My spirits were uplifted for those I saw in person at FDIC last month. I was honored to say a few words during our Induction and Awards Ceremony and would love to share with those of you who weren’t able to be in attendance.

Perhaps the greatest compliment I receive is when I hear “I’m so PROUD to be a member of the Society.” I’ve heard that more frequently this past year and I dare to say that PRIDE is the ISFSI’s unofficial theme. Past Presidents, leaders of ISFSI from decades long gone, and new members just getting involved in our committees are sharing how PROUD they are to be members of the ISFSI.

Our PRIDE runs deep. It has improved the value of our Society and provided us purpose as we continue to raise the bar of instructional excellence in the fire service. When I started working with ISFSI in 2009 I was discouraged to hear what the stigma of the fire instructor was, or as I fondly referred to as “The Poster Child of the Fire Instructor.” Long gone are the days where training assignments are punishments. Departments are embracing instructor professional development and ensuring that training is the foundation for the culture of the department.

ISFSI continues to build awareness around training by elevating the standards by which we hold our instructors accountable for their own professional development. By certifying instructors in 1403 Live Fire Fixed Facility and Acquired Structure, as well as offering our benchmark Training Officer Designation, and providing instructor specific continuing education, we are driving the conversation about instructor excellence. In addition, training and curriculum delivered by ISFSI has made a monumental impact on the fire service in the US and globally. While being diligent in our convictions, often being the punching bag of critics, we are encouraged to see State Training Facilities as well as Fire Departments around the world incorporate the Principles of Modern Fire Attack, Basement Fire Research and education, and now implementing NFPA 1700.

I would not be able to stand up here and share my own PRIDE with you without the support of our remarkable team. We celebrate our team and how PROUD we are of all our accomplishments. At FDIC we were joined by our teammates from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, the Congressional Fire Service Institute, the National Fire Academy, the National Volunteer Fire Council, FEMA, the North American Fire Training Directors, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Fire Safety Research Institute. All arrived to celebrate the WE…not the I.

I extended my own gratitude to the board members of ISFSI who continue to pursue “what’s right” over “what’s popular,” putting their own reputations on the line at times. I’m blessed to have a staff that bleeds ISFSI through and through and never ever says NO. And for all of you out there who waive the ISFSI flag daily, I appreciate you.

Thank you for being an essential part of the ISFSI family and thank you for being an ISFSI Champion. I encourage you to help us celebrate the WE!

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