Just as the old African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” as President of the Progressive Firefighters Association Charities (PFA Charities), I believe it takes the entire organization to help build strong communities and to model the type of leadership demonstrated in our profession. We have to give our kids strong, positive role models today so they can also believe they can become all they want to be in the future.

The organization was built upon the courageous shoulders of its founding fathers, Charles U. Phillips and David C. James. These men made PFA Charities a thriving entity in the community during its earlier years. Because of their endurance and intolerance of racial discrimination and unfair working conditions on the job, our organization’s existence began with leaders and colleagues who believed in the spirit of the saying, “united we stand, divided we fall.” We, the current members of PFA Charities, would like to continue with that mantra as well.

Many of us who watched our founders lead as role models and mentors in our communities are now firefighters today. It is our duty to continue to reach back to help those who dream of being a part of our profession and to offer the guidance they need in order to see their dreams become their reality. With the collaborative efforts of the PFA Charities, we can continue to grow and reflect for the kids in our communities, the examples of these great men who never forgot where they came from, but who looked beyond themselves toward the future generations. We too can demonstrate the desire and ability of our predecessors to build the foundation for another set of future leaders.

It’s the desire of most to be part of a winning team. Together, let us continue to set the example that hard working members of PFA Charities are a visible, productive part of our communities. We are here to serve and help keep our neighborhoods thriving by providing future successors who will continue to represent the successful men and women in our American society. This is your organization and your community!