Firefighter cancer nonprofit adopts bylaws, delivers mentor, fundraising training during annual meeting
Burbank, California, October 31, 2014 – The Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) elected new officers and board members on October 17, 2014, during its annual meeting in Long Beach, California. The 2013-2014 board and FCSN representatives from 15 states approved updated bylaws on October 16, 2014. The updated bylaws added the provision for two FCSN state director board seats, among other changes. All board members are elected to serve two-year terms.
Bryan Frieders, a division chief for the San Gabriel (CA) Fire Department, was elected president. He previously served on the FCSN board as director of communications; he remains FCSN’s liaison to the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section. Frieders has more than 20 years of fire/EMS experience, including training and emergency management assignments. He earned a master’s degree in public administration and is an accomplished commercial instrument-rated pilot with 1,150 hours of flight time.
Trey Kelso, immediate past fire chief for the Laurel (MD) Volunteer Fire Department, was elected treasurer. He previously served on the FCSN board as secretary, and he continues his role as FCSN’s Maryland state director. Kelso is a CPSE-designated fire officer and safety officer for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department. He is an instructor for the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute’s management track, and he earned a master’s degree in business administration.
New members elected to the board include Steven Westcott, Steve Fisher, Tony Cruz, Curtis Dunn, and Timothy Elliott.
Steven Westcott was elected secretary, and he continues his role as FCSN’s Ohio state director. Westcott joined the Perkins Township (OH) Fire Department in 2001 and served for seven years. He was 25 when diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Westcott is a two-time cancer survivor; he’s been an FCSN mentor since 2009. He received a bone-marrow transplant and has been cancer-free for five years. He teaches at the Ohio Fire Academy and at Lorain County Community College. He earned an EMT-P certification and a master’s in industrial and organizational psychology.
Steve Fisher was elected Western region vice president, and he continues his role as FCSN’s Oregon state director. Fisher, an engineer/paramedic with Tualatin Valley (OR) Fire and Rescue, is a testicular cancer survivor. Fisher started his fire service career as a volunteer in Colorado; he also worked in south Florida before moving to Oregon. He has served on the Tualatin Valley hazmat team and currently is a member of the safety committee.
Tony Cruz was elected to one of the two new state director board positions, and he continues his role as FCSN’s New York state director. He retired from the FDNY, where he was assigned to Res2cue, and is the fomer fire chief for the Smithtown (NY) Fire Department. Cruz launched FCSN’s New York operation in 2008 with fellow prostate cancer survivor Ron Barz. Cruz now works more than 40 hours a week to further FCSN’s support, awareness, and prevention missions. (The state director positions open on a staggered cycle; the second state director board position will be up for election next year.)
Curtis Dunn was elected events vice president, and he continues his role as FCSN’s Texas state director. Dunn, a second-generation firefighter, retired at the rank of lieutenant after a 36-year career with the Arlington (TX) Fire Department. He has been affiliated with FCSN for seven years. Dunn also is the district vice president for the Texas State Association of Firefighters.
Timothy Elliott was elected communication vice president, and he continues his role as FCSN’s grant program director. Elliott, former communication director for the International Association of Fire Chiefs, has more than 20 years of experience writing, producing, and deploying training programs and resources for the fire-service and medical communities.
Board members Debbie Pike, Keith Tyson, and Donna MacDonald continued their elected terms.
Debbie Pike, FCSN’s wellness coordinator since 2012, fields all incoming requests for assistance from fire/EMS personnel and their families. She is a cancer survivor, and her husband is a Los Angeles County firefighter. Pike oversees FCSN’s signature toolbox program. She also leads more than 130 mentors who provide peer support to fellow firefighters following a cancer diagnosis. Pike completed training for the peer-support mentoring program at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in Long Beach, California.
Keith Tyson, FCSN’s education vice president, delivers FCSN’s firefighter cancer awareness and prevention training nationwide. He leads FCSN’s research efforts, including initiatives with the Florida Professional Firefighters and the University of Miami. Tyson retired after 34 years as a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue paramedic/firefighter; within six months, he was diagnosed with prostate and skin cancers. He launched FCSN’s Florida operation in 2009.
Donna MacDonald, FCSN’s Eastern regional vice president, has served for 13 years as a firefighter with the Providence (RI) Fire Department. She is a peer fitness trainer, and she participates in the department’s honor guard and employee assistance program. MacDonald was diagnosed with bone cancer in her sternum in 2006. She has undergone four surgeries since then, most recently in August 2013. She began as FCSN’s Rhode Island state director in 2009; she was elected to the board in 2013.
Mike Dubron, FCSN’s founder, is a firefighter/paramedic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, where he currently is assigned to flight operations. Dubron received a colon cancer diagnosis at 39. Dubron launched FCSN in 2005. Today, FCSN delivers its vital support, awareness, and prevention resources to fire/EMS personnel and their families nationwide.
Immediate Past President Dan Crow continues his service as FCSN’s California state director. Jeff Howe, a battalion chief for the Burbank (CA) Fire Department, stepped down as treasurer in October to accept a promotion and responsibility for department-wide training. He and his wife, Eileen Howe, continue as FCSN annual meeting and West Coast gala event coordinators. The Howes also manage FCSN’s online store. Immediate Past Western Regional VP Eric Monroe continues as FCSN’s Washington state director. Garry Briese, who stepped down as FCSN executive director in September, now serves as senior advisor to the board. Tim McDonnell, who stepped down as FCSN’s events director in June, continues his service as FCSN’s Indiana state director.
The annual meeting featured a number of training sessions as part of the inaugural FCSN National Leadership Summit. Robert T. Scott, PhD., director of the LA City Fire Department Behavioral Health & Wellness Program, presented peer-support training titled “How to Handle the Difficult Questions Coping with Firefighter Cancer.” FCSN leaders Trey Kelso,Tony Cruz, and Amber Leizear delivered charitable fundraising case studies.
States represented during FCSN’s annual meeting included Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
FCSN announces new officers, board of directors members
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The FCSN provides timely assistance and one-on-one support to fire/EMS service members and their families after a cancer diagnosis, and it educates the fire/EMS service about cancer awareness, prevention, early detection and treatment options. The FCSN was founded in 2005 by LA County Fire Department FF/PM Mike Dubron (survivor of stage IV colon cancer) and was approved by the IRS in 2006 as a 501(c) 3 Charitable Foundation. FCSN is governed by an elected ten-member board of directors from across the country. firefightercancersupport.org
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Timothy Elliot Frieders
Director of Communications
Firefighter Cancer Support Network