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Theodore Roosevelt’s Wisdom

We always talk about the brother and sisterhood that embody our great profession. It brings us together on the job and as a union across the entire North American continent.

An important part of the work we do at the IAFF is to continue to strengthen that bond. One way we do that is to find issues, hobbies and interests outside of work that are shared by a significant portion of our members, and provide a forum to come together around those interests.

Last year, we initiated the IAFF Motorcycle Group (IAFF-MG), an organization that enables IAFF members who appreciate riding to get together, talk about bikes, share experiences and equipment, and to ride. With more than 1,600 members joining the IAFF-MG in less than a year, and with three successful “rides” — that I was personally able to enjoy — under our belt, IAFF-MG appears to be a success.

This year, recognizing that more than 70 percent of our members often spend their vacation and off-days enjoying the outdoors hunting, fishing and shooting, we have been researching ways to harness that interest and express it in a way that allows us to participate in these activities as a union.

To find the right organization, we took great pains to ensure that we not turn this into a political issue. We didn’t want to join together with an ultra aggressive gun advocacy organization, and at the same time, we sure as hell didn’t want get in with an anti-gun, tree-hugging environmental group. We were simply looking for an organization that lets our members benefit from and enhance their enjoyment of the outdoors.

I’m proud to announce that, along with a number of our sister unions in the Building Trades, the Machinists and others, we are joining the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP).

The TRCP is an organization that focuses its efforts solely on conserving, maintaining and enhancing access to land and water available for Americans to enjoy their interests in hunting, fishing and shooting. And, we’re already working with them to extend this program to our Canadian members.

TRCP is founded in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, and an avid outdoorsman who believed, “There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.”

In addition to the unions mentioned above, this organization was created by and remains a coalition of groups representing nonprofit conservation organizations, outdoor businesses and local rod and gun clubs.

Some of the member organizations you might recognize include the American Sportfishing Association, BASS/ESPN Outdoors, Ducks Unlimited, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, The Nature Conservancy, Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, Remington, Sturm, Ruger and Co, Inc. and the Wildlife Management Institute.

TRCP provides its partners and members with information on important issues and easy ways to take action to make their voices heard and to help assure a bright future for hunting and fishing.

In addition, members have chances to win great hunting and fishing trips and equipment. And TRCP has also teamed up with the Outdoor Life Network to produce two outdoor television shows that showcase union members and their love of the outdoors. The first show, “Life in the Open,” has been extremely successful and is already one of the highest rated shows on OLN. Beginning this year, OLN will be shooting a new show focusing on union members called “Escape to the Wild.”

In the coming months, the unions within TRCP will initiate a union-focused sportsman club that will have its own magazine, web site, radio show (in addition to the television shows already in production) and affinity programs to promote union-made products and equipment and offer discount merchandise and trips.

Join now (it’s dues free!) or by calling toll free 1 (877) 770-8722.

Theodore Roosevelt once said that we must do “the greatest good, for the greatest number.” This is a guiding principle of TRCP. It is a guiding principle of this IAFF. And together, we hope it will do some good for you as you enjoy the outdoors.

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