Some of you will never know the potential of your one voice. Collectively we are one strong Union. From the IAFF down to the 4th district, to the VPFF, to the Local 1132. Until you realize the strength of your one voice, you will remain a naysayer. Many of you will be perfectly content with this status. Others of you will realize that all these years we have been trying to ignite that fire within you. But that will never be enough. If you think that Roanoke Firefighters have ever received anything for free you need to think again. Historically, there have been a small group of firefighters behind each huge step we have taken. Do you think we added a third platoon changing the working week from 64+ hours to 56 hours because City Council thought of it? No, there was a group of firefighters who had the support of the entire Local to formulate the plan and excecute it.
What will it take to get you involved? If you are a citizen then you are probably ready to stand behind your firefighters. You are just waiting to hear the call for help.
If you are a Roanoke Firefighter, you are either waiting for it to get so bad that you will have no other choice. Otherwise you are one of those who will never stand up for yourself. You know the ones I am talking about.
If the Chief is not told something is wrong, how is he supposed to know? Well this is a good question. Some of the issues you might ask yourself "How would he not know that is going on"? Unless you speak up, he will think everything is fine. Especially when you guys are so quick to bring him his tenth cup of coffee in a row.
I heard the International Association of Fire Chiefs President and the Canadian International Association of Fire Chiefs President speak today. Trust me, if the ideals and unity which both of these leaders propose between the IAFC and IAFF existed in Roanoke we would not have any issues. I was astonished by the speech that the IAFC President, Chief Bill Killen gave. Apparently the ideals of the IAFC are lost in translation in Roanoke.
What is the problem? Maybe the years of worrying about getting to the top, and never officially speaking of the problems we face with the Chief are the problem.
Trust me, I know all of our Senior Staff. I can tell you this, all of them know how to pour a cup of coffee. Next time they show up, instead of running down your co-workers to be the first one to the Chief with a cup of coffee why not pull up a chair and talk about the hard issues. Why not ask him about our pay and benefits. Why not ask him about the IAFC's ideals and the fact that every day the IAFF and IAFC become more unified.