Summary of the Monday Oct 17/’22 ROFFA AGM, 10am Shriners Hall
ROFFA Board President and meeting Chair Bob Larochelle (Bob) opened the meeting and
welcomed the approximately 125 Members in attendance at 1020am.
Note: The meeting was preceded by fellowship and refreshments with extended time provided in respect of our three years since meeting as a group.
Past President Neil Warren had prepared a comprehensive power point presentation to
compliment the agenda which began with a tribute and thank you to the many sponsors who
faithfully support ROFFA.
Bob asked the Members to stand for the National Anthem and remain standing for a tribute to our 68 members/friends who have passed away since our last meeting. Bob made special
mention of the widows of our late colleagues and our continued support of them.
Bob introduced the ROFFA Board of Directors and then delivered his President’s report outlining the following…
-The Board has continued to meet regularly both in-person and via Zoom throughout the
-The cruise originally scheduled for 2020 was delayed due to Covid, rescheduled and then
-With the uncertainty of potential staffing issues at OFS due to the emerging pandemic,
ROFFA organized a large group of Members willing to provide assistance. While ultimately not required, then Chief Kim Ayotte presented us with a plaque in appreciation which is now on display at Frontline Credit Union.
-In the summer of 2021, Beau’s Brewery donated 640 cases of beer to ROFFA. A dedicated
group of volunteers spent the next month distributing them to the many people who have
supported ROFFA and OFS over the years. Bob thanked everyone involved for their efforts.
-Bob discussed the several golf tournaments held in various forms as we transition back to
our original format, mentioning the success of this past Spring's nine hole/spaghetti dinner with a large group attending the dinner only, allowing many to enjoy the event for the first time.
Thanks to Frontline Credit Union for providing the new ‘Frontline Cup’ recognizing the winners in the various categories now and in the future. Big thanks to all our sponsors, whose generosity ensures that we continue to provide not only golf, but AGM’s, etc at no cost to our members.
-The joint OFS/ROFFA funeral protocol is nearing completion and John Sobey will report
-The website continues to attract large numbers of views each day and is the main point of
contact and information for ROFFA members and others. It’s very time consuming and Bob is
looking for help to support he and Julie’s efforts in that regard.
-A large variety of ROFFA apparel continues to be offered through us, with many of the
smaller items available at Frontline Credit Union.
The minutes of the 2019 ROFFA AGM were adopted by consensus following a motion from
John McCarthy and Des Dubroy. The Treasurer's report was presented on the big screen with an explanation from Debbie McCabe.Main account: $9,884 Christmas lunch: $584 (OPFFA donation) Toy Mountain: $85.
The report was accepted by consensus following a motion from Terry Thompson/Al Murphy.
OFS/ROFFA Funeral Protocol (John Sobey): Working with OFS protocol officer Bob Rainboth, John and previous ROFFA executive have co-developed a policy which ensures a dignified tribute to any retired OFS Member who has passed away. The Member and/or family must make ROFFA aware of their desire and a service will be tailored to their specific needs. This policy ensures that OFS, OttawaPFFA and ROFFA can work together in this regard. Active urban and rural Members who pass away are the responsibility of the Fire Chief. Retired urban and rural Members who pass away will now fall under this protocol. If acknowledged as a line of duty death (LODD), a separate funeral protocol is implemented.
John Bridges is the OttawaPFFA Chaplain. OFS will assist with maintaining uniforms for retired Members. The Canadian flag at OFS HQ will be lowered to half mast in memory of deceased Members. ROFFA funeral pals are available for both urns and caskets. The honour guard is available for all deceased Members.
Frontline One (John McCarthy): The original Ballard truck has been replaced by a larger,
spectacular model financed in large part by Frontline Credit Union with $70,000 donated. The vehicle responds to major disasters as well as working fires and any incidents where the city's first responders require support. John manages the list of volunteers who operate Frontline One and is looking for some ROFFA Members to assist. A ‘G’ license is required along with a basic course in safe food handling. It’s an extremely rewarding experience as a delicious hamburger and/or warm beverage is so much appreciated by our firefighters at three o’clock in the morning.
The camaraderie amongst the volunteers on the truck makes it an enjoyable experience and a volunteer will never be alone on the truck. Please consider getting involved.
Ottawa FireFighters Community Foundation (OFFCF): Brian Conway introduced fellow
committee members Paul Cassagrande and Dave Stephenson. Paul talked about this year's
ceremony, the 21st since the creation of the memorial site at city hall, saying it’s a fine tribute to all OFS members upon their passing. A video of the service, which began due to Covid will continue in the future with the assistance of Dave McEvoy and can be found at OFFCF.ca. Paul also mentioned that they’re looking for new band members (both urban and rural). Dave explained that the same OFFCF board of directors has been in place since its inception in 2000/2001. As such, they’re open to new volunteers stepping forward to assist. A form has been created to ensure that all appropriate information is obtained in order to create the plaque for the deceased member. Dave, who is also the COSF pension fund chair, said that an information sheet must be filled out annually by members to ensure their timely pension payments.
Brian explained that the memorial wall currently has 629 plaques/bricks paid for by donors as
part of the original fundraising campaign. There are plans to expand the wall as there is a
waiting list of members wanting a plaque. This should take place in the Spring of 2023. Brian
stated that the entire $1.5 million dollars required to build this world class memorial has been raised by the OFFCF and their supporters. An incredible achievement. Bytown Fire Brigade (Dave McEvoy): Dave gave a brief history of the brigade stating that it was
formed in 1983 by founders John Carrier, Peter Ryan, Wayne Corniel and George Potvin. The
four founders were honored at their recent dinner gala. One of the ways in which they seek to record the history of the Ottawa Fire Service is through their sites; ‘Ottawa Fire and the Former Townships’ and ‘Ottawa Fire History in Videos’. Dave has conducted many videotaped interviews with ROFFA Members chronicling historic fires and personal stories, and he encouraged other ROFFA Members and spouses to get involved in the process. The 2023 calendars are now available for $20 and the theme is old fire stations, with three months
devoted to old station 11 on Parkdale Avenue. Kath Benson also spoke and encouraged ROFFA Members to get involved with the Bytown Fire Brigade, including their 50/50 draw which typically pays out in excess of $2,100 monthly!
Ottawa Fire Service (OFS) Chief’s remarks (Paul Hutt): Chief Hutt expressed his appreciation at being invited to attend and speak to the Members present and views his role as head of OFS as a partnership with ROFFA, Bytown Fire Brigade, etc and offered his support. He’s pleased that retired Members are doing such a good job of remaining in touch and supporting each other.
Chief Hutt views retired members and spouses as extended family and welcomes ideas and
suggestions. The Chief explained that OFS has been busier than ever in recent years dealing
with floods, storms and COVID to name a few. Special tv’s have been installed in all OFS
workplaces to ensure that Members remain aware and informed. The city's Urban Search and
Rescue team (USAR) has been very active and will soon participate in a provincial mock
disaster in Guelph. OFS is also in search of about 40 acres of land with the intention of building a training facility that the Chief referred to as a ‘National Centre’.
In response to questions from Members, Chief Hutt stated that the current OFS staffing level is 864 Urban Members and 486 Rural Members plus support staff, and he anticipates two recruit classes per year with about 24 persons per class.
In response to a comment from Perry McConnell, the Chief said that retiring Executive Assistant Joanne Lafferiere will be greatly missed and wished her well in her retirement.
Expedia Cruise Vacations (Karen Rainboth): Karen introduced herself and her company to the
Members present and explained that she offers both personal and group vacation planning. She plans to introduce a survey intended to determine the interests of Members.
Ottawa First Responders Foundation (Brenda Tirrel/Gerry Pingitore): Brenda introduced herself as a 15 year veteran of the OFS working at station 63 and stated that the organization was founded in 2018. As the founder of the annual ‘9 Run Run’ event, the Ottawa First Responders Foundation (OFRF) was a natural extension of their goal to assist first responders and their families, including retired Members.
Gerry explained that he joined OFRF upon retiring as Fire Chief of OFS. While funds from the annual runs were directed at assisting first responders in the community, some gaps were observed as first responders were not always getting, or waiting too long for mental health care.
Also, some mental health care providers are not experienced at assisting first responders.
Police, Fire and EMS mental health benefits vary greatly and are often insufficient for proper care after 30 or more years on the front lines. OFRF supplements costs for Members and
families while directing those in need to experienced mental health professionals.
Brenda hopes to provide scholarships to children of Members and dreams of a local facility
specifically for first responders.
There followed discussion including symptoms and how to identify them, confidentiality,
reaching those suffering alone, etc.
Good and Welfare/Unfinished Business: Bob welcomed questions or additional agenda items from the floor with none forthcoming.
Draws/Raffles: Winners were selected and presented with prizes.
Group photo taken by Dave McEvoy.
Motion for Adjournment moved by Bill Descouteaux and Ian McLeod was approved