A Message From the ISFSI President: Pete Van Dorpe

Brothers and Sisters:

Greetings! I hope this finds you all reasonably hale and hearty during what truly is turning out to be very trying times. Perhaps that varies a bit depending on your State and your location within it, but we are all feeling the impact to some extent, if in no way other than the uncertainty the pandemic has brought to our daily lives and our future plans.

The staff and the Board here at ISFSI are communicating regularly and engaging the broader membership to both maintain and even broaden the benefits of your membership. Several weeks ago, we started our “Virtual Happy Hours” to provide a simple forum for members to keep in touch with each other as well as the staff and the board. I think they have been a great success. We fully realize that the time slot is not convenient for everybody, but compromise is the name of the game when you are trying to accommodate 4+ time zones. If you can’t make the full hour, just log in for a moment to say “hey” to all your sisters and brothers. To try to serve those that can’t join us, we have been recording each session and making them available through the forum – check them out! We’ve had some great presenters as well as the hoped for sharing of ideas and just plain genuine comradery. NOTE: we began with an “every Wednesday” schedule but have just switched to the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. Mark your calendars. 😉

Our last Happy Hour featured Commissioner Thiel of the Philly Fire Department and Rachel Lesczynski, Program Manager for INTERSCHUTZ USA, which will (at least of this writing) be held as scheduled in Philly on October 13 – 17. I encourage you to tune in to the recorded session on the Forum and check out the various ways Interschutz is looking to “change up the routine” as it were for attendees. Also worth noting, Ms. Lesczynski is looking for folks to do 15-20 minute “Ted Talk” type presentations throughout the conference. Any takers? Know anyone who is looking to “break into” the speakers circuit? This could be a great opportunity! Philly is, of course, a great city to visit and is right next door to just about everything else you might want to see in that part of the country. Corona-nonsense permitting, I’d encourage you all to check it out!

Intershutz isn’t the only educational conference still willing to make a go of it. The folks at FDIC are putting on the United Fire Conference in Indianapolis this September 22-24. They’ve got a great line up of presenters and topics (if I do say so myself) for a fraction of the cost of FDIC. Not only that, fifty percent of the registration revenue for United Fire Conference will be donated to support the following organizations: Tunnel to Towers and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. If local conditions and your situation permits, I encourage you to make an effort to attend one of these events.

On the international front (that’s where the first “I” comes from 😉), with the encouragement of Dave Moore, longtime ISFSI member and founder of the Africa Fire Mission (learn more here https://myemail.constantcontact.com/AFM-June-Update.html?soid=1134090378386&aid=GwISHtG_QYA ) the Board is working on ways to make membership in the Society economically feasible for firefighters in emerging nations. Many of these men and women only earn dollars a day, if anything at all, and as Dave’s mission demonstrates, desperately need all the help they can get. With Dave’s assistance, we are confident we can find a way to help these firefighters, and those situated like them throughout the world, belong, contribute to, and benefit from membership in ISFSI.

Speaking of membership. Have you recruited that firefighter that you KNOW belongs here with us? Have you looked her or him in the eye and said, “please join”? Do you know that veteran that perhaps won’t benefit FROM membership but who can (and should) contribute TO the members of the Society? If you’re not comfortable making the pitch, I’ll happily make it for you! They can reach me through the Society web page or at petevandorpe@gmail.com

As a result of the pandemic, we are all, in virtually all aspects of our lives, being driven even faster than before, to a brave new on-line, virtual, old rules don’t apply, turn on a dime, adapt and overcome world, both personally and professionally. No one of us can do this alone. Now more than ever we need each other. We need each other to come together to share resources, ideas, expertise, insight, experience, and just plain support. Membership in this organization always has, and will continue, to give its members a leg up when facing the challenges our profession brings our way. We are only as strong and as effective as the people that make up the society and as good a “we” are, we are not all things to all people. Expanding our reach and our effectiveness requires a renewed commitment from each of us, and an influx of new members with new energy, ideas, and passion. You know who they are. Bring them into the fold. Now saddle up!

Keep safe and keep well!

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