From The Director

By Brendan Ward, Director
Johnny V.

Please accept congratulations from the Union leadership to the many members who helped during the ordeal of John Voelker’s injuries. From the original treatment of his injuries at the scene to the meals brought to the hospital for his family by members of Battalion 10. From the continual visits to see John during those many months of treatment to the all-night vigil held by our members in John’s last nights at the hospice. From the wonderful attendance at the vigil and funeral to the generous monetary support of the reception afterwards.

I was especially proud of how many members came in dress uniform for the funeral. It was an awesome sight and showed the continued tradition of the SFFD members to honor their own. I speak for the Voelker family thanking all the members who showed to honor the “King of Toys.”

Special thanks go out to the members of Station Nine who rose to the occasion and performed excellently through the leadership of Bob Lopez and Mike Cuddy. I also thank all the groups who funded the cost of the reception: Wind and Fire Motorcycle Club, S.F. Firefighters Charitable Fund (led by Dan Armenta), Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, Station Nine, Station One, Asian Firefighters (represented by Keith Onishi), Station Eight, Station Two and Station Seven. It was a wonderful tribute to John and greatly appreciated by the family.

There are so many others to thank and I’m sure I’ll miss some. But thanks of course to our Chaplain, Fr. John Greene (and especially his humor). Thanks also to the SFFD Administration, the SFPD for traffic control, the SFFD Honor Guard, Tony Smerdel, Jen Harrison, et al. For those I missed—Thanks!!

2005 was a tough year for the SFFD family. However, department members consistently supported and assisted the families of deceased members in 2005 as in every previous year. To all the newer members of the SFFD — KEEP UP THE TRADITION!!

Retirement Seminar

A Retirement Seminar for active members will be held April 26 & 27 at the Stern Grove clubhouse. A General Order with all the information will be issued shortly. The seminar professionals will direct information to both members of Tier 1 and Tier 2 retirements. Topics include medical benefits, long-term health care, deferred compensation, trusts and retirement benefits among others.

It is important that Tier 2 members realize there are some differences from the Tier 1 retirement. These differences include final compensation factors, cost-of-living increases and survivor benefits. Members from both tiers should attend and be informed attending and prepare yourself for a successful retirement.

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