele has begun his orientation. Please join me in welcoming him to the PGFD family. 


As always stay safe,



Joe Lindsey recognized for 20 years of service
Derrick Stewart recognized for 15 years of service
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assisting with the Riviera Marina fire
participating in the Public Safety Youth Academy

Chief Briggs Retirement Ceremony 

A retirement ceremony was held at Station 1 for Chief Ray Briggs, who retired after 32 years with the City of Punta Gorda Fire Department. Holden Gibbs has been appointed Interim Chief.

We wish you all the best Chief Briggs!
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Hello All, 


Southern Manatee has been active the last few months. First SMFR hosted a multi-company drill, that included crews from other Fire Departments. Cedar Hammock (L2546) & East Manatee (L4074)  both participated; which helped make this training drill a big success. Our Training Chief received a lot of great feedback from those that participated. This drill is being planned to continue, at least annually, possibly more. The multi-company drills are going to help the Fire Districts in Manatee County, adapt to a new Dispatch Protocol, Closest Unit Response. The new dispatch protocol, will now dispatch the closest unit, regardless of Fire District borders. The goal of the new protocol was to increase response times and increase customer service, which it has done. There are still a few “bugs” that need to be addressed, but so far an easy transition. 


In June, we started negotiating our next contract. We were able to get a “Tentative Agreement” draft after 3 negotiation sessions. In July the contract was voted on and “approved” by a 67 - 1 vote by both units (supervisory & rank/file). The Commission has also voted and approved the contract .This new contract is for 3 years, with salary increases each year. I’d like to thank my bargaining team, without their hard work and research efforts, we would not had an agreement after 3 sessions. I would also like to thank our Adminstration, their transparency with numbers, and hard work also led to a smooth negotiation process. 


We hope all of you and your families have had a fun safe summer, 


Derek Foss 


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hosting a multi-company drill
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hosting a multi-company drill
Everyone at SMFD is hard at work keeping the community safe including Training Chief Thayer's pal Koda
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Brothers and Sisters,


All is going pretty good at North River.  We have added a few names to the roster over the past quarter.  As well as an Engineer promotion.  I’d like to welcome the three newly hired employees as well as congratulate Trevor Porter on his promotion from Firefighter to Engineer. 


We have recently had a couple good union meetings to cover the openers for the contract this year.  A lot of good information was exchanged.  I look forward to having a few more meetings in the near future. 


Through time donations we have been able to cover brother Derek Foss’s time off after his life changing donation.  If you work for North River and would still like to donate time, you can send me an email.  A big thank you to Richard Smail for organizing the donations. 


Keep up the good work everyone!  If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to me.



Congrats Trevor on your promotion!!!
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I hope everyone is having a safe and fun summer. Over here at West Manatee things have been steady due to the summer influx of visitors. Our District has had an increase in boat calls over the past couple of months with a few of those being rescue situations. Our boat continues to be a great asset to our Department and District.  

The Department has begun to offer hands only CPR classes to any individual who wants to participate and learn CPR. The classes will be held on the first Saturday of every month at our Administration building and will last approximately 2 hours. There is a 10-person limit per class.  

Also in August, the District will hold interviews for a Training Chief position. This position is new and was voted on by our Board of Commissioners to increase the quality of training within our Department. We look forward to welcoming a new Chief.  

In November, our Board of Commissioners will welcome two new members to fill Seat 2 and Seat 3. 

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

Frank Agresta 

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Lisa Sedillo, Buddy Bowen, and LT Daniel Tackett were honored by the District for their part in the rescue of Jake (the young man pictured above) 

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West Manatee Fire's rescue boat
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water rescue scenarios with A-shift 
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Participating in Search and Rescue training 
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Greetings Brothers and Sisters,


This quarter at Cedar Hammock has been beneficial for our members. Our Board of Commissioners have officially accepted a 6 percent increase in wages for our Department. We were even able to improve some of our current benefits.

Furthermore, we had four new hires join our family and they are learning to adapt to the new career. Each of our new hires were eager to join our Local and hopefully we can get them more involved in the future.

Our Training tower has just a few more items that need to be addressed before it is officially released to our District, but we are already getting training lined up. Our crews are excited for the new opportunity to train in the upcoming months. The tower is 4 stories with the top being a place for rappelling and ladder placement. There is an enclosed stairwell as well as an exterior and most of the facility is modular. We have a roof prop to train for roof ventilation and how to operate on residential roofs. There is even a concreate wall we can breach and repair for repeated trainings. All in all, this will be a great opportunity for our Department as well as the surrounding Departments to further advance our skills so our firefighters are confident and safe on the fire grounds.

With that, I hope you all have had a great year and maybe we will see you at the drill grounds!

CHFR DVP Paul Reda.

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Welcome to the CHFR Family: Micah Ingram, Zaccheus Stiscak, Brittany Rash, and Jessie Herrera
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the Benevolent Fund was able to help out a community member in need by purchasing him a walker
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Happening Around the Local

If you would like to submit photos for Straight Streams or Facebook, please email them to: 
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Honor Flight

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 Punta Gorda Fire's Chief Briggs, Tony Laurenti, Alex Davenport and Rhett Anderson had the privilege of escorting our local military hero's on their journey from Punta Gorda to Washington DC to view the memorials erected in their honor. On their return they were greeted by several Charlotte County Fire personnel.  For more info on our local Honor Flight network:

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Check out the hero's welcome as the Honor Flight returns back to Punta Gorda. Thank you for your service!
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Fight for Air Climb

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Members from West Manatee Fire took to the steps of Raymond James Stadium to raise funds for the American Lung Association. Aaron Reese, Clayton Lease, Frank Agresta, Robert Haygood and Max Pollock along with other area firefighters; dressed in full gear maneuvered 1,377 steps each to promote awareness for the millions of Americans affected by lung disease. The West Manatee Fire Rescue team finished 4th among the firefighter teams and raised $1,179.69 for this great cause. If you would like to participate next year:   Fight For Air Climb