In a resounding show of support, the Florida House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing the 80th anniversary of the Florida Professional Firefighters Association (FPF). 

The resolution honors the organization for advocating not only on behalf of its own members but also on behalf of all Floridians in the interest of their safety and well-being. It also highlights the organization and its members who have made a substantial contribution to Florida’s growth and prosperity. 

12th District Vice President Walt Dix congratulated the organization on its achievement. “This remarkable milestone signifies the enduring commitment of a labor organization devoted to representing fire fighters,” he said. “We applaud the courageous individuals who took the initiative to establish this outstanding organization.” 

General President Edward Kelly commended the FPF on 80 years of success. 

“The FPF has grown tremendously since 1944, and in that time, they’ve strengthened the voice of fire fighters and emergency medical workers in Tallahassee and across Florida,” he said. “Through their savvy politics, they’ve set the bar for fire fighters in a Right to Work state. We’re grateful for their strong work and look forward to their continued success.” 

Celebrating the significant milestone, Wayne “Bernie” Bernoska, FPF president, is working toward bridging the gap between the past and present. “What we wanted to do in our celebration of 80 years, is to honor the pioneers who paved the way.” 

On Jan. 11, 1944, the organization was officially recognized by the IAFF, beginning with six Locals in Miami, Pensacola, West Palm Beach, Saint Petersburg, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. The organization is now comprised of 150 Locals and has grown to represent over 28,100 members across the state.  

“To read clips from 80 years ago from their meetings and witness how we’ve evolved, I think it’s amazing and a testament to our profession and how we’ve grown over the years,” said Bernoska.  

He says the organization is continuing its commitment to make things better for the next generation.

“In previous decades, the organization secured the right to collective bargaining, now enshrined in our state constitution, while cancer coverage is currently a top priority for GP Kelly and the organization,” he said. “As leaders, it is our duty to educate the younger generation about the challenges we’ve faced, so they can appreciate what we have accomplished and pass that knowledge along in the future.”

For more information about the Florida Professional Firefighters, visit their website here.