Dean Shelton, WSCFF Vice President and 8th District Representative
The WSCFF 8th District has been extremely busy since our WSCFF Convention in June. Taking part in person at the IAFF Convention in Ottawa, IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, IAFF 7th District PEP event in Boise, and the WSCFF 6th and 8th District Mini Educational Seminar kept us all on the go as we move past the pandemic and return to normalcy.
As I reflect on the past few years, I recognize how much the strain of COVID-19 placed on even the strongest of us. Moving back to working “in person” is a welcomed relief that I am embracing.
I recently reviewed the mission statement of the WSCFF and reflected on what makes me excited to be part of such an amazing organization and union. “It is the mission of the WSCFF to enhance the lives of union fire and EMS personnel through leadership, education and political action.” During the pandemic, some parts of our mission were hard to deliver on. But the fact is that despite the obstacles that were thrown in our way, this organization continued to do amazing work for all our members.
The pandemic challenged the leadership of this organization more than anything in our history. Regardless of the hurdles the pandemic raised, our work continued. In fact, the WSCFF took on challenges, including a revamp of the organizational structure, the development of a new Retirees Association, and the toll of the vaccine mandates. The mission of this union has always been to put its members first. This leadership team sees the big picture and the needs of the members and delivers every day.
Education is one area that the organization had to pivot over the last two years, and still delivered high-quality programs to our members. The IAFF 7th District New Firefighters Conference and PEP, IAFF-WSCFF Jointly Sponsored Educational Seminar, and WSCFF District Mini Education Seminars are just some examples of our innovative programs. Whether virtually or in person, we met and created content to better serve our membership. Continuing and expanding our educational curricula is crucial to our future—we are seeing record numbers of new hires and participation in local leadership. The strength of any union is its members, and turnover will always be an issue we must address.
Political Actioncan be summed up with two words: pension enhancement. The legislative team achieved a 20-plus year goal of pension enhancement in 2022, despite it being a virtual legislative session without the ability to meet in person and lobby in person in Olympia. To say the “stars were aligned” would be inaccurate—this achievement is the result of decades of effort and the talent of the WSCFF Legislative Team.
Your Executive Board is firing on all cylinders to ensure our members are educated, prepared, and protected. Our mission statement will continue to drive us to serve you all to the best of our ability. The WSCFF is as strong as it has ever been, and for that I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you all.