RETIREE & DAY PERSONEL LUNCH AT STATIONS
To continue enhancing relationships with individuals who have retired and those currently in fire service. With continued involvement, support and comradery, our retirees and personnel will reinforce key aspects of the Fire Service – relationships, loyalty, honor, communication, and engagement.
Breaking bread is one way to facilitate our aim. So, the Riverside Fire Department and Fire Fighters have recommended a lunch day at the fire stations three times a year (one per shift) for our retirees and day personnel.
There was a profound and impactful response to a message sent out last year to help a retired captain move into an apartment in 14’s area. He and his wife moved back to Riverside to be closer to family since they had both recently experienced some health problems. It took less than 40 minutes to move them into their apartment with all the folks who showed up. He and his family were deeply appreciative, and felt connected once again to his Fire Fighter Family. He was also relieved to meet some of Station 14’s crew who would respond to their new address. In addition to continuing the support for our retirees, the new firefighters would get a chance to learn and hear some of the legacies that resound at RFD and perhaps meet mentors. At various RFD events the number of retirees who participate increases (e.g., for the legacy photos), thus showing a vibrant interest, loyalty, and pride in the Department.
There are so many support staff that RFD work with that it is our intent to include them as well in these lunches – as without them, we could not do our jobs well. For instance, many of us do not know the new inspectors or even other inspectors if not assigned to our station. We also do not get a chance to see the shop guys or dispatch personnel unless a problem arises. It would be positive to have more contact with them on a more social level and not just when we have a work related issue.
Having these lunches will likely help to reinforce meaningful relationships, honor the retirees, and bridge the gap with staff who may not be on the front line, but are apart of the team.
All retirees, all day staff including administration, prevention, training, EOC personnel, USAR, dispatch, fire maintenance, and RFD chaplains. Also to make sure some special invites go out: widowers and children (i.e., Terans, Botkins, Barrios’, fire buff Jim, etc.). Ultimately, the Chief may also choose to invite other city individuals (e.g., council members, RPD, etc.). All would be welcome.
Dates & times:
Every four months; February, June, and October would be the most appropriate months. The lunches would be held on alternating shifts, giving each shift the opportunity to host a lunch once a year. Time would be from 12:00 to 1:30 lunch and 1:30 to 2:00 clean up. As the coordinator, I would like to include in the announcement a note to respect the 2:00 pm finish time so it will not impact other trainings and routines.
What to serve:
Each station could determine the menu. Some easy lunch suggestions to serve guests for a low cost would be: sandwich & chips; chili & corn bread; grilled cheese & soup; ground beef burritos; and of course spaghetti. Dessert could be optional such as cookies.
It could be a flat fee of $5.00 for anyone who wanted to participate. This would include the on duty staff providing the lunch and anyone who would come to join in. This would be included in the announcement. We could also possibly ask for a minimal amount from the union to help offset any cost. If we asked for the union to cover perhaps $2.00 per on duty person at each station, the small amount of $142.00 would go a long way for moral. Any money left over could be held in a separate fund to help front the money or subsidize the cost for the next lunch.
Most of this could be done by e-mails and or a blog on the RFD website. A volunteer and participant sign up list would be developed and placed in each station for our guests (retirees) to call and ask that they be placed on the sign-up sheet. A deadline to sign-up will be included in all promotional materials. This would allow for an accurate count for food. A flier would be developed to send out to all retirees, RFD members, and any other invitees. Included on the flier would be the details of the lunch: date, time, cost, station numbers to call for sign up, and any other needed details.
If the request for this activity is approved, I will put the plan in motion and work to have the first lunch in June (ensuring a good day in June is identified, I will check the training schedule for a good day). This would include developing the announcement and sign-up sheet and requesting the donation from the union.Once these are all together, an email can be sent to all RFD with the details, flier and sign-up sheet attached. When all the questions and details are ironed out, I would ask Dave Austin to send out a “Save the Date” flier to the retiree mailing list. Closer to the lunch day, I would have him send another flier out requesting them to call the station they wish to attend and ask that their name be placed on the sign up list by the deadline date. Finally, I would ask for volunteers from B and C shifts to be a contact person for any details that may need to be addressed in the event that I am not available.
These lunches are projected to reinforce positive relationships, loyalty, recognize and build honor, enhance communication, and stimulate engagement of those in the dedicated and robust RFD Family and community.