I learned of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance in the early 1990’s when I worked for Mount Prospect Fire Chief, Ed Cavello. Chief Cavello was very involved in the IFSA and ultimately became the IFSA. Like many others when you hear about the great work the organization does, you get hooked.
I have volunteered since the early 1990’s starting out on “work weekends” for camp. We made the cabin bunk beds, worked on the boat house, and then built the pavilion across from the pool on the Camp Duncan grounds.
The people I’ve met along the way makes me smile. There are so many bonds with campers, staff, and those early folks that got the IFSA off the ground like, Ed Cavello, Tom Allenspach, Jerry Burke, Tom O’Connell, Jim Werner, and Bob Brogan. There have been great experiences with early fundraising that paved the way for new programs. I guess it is great to be around people that help others.
For someone that has never spent a night at camp, most don’t realize the personal commitment it takes to sped one full week at camp. While the rewards are huge, the personal sacrifice is tremendous for the volunteers and staff to miss Father’s Day and leave their personal lives behind while they take on some pretty tough challenges.
There are many aspects of the IFSA, they have been successful at reducing burn injuries, but there is a long way to go. There are roles volunteering at camp, fundraising, helping with legislation, identifying burn survivors, and other projects. It takes a volunteer army to achieve the goals of the organization. If you believe in preventing burns and supporting survivors, I encourage people to call the office and look for opportunities to help. It can be very rewarding.