Brothers and Sisters
The first time we were introduced to Brian Zinanni and The Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team was when our Creve Coeur family lost one of our Brothers in an airplane crash. For those of you who have not lost a Brother or Sister in a sudden, unexpected way, let me tell you, the hours that follow are nothing short of mentally annihilating. First, you are coming to grips with your own feelings of disbelief and loss, then you are left with the terrifying feeling of uncertainty on what to do next. When we were given Brian’s number we were not certain of what the group did, but we were certain that we were lost.
From the moment that The Missouri Fire Service Funeral assistance team walked in the room we knew we were in good hands. They had answers to every question we had and were able to guide us in directions that we never considered. From that moment on, I can remember feeling the weight of the world being lifted off of us.
A few years later our world was rocked again when one of our Brothers took his own life. This loss was immense in the fact that our Brother’s life had touched dozens and dozens of fire department, ambulance districts and dispatch agencies. This time we knew who our first call would be. As Brian and the team entered the packed room they took charge to lead us through some of the worst days I can remember. I can vividly remember as we were getting ready to start our Brother’s service, as I paused in front of the casket, I was on the verge of losing all control. Kate Moore, a member of The Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team, recognized what was going on. She put her hand on my shoulder and gave a few words of support. The timing and the message she gave was just enough so that we could continue on and give our Brother the best service that we could. Without their professionalism, compassion, and coordination there is no way we could have gotten through those days.
Since then we have used this team many, many times. They are literally the first call we make when we find out one of our retired Brothers or Sisters have passed away. They have never, ever turned us away and have never, ever given us bad advice. Without a doubt there are many other departments out there who have similar stories. I have heard some of them. They all end with the words “We have no idea how we could have gotten through those days without that team.” If your district, department or agency has been lucky enough to not need their services, I am happy for you, but believe me when I say at some time in your career YOU WILL.
The Brothers and Sisters of the Creve Coeur Fire District, IAFF Local 2665, PFEM would like to send this challenge out across the state. The Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team needs our help. They are looking for donations to better serve our members. The end goal is $25,000.
The Creve Coeur Shop will donate up to $10,000 if your department/shop/local will make a donation to the Missouri Fire Service Funeral assistance team in care of “Creve Coeur Challenge” … If all those donations add up to $10,000 or more, The Creve Coeur Shop will donate $10,000.
Online Donations can be made thru PayPal.
Donations can also be sent to: Missouri Fire Funeral Assistance Team, c/o Creve Couer Challenge, 716 N. Elm Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119.