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  1. #1
    Forum Member FFTide's Avatar
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    Default Ladies Aux. disbanded over beer cooler?

    From Today's Newspaper, names omitted for obvious reasons.

    *****

    The firefighters wanted a beer cooler for Christmas. The Ladies Auxiliary had other ideas.

    "We were afraid if they drank at the firehouse and then got a fire call, they go out on those big trucks and can kill somebody or themselves," the auxiliary's treasurer, said, explaining why the women decided not to fulfill the firefighters' holiday gift request.

    And although many members of the auxiliary are wives and other relatives of the company's firefighters, the women of the township's Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary said the incident was the start of a yearlong dispute with the fire company.

    In July, after months of tension, members of the fire company voted to disband the 52-year-old Ladies Auxiliary. Weeks later, the auxiliary president returned to the firehouse and found the locks had been changed on the cabinets containing the auxiliary group's equipment.

    Last week, the unit was notified by mail that entering the firehouse would be considered trespassing. Now, members of the Ladies Auxiliary say they've obtained an attorney and plan to continue meeting — away from the firehouse.

    "It's bad, it's petty, that's what it is, and we're not going to tolerate it anymore," said, the auxiliary's recording secretary.

    But an attorney for the fire company, disputed the women's claims. He said the problems actually stemmed from concerns that the Ladies Auxiliary had failed to use the money it raised to benefit the fire company. A member of the fire department raised similar concerns in December, alleging the Ladies Auxiliary had not purchased gifts for the firefighters in three years but had bought clothing and parade uniforms for its own members.

    (Attorney) said the dispute could have been easily resolved had the Ladies Auxiliary given the fire company access to the group's financial records — something the women have repeatedly refused.

    "As far as my client's concerned, the Ladies Auxiliary has been nothing but an impediment," he said.

    (Attorney) said he had not been told about the beer cooler and questioned its relevance. Using it to explain the conflict, he said, represented an unfair reversion to "the popular prejudice of volunteer firefighters as beer-swigging drunks."

    Company Fire Chief declined to comment.

    Members of the Ladies Auxiliary acknowledged relations were tense with the fire company even before the beer-cooler incident. The fire chief would not call them to fires, where auxiliary units typically distribute food and water to relieve firefighters, Ladies Auxiliary President said. They were rarely invited to fundraisers, she said.

    "It's been an ongoing thing," she said. "They just don't seem to think that they need us."

    But other Ladies Auxiliary officials said things took a definite turn for the worse after the rejected beer-cooler request.

    While the women had nixed the gift request in November, for safety reasons, she said, they explained it as a financial decision in an attempt to soften the blow.

    "We were trying to be diplomatic," (A ladies aux. member) said. "We were trying to say we didn't want them drunk."

    The day after Christmas, the fire department sent the auxiliary a letter, placing the group's access to the firehouse on hold until they turned over their bank statements. In the letter, company Secretary wrote that the department believed the auxiliary had the money to purchase a beverage cooler.

    "The body is concerned as to where the monies have gone, it sure hasn't been to help the fire company," he wrote.

    The Ladies Auxiliary rejected that and subsequent requests for access to bank records. Members said they were not obligated to show their financial records because the group is independently incorporated.

    But (the Attorney) questioned whether the auxiliary had used the money it raised properly.

    "There are some serious questions that need to be answered," he said. "What is your function, what have you been doing, and why should you continue in existence if you're not doing what you're supposed to do?"

    Members of the auxiliary said the organization had less than $5,000 and raised money through flea markets, a vendor night and other activities.

    So far, some members of the 15-person auxiliary had taken leaves of absences or resigned, (the Aux. President) said.

    And (the Attorney), who represents several fire companies in the area, called the dispute the most drawn-out he'd ever seen.

    "I've got to say, in 31 years of practicing law, this is unique where a ladies auxiliary is at loggerheads to this degree with a volunteer fire company," he said. "It's amazing."


  2. #2
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    Can't we all just get along. I'm sorry was this a preschool or a firedepartment that we are talking about?

    You should have left the names in. This matter is dependent on how the auxillary was formed. Are they a separate not for proffit organization or did they just "form" (in which case they may need to pay taxes)

    Many times the volunteer (and sometimes full time) fireservice does things that they think would be good or help without reguard for the law of the land. If they are just part of the volunteer fire company then they don't have the right to collect and not show their book keeping. If they are a separate NFP then the company doesn't have the rights to see their books anymore then they have the right to see the VFW's books.

  3. #3
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    If this outfit is the same as the ones that I am familiar with, the members are primarily fire fighters' wives.

    It scares me to think of what it is like at some of these members' homes. Something about kicking a hornet's nest. There are a couple of baskets of dirty laundry that I will bet the FF would not want to come out. The LA members have those baskets.

    Seems to me that maybe there would have been a better way to handle this one.

  4. #4
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Honestly, in my opinion the Ladies Auxiliary should have straight up told the Fire Chief we are not buying a beer cooler for the fire house. That they would not support drinking in the fire station and they refused to be a party to it. Secondly I would have made it clear any attempt to coerce them into doing it would cause them to go to the fire board and the media about how fundraiser money was being spent.

    Why is it so many people in the fire service seem to spend so much time shooting themselves in the foot over assinine stuff like this? No matter what happens with this the outcome is that the community will now view the volly FF's as being little more than firehouse drunks. Nice going whatever FD you are...just what the fire service needs.

    FyredUp
    Last edited by FyredUp; 09-22-2005 at 10:14 AM.

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    Red face the real question is..........

    I think the real question is did they say beer cooler and mean beer to put in it cooler. My family calls any cooler a beer cooler, Even if it has fish in it. I guess what needs to be cleared up for me is did the FF want the cooler for beer or for the purpuse of putting water or sport drinks in for fire runs?

    Also if there was issues before between the two why not include these issues in this post. I just don't think the full story is here. I always say take a story you are told cut it in half add a table spoon of salt and you have the truth. I say this because everyone sees things their way. Ask people after an accident what happened, if you ask 5 people you will get 5 different answers.

  6. #6
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    How far back did you have to look to find this thread?

  7. #7
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quint1officer View Post
    How far back did you have to look to find this thread?
    Just by the wording, my guess is that hassy is affiliated with said department.

    Of course, I HAVE been wrong before
    September 11th - Never Forget

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  8. #8
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    alleging the Ladies Auxiliary had not purchased gifts for the firefighters in three years but had bought clothing and parade uniforms for its own members.

    I may not fully understand what a "ladies auxiliary" truely is, but getting upset because the auxiliary used the money that they raised for their own uniforms instead of buying gifts for the firefighters?

  9. #9
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Okay since this has been raised from the dead I will comment once again. I also believe that hassy has a personal interest in this because why else would you re-open this topic?

    What type of organization is this? One affiliated with the fire department in an official way with a charter and by-laws, OR a completely seperate organization started to fund raise and assist the fire department by offering food and drink at calls?

    In the first case if they are an officially affiliated with the fire department organization then there should be hard and fast rules in place for how the organization is run and to whom they are accountable for everything, includinbg funds raised.

    In the second case as long as their actions are legal and they represent that a PORTION of the proceeds from their fund raising goes to the fire department and they are NOT officially bound to the fire department by charter then the fire department has no control over them other than to limit access to the fire department building and to refuse to acknowledge them. In this case it really is no different than if a child sets up a kool aid stand on the corner to raise money for the FD and after wards the FD decides whether or not to acknowledge her work and accept the funding. There is no official tie just a casual one acknowledging the good work done.

    Personally this whole thing sounds like a ****ing match between 2 factions and the BEER cooler thing was the last straw. And frankly for anyone to suggest that a fire department wants a BEER cooler to store fish or soda or water in is insulting to the intelligence of the members of this forum. It sure didn't fool the women of the auxiliary there did it?

    I would bet there were a few husbands who got well acquantied with sleeping on the couch when this whole crap storm blew up.

    FyredUp

  10. #10
    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    It never ceases to stun me that anyone (career or volunteer) would think alcohol in the firehouse is acceptable.

    If it is such a necessity to individuals they can't even go a couple of hours without a beer there is a deeper problem.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  11. #11
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    Wow. My department is lucky to have a GREAT auxiliary (men and women). They conduct 2 major fund raisers (garage sale and art show) each year to buy equipment for the department (TIC, Extrication tools, etc.) and also to fund the annual year end party. This party is held a NICE local eatery and alcohol is available but not paid for by the department or auxiliary. We also have a mutual aid company cover our district from 1700 to 0600 so members can partake if they choose.

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    I'm with Firetacoma on this one. The Ladies Aux in my station is a FANTASTIC bunch. Our relationship with them is great, they do a lot for us and with us all the time.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    It never ceases to stun me that anyone (career or volunteer) would think alcohol in the firehouse is acceptable.

    If it is such a necessity to individuals they can't even go a couple of hours without a beer there is a deeper problem.
    I agree 100% . I believe they have social clubs or what not to support their habits and the fd is'nt one of them. Hopefully they got all their issues worked out.

  14. #14
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    Default no cooler for me neither :o(

    I asked my wife for a beer cooler, and she told me no, and she's not even in a Ladies Aux. I tried the fish thing, and that didn't work. "Dear I want it to put fish in when I catch them". She said "go catch some fish first". "Dear I can't go fishing!" "Why not?" "I don't have anything to carry my beer in."

    She told me to shut up, and go away!!
    Take Care & be SAFE
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  15. #15
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    I LIKE MY BEER BUT IT HAS ITS TIME AND PLACE AND THE FIREHOUSE IS NEITHER OF THOSE
    Quote Originally Posted by FFTide View Post
    From Today's Newspaper, names omitted for obvious reasons.

    *****

    The firefighters wanted a beer cooler for Christmas. The Ladies Auxiliary had other ideas.

    "We were afraid if they drank at the firehouse and then got a fire call, they go out on those big trucks and can kill somebody or themselves," the auxiliary's treasurer, said, explaining why the women decided not to fulfill the firefighters' holiday gift request.

    And although many members of the auxiliary are wives and other relatives of the company's firefighters, the women of the township's Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary said the incident was the start of a yearlong dispute with the fire company.

    In July, after months of tension, members of the fire company voted to disband the 52-year-old Ladies Auxiliary. Weeks later, the auxiliary president returned to the firehouse and found the locks had been changed on the cabinets containing the auxiliary group's equipment.

    Last week, the unit was notified by mail that entering the firehouse would be considered trespassing. Now, members of the Ladies Auxiliary say they've obtained an attorney and plan to continue meeting — away from the firehouse.

    "It's bad, it's petty, that's what it is, and we're not going to tolerate it anymore," said, the auxiliary's recording secretary.

    But an attorney for the fire company, disputed the women's claims. He said the problems actually stemmed from concerns that the Ladies Auxiliary had failed to use the money it raised to benefit the fire company. A member of the fire department raised similar concerns in December, alleging the Ladies Auxiliary had not purchased gifts for the firefighters in three years but had bought clothing and parade uniforms for its own members.

    (Attorney) said the dispute could have been easily resolved had the Ladies Auxiliary given the fire company access to the group's financial records — something the women have repeatedly refused.

    "As far as my client's concerned, the Ladies Auxiliary has been nothing but an impediment," he said.

    (Attorney) said he had not been told about the beer cooler and questioned its relevance. Using it to explain the conflict, he said, represented an unfair reversion to "the popular prejudice of volunteer firefighters as beer-swigging drunks."

    Company Fire Chief declined to comment.

    Members of the Ladies Auxiliary acknowledged relations were tense with the fire company even before the beer-cooler incident. The fire chief would not call them to fires, where auxiliary units typically distribute food and water to relieve firefighters, Ladies Auxiliary President said. They were rarely invited to fundraisers, she said.

    "It's been an ongoing thing," she said. "They just don't seem to think that they need us."

    But other Ladies Auxiliary officials said things took a definite turn for the worse after the rejected beer-cooler request.

    While the women had nixed the gift request in November, for safety reasons, she said, they explained it as a financial decision in an attempt to soften the blow.

    "We were trying to be diplomatic," (A ladies aux. member) said. "We were trying to say we didn't want them drunk."

    The day after Christmas, the fire department sent the auxiliary a letter, placing the group's access to the firehouse on hold until they turned over their bank statements. In the letter, company Secretary wrote that the department believed the auxiliary had the money to purchase a beverage cooler.

    "The body is concerned as to where the monies have gone, it sure hasn't been to help the fire company," he wrote.

    The Ladies Auxiliary rejected that and subsequent requests for access to bank records. Members said they were not obligated to show their financial records because the group is independently incorporated.

    But (the Attorney) questioned whether the auxiliary had used the money it raised properly.

    "There are some serious questions that need to be answered," he said. "What is your function, what have you been doing, and why should you continue in existence if you're not doing what you're supposed to do?"

    Members of the auxiliary said the organization had less than $5,000 and raised money through flea markets, a vendor night and other activities.

    So far, some members of the 15-person auxiliary had taken leaves of absences or resigned, (the Aux. President) said.

    And (the Attorney), who represents several fire companies in the area, called the dispute the most drawn-out he'd ever seen.

    "I've got to say, in 31 years of practicing law, this is unique where a ladies auxiliary is at loggerheads to this degree with a volunteer fire company," he said. "It's amazing."

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    If the ladies raised money to "help" the VFD and did not use the $$ in some way to "help" the VFD they were taking money under false pretenses. As far as gifts go, the ladies gave a gift of SCBAs to a VFD near here. Gifts may be something that theFFs can use to put out fires or do the job safer.
    I have seen sodas in a beer cooler
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  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber JohnVBFD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quint1officer View Post
    How far back did you have to look to find this thread?
    Think I used to be in diapers when this was first discussed.

  18. #18
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    Justification of a "Beer cooler" aside, a declared "independently incorporated organization" that was a guest at the firehouse, under the pretense that they were there to support company operations, refused to open their books. What else did they refuse to buy over time? Before they stopped being called to incidents, were they actually performing typical duties of an auxiliary? You'd think they would come out and say "they're going to miss us providing food & drinks at fires", but they haven't. Unless this 2 year old story has a real update somewhere.

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