Hawaiians are working hard to recover from the devastating Maui wildfires that claimed the lives of at least 115 people and displaced thousands, including 18 Hawaiian Islands Local 1463 fire fighters. The IAFF Foundation has provided dollars to the displaced members and a second peer support team will be on the ground just after Labor Day.
“When we say we’ll be there to the end, we mean it,” said General President Edward Kelly. “And, as our brothers and sisters work to heal from these fires, peer support is crucial to manage the stress and trauma of what Local 1463 courageously responded to.”
10th District Vice President Stephen Gilman agreed.
“Our members are always our number one priority,” he said. “We will always be there when they need us.”
“Our members really appreciate all the assistance that has been coming in from the IAFF and elsewhere. But it’s still a lot to process,” said Hawaii State Fire Fighters Association President Robert Lee. “Having peer support counseling available to help them digest what they have gone through and what will need to be done to get their lives back to normal is an invaluable service.”
IAFF affiliates, like the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) through its Maui Wildfire Relief Fund, are also doing what they can to help.
“One hundred percent of the money donated to our relief fund will be given to the Hawaii State Fire Fighters Association to assist their members and the Maui community,” said CPF President Brian Rice on Instagram. “Every little bit counts. We want to do as much as we can.”
IAFF locals are also raising money to assist. Orange County, CA Local 3631 has a non-profit Fallen Firefighters Relief Fund, which helps fire fighters in need. Members have raised $50,000 for Maui relief.
In an effort to swiftly provide the funds to members in need, Local 3631 President Chris Hamm traveled to Hawaii to deliver the check personally to Lee at Lahaina Fire Station 3.
“Our brother and sister fire fighters who lost everything in those fires are still responding to emergencies every day. And we wanted to do something to help,” said Hamm. “We just hope this money will be enough to relieve a bit of stress so they can continue to do what they do best, which is serving their community.”
Kelly, who will visit Maui members after Labor Day with Gilman and General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, said the outpouring of support speaks to the familial bonds of the IAFF.
“Great accomplishments require a total team effort,” he noted. “Together, we will do everything we can to support our brothers and sisters on Maui.”