Firefighters are brave, helpful and always prepared. So are Eagle Scouts.
Men who are members of both groups are an impressive bunch indeed, and they’re more common than you might think.
If you’re a firefighter and Eagle Scout, you should consider joining the National Eagle Scout Association’s Firefighters Affinity Group. You’ll network with fellow Eagle Scouts, learn ways to better your career and the Scouting movement, and get a special decal for your helmet (seen here).
Why am I telling you this news now? Because next week, nearly 40,000 firefighters from across the United States and around the world will meet to take classes, learn about new firefighting innovations and network with their peers.
It’s called the Fire Department Instructors Conference, held April 20 to 25 in Indianapolis. And NESA will have a presence there.
To learn more I talked with Joseph M. Kruzan Jr., fire chief in Schererville, Ind.; and Lou Paulson, president of California Professional Firefighters.
What is the Fire Department Instructors Conference?
Nearly 40,000 firefighters from across the U.S. and abroad converge in Indianapolis to attend training classes, experience the latest innovations and to network with other firefighters.
Chief Joe Kruzan from the Schererville Fire Department will represent NESA and be at the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s booth from 8 a.m. to noon Friday to talk to attendees about the benefits of the National Eagle Scout Association and the Firefighters Affinity Group.
At 1 p.m., Eagle Scout firefighters are invited to join Chief Kruzan for an informative briefing being held in Wabash Room 1. Eagle Scout Firefighters will receive a special helmet decal when they join.
What will the NESA firefighters at the FDIC conference be doing?
Encouraging Eagle Scout firefighters to, first of all, become members of the National Eagle Scout Association (if not already a member). And then secondly, to join the Firefighters Affinity Group. The ultimate goal: Get all firefighter Eagle Scouts reconnected to Scouting.
What makes an Eagle Scout a good firefighter?
“As a firefighter and a chief, I live my life and manage our department as a Scout,” Kruzan says. “The true signs of successful leadership can be attributed to living and practicing the 12 points of the Scout Law. Each point can be used by a firefighter.
“As Scouts, we learn to ‘Do a Good Turn Daily.’ As Firefighters, we do a Good Turn every day by serving the public, treating the sick and injured, protecting lives and property, or simply by holding the hand of an elderly person as they are taking their last breath.”
Do you think there are a disproportionately large number of Eagle Scout firefighters compared to other professions? If so, why?
The 2008 National Eagle Scout Directory lists nearly 2,000 Eagle Scouts who work in some form of public service, which includes the fire service.
“I would suspect that many Eagle Scouts developed their career path thru Scouting,” Paulson says. “Perhaps it was the Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness merit badges that enticed those to become firefighters?”
“Many Eagles naturally migrate to the Fire Service because the values of Scouting are in many ways the backbone of the fire service. Preparedness, service, working as a team and leadership are just some of the values that Eagles bring the fire service,” Kruzan says. “Many Fire Departments seek out Eagle Scouts in their applicant pools because they know that type of person will do well in the Fire Service.”
How important is it for Eagle Scouts to reconnect at events like these?
“It is always important to folks to meet others and enjoy the fellowship that Scouting brings to any gathering,” Kruzan says. “The personal and professional relationships that develop at events will last for years. Once an Eagle Always an Eagle.”
What can other affinity groups learn from your successes with NESA firefighter affinity groups?
“This is the first affinity group for NESA,” Paulson says. “Many of the programs developed in the firefighter group can be used by other groups. The big takeaway is that if you have a professional affiliation as a base then it is easy to gather Eagles together.”
How can interested Eagle Scout firefighters learn more?
Contact Ryan Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.