Greetings fellow firefighters! I do hope the start of this New Year has found you all happy, healthy and safe! There are so many events coming up this year and I encourage you to keep an eye on our website, www.ksffa.com , and also in the FIREWIRE for details.
The first event I want to remind you of is the FRA Seminar in Salina at the Bi-Centennial Center on January 17 beginning at 9am and concluding at lunch. Ken Selzer, the newly elected Commissioner of Insurance will be on hand to meet the fire service and this will be a great time for us to get to know him. I am very pleased to announce that Commissioner Selzer has recruited an old friend of ours to lead the FRA Department, John Boyd will be on hand to detail the FRA program. We will have the roundtable sessions with vendors again this year and I do hope you take advantage of this format to gather information to ensure your FRA is using the monies to provide the very best benefits possible for your firefighters. Of course there are no fees and pre-registration is not required. I highly encourage every officer or those who wish to be an officer of your local FRA to attend.
I also want to remind everyone we will again host our Legislative Reception on February 9, 2015 at Topeka’s historic fire station number 2 at 719 SW Van Buren Street beginning at 5pm to 7pm. This is one block north of the State Capitol. I highly encourage everyone who can attend to please be there by 4:30 so that we can be ready to welcome our legislators. One thing I have been asked is that we try to park away from the building and give our guests the courtesy of a close parking space. Last year was very well attended by over 75 legislators and around 60 fire service personnel from across the state. We really need to have a firefighter from every legislative district present because that is who the legislators want to see, someone from their home area. As we identify the issues affecting our fire service, we need to have those relationships in place. If you can attend, please take the time to let your legislators know you will be there and invite them to attend. This does make a difference! If I failed to mention, we will also have FREE FOOD! The BBQ Shack from Paola, KS is our caterer again this year and I can tell you the food is GREAT! Please do RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we will be able to have plenty to go around. Also, if you have not signed up for our Legislative CapWiz tool to track legislation affecting the Kansas fire Service, I highly recommend you do so. On our website, click the link KS Legislative CapWiz . This is a free service to you and only generates email when we need you to take action or notice of legislation affecting us all.
It’s not too early to remind each of you of our Annual Conference coming up on April 22-25, 2015 hosted by the Junction City fire Department. Motel information along with the 2015 KSFFAA, James A. Todd Memorial Scholarship applications can be found on our website. Please, if you know of anyone who may qualify for these scholarships, encourage them to apply! Applications must be received by March 1st. Just below the scholarship application link is the application for KSFFA Honorary membership. We want to honor those who have helped make the KSFFA what it is today. The scholarships and Honorary memberships are announced at our conference. The KSFFA Auxiliary also conducts the Firefighter Memorial Service at our conference and we do want to honor all those who have passed on this last year.
As you all know, Conference is also where we get to help shape the overall direction of the KSFFA. The committee work is very valuable to the executive board and gives the guidance needed to fully provide for the needs of the Kansas Fire Service and our membership. Elections for officers will also be held for the following positions: President, 2nd Vice President, Treasurer, NorthWest Trustee and SouthWest Trustee. I can tell you there will be changes on our board this April. I have informed the executive board that I will not seek re-election at this coming conference. That decision was not easily made and one that I have thought through, prayed over and fully discussed with my wife and family. It is simply time for me to devote my time and energies to my family as I take the glide path to retirement. I truly do love serving as your President and will always cherish the memories and friendships I have made over the last 9 years. Elected as your 1st Vice President at Lawrence in 2006, I came to this board with ideas and visions of improving the FRA system and our training deliveries. As a local secretary/treasurer, I knew something was very wrong with the FRA distribution system. I am proud to say that with your help and the patient leadership of a few key people at the Kansas Insurance Department, that situation is resolved and the system is fair for all. The FRA Seminar in Salina has a special spot in my heart as that is where I was first named the President of this association in January, 2011. Attendance at regional fire schools has been a top priority for the last few years. I still challenge every firefighter in this great state to attend at least one regional fire school. I think once you do, you will come back. Our class list and delivery methods are constantly changing and we are always striving to deliver the highest quality educational experience our firefighters deserve. We can’t do this alone, we need your help. If you believe you are the next person to help lead this association, please consider running for office at our next conference.
As always, I close with the message of service to our firefighters. Your executive board serves at your pleasure and we do want to be of the very best service to you. I ask you to please contact any of our officers if you have any question, suggestion or complaint. We are and will remain “Dedicated to the Safety and Education of the Kansas firefighter”
I wish each of you a very Happy New Year.
JL Ellis, President KSFFA