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F.O.O.L.S. International Newsletter - 11/27/17
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By Webmaster
December 28, 2020

Hello my fellow brother and sisters from:
F.O.O.L.S International.
President Rich Stack.

I hope everyone has had a great 2017, it is hard to believe that this year is almost over. This was another great and busy year for F.O.O.L.S. International. The International E-board attended the 2nd Annual Rosecrance Symposium in Rosemont IL. in Sept. Mental health and wellness is very important to this E-board and we all learned a lot from this symposium just as we did last year. Our goal is to provide information and resources to all of our membership. So that every fire fighter knows that they are not alone and where they can get help.
This year at the 2nd Annual Rosecrance Symposium, we asked Father Jim Swarthout to be the Chaplin for F.O.O.L.S. International. Father Jim was honored and looks forward to meeting everyone at FDIC this year at the bash and at the Convention in Seattle.
The Rev. James E. Swarthout is the Director of Clergy and Alumni Relations at Rosecrance. In addition to his longtime experience as an Episcopal priest for the Diocese of Chicago, Swarthout has professional credentials in social work and addictions counseling. Swarthout has over 30 years of recovery work as a priest with addiction and mental health support. Swarthout’s résumé of community service is lengthy.

Indy Metro F.O.O.L.S. hosted the brother bash at FDIC this past year and did another great job we look forward see you at the 2018 brotherhood bash at FDIC. This year’s convention will be in Seattle from Sept. 5th to the 8th hosted by the Puget Sound F.O.O.L.S. We look forward to seeing everyone there. The last convention they hosted was awesome and I am sure this one will be even better.
We are in the process of interviewing two members for the vice president’s position. Once the interviews are done we will announce in December who the vice president will be.
In December we will be having another round of president meetings via Skype. The tentative dates are Dec. 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th but we will be contacting chapters to set up dates and times.
Thanks for everything you and your chapters are doing for each other and for the communities you serve. What makes F.O.O.L.S. International great is you, our membership!!! We are always here if you need us please feel free to reach out to us anytime.
Fraternally,
Rich Stack
President F.O.O.L.S. International

Hello from Vice President Bob Faas
1) It’s been a very busy and successful year for the F.O.O.L.S. the E - Board has reworked and fine-tuned the Articles of Association thank you in big part to Ben and Chris for their continued hard work.
2) We had yet another successful Convention in Texas, thank you to Rob Mitchell and all of those that stepped up and helped out.
3) Rob Fisher has successfully completed his leadership academy and a congratulations to him on that accomplishment.
As you all can see on top of our duties as an E- Board we are very active and busy in our lives outside of the F.O.O.L.S. and it is activities and actions like these that keep our organization at the forefront of the fire service. These above a few of the many accomplishments across the board of the members of the F.O.O.L.S. Congratulations to each and every one of you that continue to make a difference on a day to day basis, in your family, circle of friends, departments in your chapters and communities. It truly is people like you that makes the fire service great.
Thank you,
Bob Faas
Vice President
F.O.O.L.S. International

F.O.O.L.S. International Secretary’s Report Ben Feagle
2017 has been a busy year.
E-Application
We have completely adopted the electronic application to our membership process. If you’d like to use it in your chapter, a Chapter E-Board member may request it. Just let Chris or I know and we’ll send you an electronic copy. If you’d like it personalized for your chapter, include a digital copy of your chapter logo and we can fix that up for you. It really helps limit the errors in completing the application process. Your efforts throughout the chapter’s to increase application accuracy are greatly appreciated.
New chapters continue to form both here, in Canada and there is renewed interest in Europe. Vancouver B.C. is forming up a chapter as we speak!
American Income Life Insurance
This year’s A & D Benefit Card mailing was more successful than last years with an improved system for finding forwarded addresses. It is still a process that hits only about 90% of our membership. IF YOU CHANGE NAME, ADDRESS or even department, please keep us updated through your chapter E-Board membership roster. It’s important that the International data base has the correct information so that you have the opportunity to provide the insurance benefit to your family should it be needed.
It’s important that chapter presidents communicate the value of the A & D Benefit. It is not a hoax, although some members of recently been quoted stating that. AIL is a legitimate company, and although they want your business, you ARE NOT required to talk with them. If you are contacted and do not wish to be, get an agent name and number and report it to your chapter or directly to me at secretary@foolsinternational.com Our relationship with AIL is important and we would appreciate your support in this. They have helped us many times in recent years, providing much needed funds when our member’s families needed help.
You are all very patient with me as I work at membership in my off-duty time, balancing final months of a college degree, full-time on the job and a family that deserves my attention. I really appreciate it and have enjoyed serving all of you over the past few years. Here’s to a few more.
Leather Forever!
Ben Fleagle
Secretary, F.O.O.L.S. International

Hello from Treasurer Chris Bednarek
I am happy to report that everything from a financial point of view is looking good. The biggest thing on the horizon right now is the collection of the 2018 annual chapter dues. We currently have approximately 170 active chapters, representing nearly 7000 members. This is the time to make sure your chapter’s executive board contact information is current with the International.
If you haven’t checked out the Articles of Association in a while, here’s how the dues process works. Each chapter’s annual dues are based off their membership shown on the International’s roster, as of October 31, 2017.
Membership Annual Dues
5-50 $50.00
51-100 $100.00
101-200 $200.00
201+ $300.00
The plan is for PayPal invoices to start going out the first week of November to all of the members of each chapter’s executive board. The goal is for the invoice to reach at least one member who is responsible for paying the chapter’s dues.
If your chapter doesn’t receive an invoice by mid-November, it either means we do not have accurate contact information OR your chapter is delinquent in the 2016 and 2017 annual chapter dues. If the latter is the case, and you wish to have your chapter reinstated to active status; your chapter will be required to begin the new chapter application process. Chapter applications can be found on the International’s web site. The completed application can be emailed or snail-mailed to the International’s PO Box in Flossmoor, Illinois. All applicable new chapter fees apply, and can be paid via check or PayPal invoicing.
Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to serve as the International Treasurer for another year. We hope to have more great things in store for you next year as our amazing organization grows and develops.
Here’s to an awesome 2018.
Happy Holidays!
Chris Bednarek

Hello from Educational Trustee Robbie Fisher
I hope this message finds everyone well, energized, and grateful. This past year has been a good year for training and education. Here are a few things we have been doing in 2017.

Fire Engineering Blog-Talk Radio continues to be a success for our organization. At the start of 2017, we moved from Friday to Monday nights. Since the beginning of the year we have produced six shows. The current data indicates that most of our audience downloads the show rather than listen in live. This is really no big deal. Blog-Talk allows for archiving. Our numbers continue to be over 1,000 downloads for each of our shows, with our recent 9/11 episode hitting a high of 1,736 downloads. Thank you for connecting with us every other month. And, thank you to Penn Well, Fire Engineering and Bobby Halton for giving us the opportunity to have a show. Our last show for 2017 will be on December 18th. Colleen Murphy will be my guest. She spoke at the 2nd Annual Rosecrance Symposium and will be talking about first responder stress and how it impacts the family. Please invite your spouse, partner, family and close friends to listen in (live or download). She will be speaking primarily to them.

Training…FOOLS love to train. This past year, I have had the opportunity to travel all around the country to several conferences, seminars, and symposiums. There has yet to be a time that I have not run into a group of FOOLS. It’s great to see everyone and to share in some fellowship. I know our members are training; however, a 2017 audit of After Action Reports shows less than 10% of our chapters are actually conducting training. Now…I surf the Internet and all the social media sites like most of you. I know there is way more training going on than what is being reported to us on the E-board. Please let us know what your chapter is doing by completing an After Action Report. Reminder…your E-board uses the After Action Reports to help select the Chris Blackwell and John Mickel awards each year. If you are not sure where to find these reports, go to the International’s website and under the Training tab you’ll find After Action Reports. It’s a simple, quick online form you fill out right on the website. When you hit the submit button, it is emailed directly to me.

As always, if you have any questions or want to talk training…feel free to reach out to me.
Fraternally,
Robbie Fisher

Greetings from the Ol Interweb,
Hope everyone had a GREAT Summer. WOW 2017 almost over, the convention is over and I am finally getting caught up on Honey-dos and back to the training academy at my department. I see that there are chapters out there doing some great things, chapter events, Benefits, Training. WHICH IS AWESOME. What I need from those chapters is for them to email myself for any event they have going on as well as myself and Robbie Fisher for training events, you can email me at webmaster@foolsinternational.com and Robbie at education@foolsinternational.com WHY well for a few reasons #1 so we can help make your event a success, #2 when it comes time for the Annual awards we have a list of who did what when and where.
Glad to see that we have new chapters starting up and old ones getting back in the game. I sent out a message a few weeks ago about the Locate a Chapter mapping issues. I have gotten it fixed and will be updating soon. The cool thing about the F.O.O.L.S. is we are spread all over this great rock and some of us only get to see each other a few times a year. We see each other at training events or benefits or social events. SO I am challenging you all to take pictures. Take pictures of you hanging out with your Brothers and Sisters, take pictures of training events, benefits. Take pictures of your chapter meetings. Then send me a few of them so we can throw them up on the Interweb.
Stay tuned to our website as well as our social media pages Facebook (@foolsinternational), Twitter (twitter handle @FOOLS_Intl) and Instagram (@f.o.o.l.s. International.com). Also if you have not been to our YouTube page check it out. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi9yx4IHAcAxlngTCL50BqQ
Fraternally yours,
Texas Rob

Hello Fools members, just a few words from merchandise.
If you haven’t seen them, we have a new tee shirt design and a new coin design.
This is a nice gift for Christmas. All available on the international site. Order turn-around time is about a day or two. So orders will be to you in time for Christmas. I will also have all merchandise at FDIC in April.
Hope to see all soon,
Lee Hudson

Happy Thanksgiving from F.O.O.L.S. International and the Founders.

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