Welcome to the AFFI Honor Guard
Providing honorable services for fallen AFFI members.
Honor Guard Oath
Written by Thomas J. Matousek Jr. Forest Park Local #2753
TO HONOR, TO CHERISH, TO REMEMBER, TO SALUTE, WITH OVERWHELMING PRIDE FOR YOU, MY COMRADE I WILL.
Here's what's new:
you to all who attended the AFFI Honor Guard Convention in
Collinsville, IL. Hopefully, you all have safe travels home. Hope to see you all
Watch for events.
Click HERE to view our upcoming events for the year.Commanders Meeting AFFI Office May 11, 2015 10:00
IL Fallen FF Memorial, Springfield May 12, 2015. Lineup 08:30
IAFF Fallen FF Memorial, CO, Sept. 17-19, 2015
24th Annual AFFI HG Convention St. Charles, January 15-17, 2016
The Mission of the AFFI Honor Guard shall be to Promote the Associated Firefighters of Illinois, the Locals therein, and the fire service as a whole, to the public, in a positive and proper fashion. To Provide, as a line of duty death benefit, dignified, honorable services for fallen AFFI members, their surviving family members, and union brothers and sisters through organization of and participation in funeral and memorial services.
AFFI Honor Guard Oath: The AFFI Honor Guard Oath was written by former State Commander Thomas J. Matousek Jr., a retired member of Forest Park Local #2753. He was asked by the Honor Guards first State Commander Jay Bishop of Springfield Local #37 to come up with an Oath for the Honor Guard. The Oath is memorized by each and every Honor Guard Member who swears to uphold the traditions which are exemplified by the words written in this oath.
TO HONOR, TO CHERISH, TO REMEMBER, TO SALUTE, WITH OVERWHELMING PRIDE FOR YOU, MY COMRADE I WILL: These are the words that help guide each Member of the AFFI Honor Guard as they train, teach, and finally assist in services for our fallen Comrades.
2015 AFFI Honor Guard Convention Recap
On January 23rd- 25th, AFFI members gathered at the Double Tree Hotel & Gateway Conference Center in Collinsville for the 23rd Annual AFFI Honor Guard Convention & Induction Ceremony. AFFI HG District 1, Alton L-1255, Belleville L-53, Carbondale L-1961, Collinsville L-2625, East St. Louis L-23, Edwardsville L-1700, Granite City L-253, Metropolis L-3367 and Murphysboro L-3042 hosted this year’s event. Our sincere thanks and appreciation goes out to Convention Chairman David Zahn, Convention Members and volunteers for all their time and planning to host a great event. We had 46 new inductee’s take the oath to Honor, Cherish, Remember and to do “Whatever It Takes” in front of close to 500 guests.
This years Honored Guest was SFC. Jared Bullock, U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group (SFG). Jared addressed the guests of his story while he and his team were on routine patrol in Afghanistan, when they encountered an IED. The blast left Jared and one team member severely injured and killed the third. His story of personal triumph is truly heroic. His will to succeed and determination to persevere is remarkable. Jared spoke of being in the military & firefighters are similar in ways of the teamwork, brotherhood and never giving up. Jared is a constant inspiration to military families going through challenges in their lives. Recently, Jared became the VP of Operations for Operation Enduring Warrior. We extend our best wishes to him in this position and know he will do it with honor & pride. His wife, Jesica and son Aiden joined Jared.
Once again we had the distinct privilege of Chris Heisler & the US Honor Flag present for the entire convention. Chris provided a short presentation of the history and travel destinations of the Honor Flag. I cannot tell you how proud we are as an Honor Guard to be blessed with having a piece of history play a part in our convention. Our deepest gratitude goes out to Chris for his dedication & devotion to ensure the Honor Flag is present for families of fallen heroes. We would like to also extend a special thanks to past Northern Deputy State Commander Joe Baumgartner, Bolingbrook L-3005 for assisting in getting the Honor Flag to our convention. Joe now assists Chris in the US Honor Flag Network.
As a tradition in honoring our fallen Brothers & Sisters from the previous year, a black ribbon was tied into the Honor Guard flag in memory of Michael W. Wurtz, Woodstock L-4813, Nicholas R. Whitfield, Jr, Normal L-2442, Lt. Herbert Milnes, Jr, Northlake L- 3863 who lost their lives in 2014. May their memory live on forever in our hearts. A gold ribbon was tied honoring all IAFF members who died in the line of duty.
In 2013, the Honor Guard created a new award, the AFFI Honor Guard Commitment To Excellence Award for commitment & dedication above and beyond. An individual who lives the motto “Whatever It Takes” and realizes the purpose of the Honor Guard is bigger than any one individual. An individual that embodies the selfless spirit of the Honor Guard Family. That award was presented to Dist. 7 Commander Daniel J. Bower, Freeport L-441. Brother Bower died November 12, 2013 due to complications with cancer.
In 2014, The Command Staff unanimously decided to rename and dedicate the award in the memory of our fallen Brother. This year the AFFI Honor Guard Daniel J. Bower Commitment To Excellence Award was presented to Charter Member Valerie J. Feld, Darien-Woodridge L- 3437, for her many years of loyal and dedicated service in honoring our fallen comrades. Valerie is truly a role model for all of us to follow in doing “Whatever It Takes”.
The AFFI Honor Guard is close to 700 members strong, consisting of dedicated members that continuously train throughout the year, with the commitment to Honor, Cherish, Remember our Brothers & Sisters when they make the ultimate sacrifice. We will continue to be there for you in your time of need.
Jeff H. Bruno, State Commander
The Girl Scout Honor Guard for Fallen Fire Fighters
Lauren Constantino is looking to ask Girl Scout's to become Members of and participating in the Girl Scout Honor Guard for Fallen Fire Fighters (GSHGFFF). The GSHGFFF is the Girl Scout Gold Award Project of me, Gold Award Candidate Lauren Constantino. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl can get in Girl Scouting.
I have a special relationship with the Gurnee Fire Dept. because my father, Russell S. Constantino, was a Fire Fighter/Paramedic there for 20 years until he passed away due to an active duty death in November 2009. My father had helped to form the GFD Honor Guard, served with the AFFI (State of IL) Fire Fighter Honor Guard, and participated in the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Ceremony in Colorado Springs, CO. I was even at some of those ceremonies, including making an appearance at only three weeks of age in 1999 at the Illinois Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, and of course when my father’s name was added to the IAFF Memorial Wall in 2010. So I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Fire Service, the FF Honor Guard, and the families of fallen fire fighters. In the true spirit of the brother- and sisterhood of the fire service family, the members of the Gurnee Fire Dept, Local 3598, and the GFD Honor Guard, have graciously thrown their support behind me in this first-of-its-kind Girl Scout Honor Guard for Fallen Fire Fighters. To read more, click here. To read her flier, click here. She held her first meeting and training at Gurnee Fire Station 2 with the regularly scheduled Honor Guard Drill. Below are some pictures from the event.
2014 IAFF Fallen FF Memorial
Thanks to all of those who came to Colorado Springs, CO for the 2014 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, where the IAFF placed 168 names on the Wall. Two of those names, were those of the former District 7 Commander Daniel J. Bower, Freeport L-441, & Firefighter Mike Wurtz, Woodstock L-4813. Thier families were there to accept the IAFF Flag, and to see their loved ones etched onto the Fallen FF Wall in Colorado Springs. Here is a picture of the Illinois AFFI Honor Guard with the Bower & Wurtz spouses.
Former Northern Deputy Commander assigned to Honor Flag
Congratulations to former Northern Deputy Commander Joesph Baumgartner, who has been appointed as a US Honor Flag Marshall. Joe will work with the families and departments of the fallen police, fire and military. Baumgartner states, "I will be the representative for the Honor Flag and as needed, travel with it to the site of the services. To say the least, I am incredibly honored to have been appointed to this position." You can visit the U.S. Honor Flag web site by clicking here: U.S. Honor Flag
This is a reminder that if you will need to complete 3 required trainings (One can be Convention), prior to October 31, 2015 in order to qualify to go to Convention in 2016. Please go to the Districts page to see upcoming drills in your area to meet your required trainings for the year. If there are any questions as to what these requirements are, please refer to the By-Laws. Remember, you can always attend another District's Drill location if it is closer to your home.
Welcome to the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois Honor Guard!
On January 24-26, AFFI members gathered at the Sheraton
Hotel & Resorts in Lisle, IL for the 22nd Annual AFFI Honor
Guard Convention. Naperville Local 4302 hosted this years
event and did an outstanding job. Our sincere thanks and
appreciation goes out to Committee Chairman Jim Kabinski,
Convention Committee Members and volunteers for all their
time and planning to host a great event. In front of close
to 800 guests who were in attendance, 82 new inductee's took
the oath to Honor, Cherish, Remember and to do "Whatever It
Takes". This years Honored Guest was Eamonn Walker (aka,
Battalion Chief Wallace Boden) from the hit TV series
Chicago Fire. He was joined by fellow cast member David
Eigenberg ( aka, Herman). Eamonn addressed the guests by
telling them about his story of Steve Chikerotis from the
Chicago Fire Dept. He spoke of how Steve is an advisor for
the show and taught all of them the basics of firefighting.
He spoke of the camaraderie that the fire service has and
the close ties of being a family. And in good times and bad,
it's family that sticks together. Eamonn spoke of Captain
Herbie Johnson from Tower Ladder 39 in Chicago, who was a
close friend to Steve Chikerotis and who paid the ultimate
sacrifice on November 2, 2012. Eamonn and others on the show
knew that they needed to be there for their friend so they
stopped filming the show and went to the funeral to bestow
the dignity and honor to Captain Johnson, and to show their
support for Chikerotis. That was the reason they went to
Herbie's service, Walker passionately stated. Walker
concluded his speech with reciting the Firefighters Prayer.
(photo courtesy of Stephan Bates)
Eigenberg also touched on the family theme and compared it to his days serving his country in the USMC. He also reflected back when his father passed away years ago; who also was a Veteran and it was the Honor Guard that stood shoulder to shoulder to pay tribute to his father. He also rendered a final salute to his father, honoring, remembering his service to his country.
As a tradition in honoring our fallen Brothers & Sisters from the previous year, a black ribbon was tied into the Honor Guard flag in the memory of District 7 Commander Daniel J. Bower, Freeport L-441, a red ribbon for HG Member Chris Brown, Bloomington L-49 who lost their lives in 2013. May their memory live on forever in our hearts.
Last year the Honor Guard created a new award, the AFFI Honor Guard Commitment To Excellence Award for commitment & dedication above and beyond. An individual who lives the motto "Whatever It Takes" and realizes the purpose of the Honor Guard is bigger than any one individual. An individual that embodies the selfless spirit of the Honor Guard Family. That award was presented to Dist 7 Commander Daniel J. Bower Freeport L-441. Brother Bower died November 12, 2013 due to complications with cancer. The Command Staff overwhelmingly decided to rename and dedicate the award in memory of our fallen Brother. This year the AFFI Honor Guard Daniel J. Bower Commitment To Excellence Award was presented to outgoing Northern Deputy State Commander Joseph Baumgartner Bolingbrook L-3005, for his many years of loyal and dedicated service in honoring our fallen comrades. Joe is a true role model for others to follow in doing "Whatever It Takes".
The AFFI Honor Guard is over 650 strong consisting of dedicated members that continuously train throughout the year, with the commitment to Honor, Cherish and Remember our Brothers & Sisters when they make the ultimate sacrifice.
We will continue to be there for you in your time of need.
Jeff H. Bruno, State Commander
AFFI Honor Guard
2015 AFFI Daniel J. Bower Commitment To Excellence Award
AFFI Honor Guard Historian Valerie Feld Darien-Woodridge Local #3437 was chosen to receive this years award. The award is given to those who exhibit the following: For commitment & dedication above and beyond. An individual who lives the motto "Whatever It Takes" and realizes the purpose of the Honor Guard is bigger than any one individual. An individual that embodies the selfless spirit of the Honor Guard Family. Congratulations to Valerie for going above and beyond and doing "Whatever It Takes" he is a role model for others to follow.
AFFI Honor Guard Web Site Wins IAFF Media Award
The International Association of Fire Fighters has an annual competition for best Media. The AFFI Honor Guard web site was tied for first place in the Best Affiliate Website Produced by Jeff Bruno and Jeff Boetto, in the 2013 IAFF Media Awards. The awards were announced in the Fall 2013 IAFF Fire Fighter Quarterly magazine. It is another recognition for the largest Honor Guard in the International Association of Fire Fighters. It is a tribute to each of you who make this great organization what it is.
Women in Fire & Emergency Services Article
Click Here to read the article by Commander Jeff Bruno about the women of the AFFI Honor Guard. Please scroll down to page 5 of this issue of Fire Work from April 4, 2012.
Photo's are available from the 2015 Honor Guard Convention
Here is the link to view and order photo's from the
23nd AFFI Honor Guard Convention.
Thanks again to Stephan Bates for taking photo's at the convention again this year. Here is his information:
The Mission of the AFFI Honor Guard shall be:
A. Promote the Associated Fire
Fighters of Illinois, the Locals therein, and
the fire service as a whole, to the public, in a positive and proper fashion.
B. Provide, as a line of duty death
benefit, dignified, honorable services for
fallen AFFI members, their surviving family members, and union brothers
and sisters through organization of and participation in funeral and
Please sign up on our Mailing List. Hopefully, this option will make notifications of LODD's much faster. This is a free service with a maximum of 500 subscribers, so please only sign up if you are a current Active AFFI Honor Guard Member. If you know members who are not subscribers, please e-mail or call them if a LODD notification comes to your e-mail. I will also send out notifications for events, parades, etc. You can also sign up to be on the AFFI Honor Guard mailing list on the AFFI web site when you register, just mark that you are an AFFI Honor Guard Member in the check boxes that are presented when you register. REMEMBER- if you change your e-mail address, to register again on this site, as your notifications will no longer be sent to your new address unless you have updated the information.
When a Line of Duty Death of any Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois Member occurs, this home page will be the place for finding information about line up, visitation, and/or funeral arrangements. Information is posted here as quickly and as accurately as possible. E-mails are also blasted to members on the above Newsletter list, as well as the AFFI blast e-mail system. Please keep in mind that although there may be a firefighter death, the AFFI Honor Guard is only activated when it is requested by the family. A request from that members Union President goes to AFFI President Pat Devaney, who then activates the AFFI Honor Guard through State Commander Bruno.