This month's column by IFA officer Bill Halleran
NOTE: In the June issue of the Iowa Firefighter, part of this column was inadvertantly left off. The column appears in its entirety here.
The 3rd Annual Chili Cook-off was held this year in March at the state capital. With busy schedules all around there were seven teams competing this year for the coveted chili cook-off trophy. I had the tasty job of head judge, since I was in charge this year. Thanks go out to Chief Jerry Whetstone, Henry Westhoff, Arden Kopischke and Libby Crimmings who assisted me on this tough assignment to find the best chili. The winners were 1st- Des Moines Fire, 2nd- Cedar Rapids Fire and 3rd place- Atlantic Fire, who all received very nice trophies. I would like to thank Engle Engraving for the donation of the trophies, it was very considerate of them and they looked great! Capital employees, volunteers, competitors and legislators enjoyed the event immensely. Now is the time to perfect your recipe – we are looking forward to an even bigger, better event next year.
Mid-Year in Dubuque was an enjoyable experience. The governing board met on Friday afternoon to discuss multiple topics and wound down the evening with a nice meal attended by friends, family and the entire board at a local restaurant. Saturday the board meeting started at 10 am and went well into the afternoon with good board and member participation. There was a nice head count and it was great to have a crowd. Saturday evening prior to the banquet, there was a past Presidents’ hospitality party which is always inspiring to me. The years of service that these past Presidents have investing in this governing board, their respective communities and the firefighters of the state is simply amazing.
The banquet on Saturday night was hosted by President Al Esch and was filled with stories, drinks, laughter and firefighter stories. It is always a pleasure to be surrounded by good people, good friends and good company. Great job Al!
Sigourney Fire/Rescue hosted the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade IFA poster contest winners on 4/3/14. This year the theme was kitchen fires with a lot of very creative posters. I was assisted by State Fire Marshall Jeff Quigle and Agent Kyle Gorsch along with President Al Eash in handing out awards to this year’s winners. It was a great day presenting these awards to some very talented young artists.
Reminder that June 7th at 11 am, we will be in Robins for an IFA Board meeting. Then we will head to Coralville to the Firefighter memorial wall for a candlelight service at dusk . On June 8th at 10:30 a.m. we will be holding the 20th Annual Firefighter Memorial Service at the wall. I encourage everyone to attend as it is always a very moving ceremony and is a true tribute to our fallen brothers and sisters.
We are looking for volunteers to help out at the Hall of Flame at the Iowa State Fair. The fair begins on Aug. 7th and runs through the 17th. Please get in touch with any board member to sign up or if you have any questions.
Earlier this year two board members attended a summit meeting where California Casualty did a presentation on their insurance offerings. There was a lot of discussion, investigation and due diligence on the company, rates and customer satisfaction at the board level on their program and ultimately we decided this would be a beneficial perk for our members. Since that time we have received some negative feedback that there are enough insurance agents within the state and that we do not need California Casualty. Yes, there are indeed many insurance agents in the state but California Casualty only offers coverage to teachers, nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel. There is an agent located in Omaha.
IFA offers credit cards that are issued through ATIRA in Des Moines and is actually affiliated with Credit Unions. Many involved in community banking have strong feelings about credit unions versus banks, but no objections were heard. IFA also partnered with American Income Life Insurance Company which provides a NO COST accidental death and dismemberment program which features a health services discount car and child safe kits.
While researching this we found many other large association groups like IFA within the state that offer similar benefits, for example:
· Knights of Columbus - offers insurance with agents and locations in Iowa in West Des Moines, Urbandale, Washington, Williamsburg, Muscatine, Oskaloosa, St. Charles and Clive.
· Ike’s of Iowa – offers members group life insurance, car rentals, etc.
· Thrivent Lutherans – a member owned, not for profit financial cooperative which offers financial strategies and retirement plans.
· State bid purchases – many fire departments, law enforcement and EMS agencies take advantage of state bid pricing instead of purchasing through a local car dealership, even though many members may be employed at the dealership.
As illustrated in the above examples, we are offering another choice. This choice may not be for everyone and we do not push people into this coverage, it is just a potential cost savings measure that some may be looking for. We fully support our local businesses and did not intend to ruffle feathers, merely to offer more tools for your tool box.
Stay safe out there – have a great summer!
Bill Halleran, IFA 3rd Vice-President