On March 26, 2009, a group of retirees led by retired Captain Don Band met at the OPFFA office to discuss the need for a common voice for retired members and/or their spouses. Their thought was that at the very least everyone should be made aware of changes to pensions, health benefits who to contact etc.
To accomplish this, they needed to rally the troops to at least have an organization to work with us.
This had been a concern of the late Chief Inspector/OPFFA President Bob Crothers some time before he passed away in 1997. Bob had shared that same concerns with several former union executive members at the time.
Those who attended this meeting were retired members Jim Sheehan, Pierre Potvin, Don Band, Jim Band, Pat Defazio, Ralph Smith and Dave Smith.
Pat Defazio agreed to write the constitution and Jim Sheehan as Treasurer, Pierre Potvin as Secretary and when Don Band returned from a bathroom break they informed him that he had just been voted as President. ROFFA was officially born.
At the first ever ROFFA executive board meeting, President Don Band made a presentation to the OPFFA executive board about the new retired association and asked the OPFFA for some seed money to help ROFFA get off the ground. The OPFFA graciously donated the all new ROFFA the sum of $1,200.00.
In March 2010 the ROFFA logo designed by Julie Larochelle was officially approved by the ROFFA board of directors.
April 10, 2010, the first ever ROFFA semi annual general meeting was held. Since we did not have a comprehensive email list as we have today and with no website, we had to reach out to all the retirees via regular mail to inform them about the meeting and the formation of the new association. This first meeting drew more than 40 retirees who attended.
In October 2010, our first ever website www.roffa.ca , created by retired firefighter Bob Larochelle and Lieutenant Daniel Legault, was officially launched.
The website helped take the association and its goals to a whole new level. It immediately became the main source of information for retired members and soon followed by most active firefighters. There was now a place where members could instantly get information on all the latest breaking news, death notices, upcoming events, retiree benefits, memory lane pictures and much more…
The following year, www.roffa.ca took over the OFFCF (Ottawa Firefighters Community Foundation) website and incorporated all its information within one website.
The website has become extremely popular, reaching up to 6,000 hits per month at one of its peaks.
We created a comprehensive members email list enabling us to send News Alerts directly to all registered members on a regular basis.
Since our first President Don Band who stayed on for 3 years, we also had retired Deputy Chief Dave Smith as President for 2 years, retired Captain Wib Paul for one year, and our current President is Pierre Potvin.
ROFFA is now self sufficient and has never asked for any more money from the OPFFA. We have put together a sponsorship program where various companies and organization support us in return for some advertisement on our website.
We also helped raise large thousands of dollars led by the efforts of retired firefighter Bob Larochelle with the sale of ROFFA apparels and with the Rona discount program. This money raised along with the sponsors support, we can now pay for all the costs related to our two semi-annual meetings, the costs of operating the website and we have been able to donate several thousands of dollars to the OFFCF which went directly towards the construction of our memorial site at Ottawa City Hall.