Secretary John Kelly Address, Sustainability Roundtable Highlight NVFC Spring Board Meeting

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) held a packed board meeting April 6-8, 2017. The meeting brought together representatives from the NVFC’s 49 state fire association members. Each association can have up to two directors on the NVFC board.

The board meeting featured Council business as well as special events, including a keynote speech by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John F. Kelly, a roundtable on fire department sustainability, Officer and Executive Committee elections, and a banquet to honor the recipients of the NVFC’s annual achievement awards.

Below are the highlights from the NVFC spring 2017 meeting.

                                                                      2017 NVFC Board of Directors

Council Business

The NVFC brings its board together twice a year to conduct Council business. At this meeting, board members attended committee meetings on topics ranging from hazmat response, to health and safety, to recruitment and retention, to legislation, and much more. The NVFC Foundation and the EMS/Rescue Section also met.

The NVFC welcomed five new board members. Over a dozen committees met,
including the Recruitment and Retention Committee.

The full board addressed matters of interest to the Council and the volunteer fire and emergency services on the national level.  Actions taken included the following:

  • The board adopted a Diabetes Position Statement that states the NVFC supports and advocates for the education and prevention of diabetes and implementation of approaches to actively cope with the diagnosis for all firefighters and their families. Read full position document.
  • The board approved an expanded physicals statement that outlines options departments can consider when developing a firefighter medical assessment program. The board had previously adopted a position that supports annual medical assessments for all firefighters. Read full document.
  • The Health, Safety, and Training Committee created an officer training task force to develop training specific to junior/mid-level officers.
  • The board voted to support NHTSA rulemaking action regarding vehicle-to-vehicle technology. Read NVFC letter of support to NHTSA.
  • The Legislative Committee added AFG/SAFER Reauthorization and the LOSAP CAP Act to the NVFC’s legislative priorities. View all of the NVFC’s legislative priorities.
General Session

Special Sessions

DHS Secretary Kelly provided the keynote address to the board during the Chairman’s Lunch. He commended the service and commitment of the nation’s volunteer responders, emphasized the critical role of the fire service in homeland security, and vowed to argue for important fire service programs including the Assistance to Firefighters Grant and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant programs, which need reauthorization to continue. He also spoke about the importance of communities coming together to help one another, and recounted his own personal experience growing up in a neighborhood in Boston, MA, where families and friends would routinely provide aid to people who were in need. After his remarks, the Secretary took questions from NVFC board members.

DHS Secretary John Kelly gave the keynote address at the NVFC meeting. (DHS photos/Jetta Disco)

Additional speakers included Allison Moore, NVFC Program Manager, who provided an update on the NVFC’s Make Me A Firefighter recruitment campaign, and Nancy Green of Vetted Solutions, who presented a session on board leadership.

A roundtable was held on fire department sustainability. Moderated by Dr. Candice McDonald, Firefighter/Public Information Officer of the Sebring (OH) Fire Department, the panel included Matt Aalto, Retention and Recruitment Coordinator for Gaston (OR) Fire District, Brian Foley of the Princeton (NJ) Junction Fire Department, Joe Maruca, Fire Chief of the West Barnstable (MA) Fire Department, and Tiger Schmittendorf, Chief Recruiter of Erie County (NY) Emergency Services. Learn more.

Roundtable on Fire Department Sustainability. L-R: Dr. Candice McDonald, Chief Joe Maruca, Brian Foley, Matt Aalto, and Tiger Schmittendorf

Awards Banquet

A banquet was held on the evening of April 7 to honor the recipients of the NVFC’s annual achievement awards. This year’s winners were as follows:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Rosenbauer America): Chief Freddy Johnson Sr. of the Stoney Point Volunteer Fire Department in Fayetteville, NC
  • Fire Prevention and Education Award (sponsored by Nest): William Wren of the New Hartford (NY) Fire Department
  • Junior Firefighter of the Year (sponsored by California Casualty): Parker Ketler of the Sebring (OH) Fire Department

Learn more.

NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn (right) with NVFC 2017 Award winners (l-r) Chief Freddy Johnson Sr., William Wren, and Parker Ketler.

Leadership Elections

The NVFC holds Officer and Executive Committee elections every two years. Board leadership consists of an elected Chair, First Vice Chair, Second Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and five Executive Committee members. Also on the Executive Committee are the chair of the Legislative Committee, President of the NVFC Foundation, and Chair of the EMS/Rescue Section.

The 2017-19 NVFC Officers and Executive Committee are as follows:

Chair: Kevin D. Quinn (RI)
1st Vice Chair: Steve Hirsch (KS)
2nd Vice Chair: Dallas Renfrew (TX)
Secretary/Treasurer: Allen Metheny (DE)
Executive Committee: Juan Bonilla (ID) – Chair of the EMS/Rescue Section; Richard Brown (CA); Jeff Cash (NC); Bob Kilpeck (VT) – President of the NVFC Foundation; Brian McQueen (NY); T.J. Nedrow (WA) – Chair of the Legislative Committee; Bill Offerman (IL); and Bob Timko (PA)

NVFC 2017 Leadership (L-R): Kevin D. Quinn, Dallas Renfrew, Allen Metheny, Bill Offerman, Dick Brown, Bob Timko, Brian McQueen, and Jeff Cash. Not pictured: Juan Bonilla, Steve Hirsch, Bob Kilpeck, and T.J. Nedrow

Next Meeting

The NVFC thanks the board for a successful 2017 spring meeting. The next meeting will take place September 27-29 in Kearney, NE.

Meeting Sponsors

The NVFC thanks all of the supporters of the 2017 spring meeting: American Addiction Centers, California Casualty, Columbia University, ESIP, Fire Department Coffee, Nest, National Fire Protection Association, the Pennsylvania Fireman, PennWell Fire Group, Provident, Rescue Wipes, and Rosenbauer America.