Brothers and Sisters,
I hope everyone had a safe and family filled 4th of July holiday. I have just made my way back in from the Destin fireworks and it was great to see so many celebrating our country and hopefully in support of our military brothers and sisters fighting overseas or stationed far from home.
I have a few things I want to share with everyone. First, the Children's Burn Camp (Camp Amigo) will be going on the week of July 14th. On the 16th, the campers will be going to Shipwreck Island Waterpark in Panama City Beach. They will be having lunch at the park at about 10:30 am at the park behind Gulf Coast Community College, and then to the waterpark. Afterward, they will be going to Panama City Central Station for dinner. I would like to see if there are those who would like to make a day trip to the waterpark (by motorcycle or car). If there are those who are dedicated to go, please let me know as soon as possible so I can let Rusty Roberts know how many will be attending. Once I have an idea of how many will be going, I will set up a meeting place and time so we can caravan over.
Second, there are many political races out there that we are involved in or should be involved in. If your local has endorced a candidate for fire board, county or city commissioner, or state legislator, please get with me so we can make a PAC contribution to your candidate. I will need the name, address of record, party affilitation, what they are running for, and if you have made a contribution from your own local. Please email or call ASAP so we can get those letters and checks out to the candidates Be involved and hopefully those we help get elected will help us.
Third, there will be a meeting in the Orlando area ( the Sheraton in Maitland) where we will discuss alternative ways to fund Fire Services. The FPF has sent out the meeting notice and I would encourage everyone who can go to please attend and be ready to debate and have input into what can be done to find new sources of revenue to run our departments. The meeting will be held on July 30th starting at 0900 and last until 1700 that afternoon. Please, if possible, plan to attend. If you can't, then send me your ideas for alternative funding and I will present them at the meeting.
Next, I want to try and get the Boat of Heros here in the Panhandle the week of August 4th. I hope to have it at the local Hooters restaurants in Pensacola, Crestview, Destin, and Tallahassee. I will get the details in order and update you as soon as I get them finalized.
We have been busy trying to orgainize two departments in the Panhandle. Bay County and Holley/Navarre are two departments that have shown interest. We have had meetings with both and are continuing our efforts. Midway firefighters are ready to begin their first contract negotiations. Our brothers in Quincy are fighting to keep members from being laid off. We need to give support to all of these locals and orgainzational efforts.
There is a plan to travel to Clearwater and participate in a boot drive in August. The city has threatened to arrest anyone who collects on the street. If you recall, we were successful in passing a law that allows collections on the streets. If the city wants to try and arrest firefighters for collecting for MDA, then I guess I will be in cuffs. I will update everyone on when this will take place soon.
Finally, on a personal note. I have been having some issues with huge spikes with my blood pressure. After some test, there is a possibility I may have a tumor on one or both of my adrenial glands. I will have another CT scan next week to pinpoint the location and size of the suspected tumor(s). If they find them, they will then have to be surgically removed. Good news is that 90% of these tumors are benign and not cancerous. I will have a much better idea of what is going on when these additional test are complete. This may put me out of work anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months.
If you have any needs or questions, please give me a call or an email.
Be safe brothers and sisters!