President’s Message – June 2019

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Happy Father’s Day to all of you LAFD Dads. Special thoughts go out to my father, who was the man I looked up to and who paved the way for my life.

My apologies if I’m a little late on this next very important issue. May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and I want to remind you that there are a variety of resources available to help first responders cope with the stresses of the profession. While the Department, UFLAC, and LAFRA all have existing assistance programs, it is vital that each and every one of us look out for signs of stress in our fellow firefighters. In the last five years, there have been more firefighter suicides than fireground related deaths. Be proactive, show compassion—not judgmental, and realize that you can make a difference.

In this issue of the Grapevine, we have the full story from this year’s Lane Kemper Classic Softball Tournament. It was one of our best turnouts ever with 32 firehouse teams participating. Congratulations to the team from Fire Station 2 who beat out the crazy dogs from 98’s to take the championship. And many thanks to Keith Bandy and his huge team of volunteers who worked so hard putting the event together.

We also had a great turnout at the LAFRA Firefighter’s Reunion at Pechanga last month. It was great to see so many active and retired members reconnecting with old friends and sharing some camaraderie. A big shout out to Doak Smith, Tim Larson, Steve Domanski, and Juan Albarran for doing all the heavy lifting.

Attention Active Members – Last month I lambasted the retirees for using the LAFRA Medical Plan for their IOD injuries and illnesses. Well, the same goes for all of you – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, unless you have spoken with this office or coordinated with our Work Comp specialist Wayne Sherman, don’t use the PPO Medical Plan for IOD cases. The Trustees and staff work hard to keep the Medical Plan’s cost low for everyone. These misappropriations of funds only hurt you – and all of us – in the long run. If you are in doubt on how to handle a particular claim, please call us beforehand so we can help. If you are being represented by an attorney, please make sure the attorney contacts our office so we may put the appropriate language in your settlement to reimburse LAFRA. If you are Pro Per (doing it yourself), you must notify us so we can send the request to the City to reimburse the plan.

Although we finally negotiated a five-year contract with the Pension Board for our medical plans last year, we are now required to prove the “suitability” of our plans on an annual basis. I am happy to report that, at their May 18th meeting, the LAFPP Board voted to approve both our PPO and Kaiser plans for the next year. They also voted a 5.5% increase in the subsidy for our non-Medicare retirees.

We have two important events coming in the first weeks of this month. First is Hope for Firefighters on Thursday, June 6th. This really is a world class food festival on the streets of DTLA that you should not miss. This year, a couple of the stations have reached out to their local communities and we are expecting a couple of surprise celebrity appearances. And then on Saturday, June 8th the Fire Hogs are hosting the annual Fallen Heroes Memorial in honor of our fallen firefighters. Join the procession from the LAFD Memorial Plaza at old Fire Station 27 as it winds its way out to the Sagebrush Cantina.

SAVE THE DATES
• Hope for Firefighters – June 6
• 21st Annual Fallen Heroes Memorial Run – June 8
• IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Sept 21
• LAFD Invitational Golf Tournament – Sept 23
• California Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Sept 28
• LAFD Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Oct 12

Be safe and be kind to each other.

Robert D. “SteinTalker” Steinbacher
president@lafra.org
323.259.5200

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