For 15 years, Steve Cohen, president of Lighthouse has made available a dress uniform for burial purposes to any family suffering a Line of Duty Death (LODD). This program has been utilized by many departments across the U.S.
The new program, The Bereavement Uniform Program is exactly the same program without a LODD requirement. The BUP makes a dress uniform available for burial purposes, at no cost, to any family in need.
This is a collaborative effort between the fire service and the Lighthouse Company. It calls for departments and firefighters to check their “closets” for dress uniforms, surpluses, or no longer fitting and to send them to Lighthouse, where they will be cleaned, refurbished, reconfigured to rank and made available to any family requesting one for burial purposes, at “no cost” to the family. The only charge is for freight which will be billed to the affiliated department.
A dedicated Bereavement Uniform Program website has been created for the departments convenience and regardless whether your department will be donators or recipients, please consider linking the program to your website home page. Doing so will insure easy, timely access for all your people, active and retired, it will serve as a reminder to “check the closet” and it will keep the program at the top of Internet searches.
For more information, to get “linked up” and make the program available to your people, call the Lighthouse directly at 800-426-5225.
Several national associations have already stepped up including the IAFC, the Federation of Fire Chaplains, http://firechaplains.org/LighthouseUniform,and the National Volunteer Fire Council, http://nvfc.org/hot-topics/lodd-resources.
North and South Carolina has the opportunity to take the lead at the local level so lets try to support the program.
The tag line of the Bereavement Uniform Program is “Taking Care of Those Who took Care of Us”™, but maybe Nebraska Fire Chief Association Pres. Chief Troy Shoemaker said it best, “Truly one of the most important ways to honor our departed member’s courage, sacrifice and devotion to our departments and the fire service.”
I had the opportunity to meet Steve Cohen at the SEAFC Conference in North Charleston last month and want everyone know that he is very dedicated in providing the firefighters the honor due them when they have given the ultimate sacrifice.
Chief Daniel Cimini is Chief of Surfside Beach Fire Department, Surfside Beach, S.C.