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Bereavement Uniform Program (BUP) Says THANK YOU to Maryland and the MSFA
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By Chief Jimmy Seavey
August 26, 2017

Greetings to the Maryland Fire Service Community from all at Lighthouse Uniform Company, home of the Bereavement Uniform Program (BUP).

After almost five years, the BUP has come to the end of its beginning.  The program is up, running and available to all and the opportunity for every firefighter, paid or volunteer, active or retired, to answer their ‘last call’ in a Class A at no charge to the family, is now a reality…

… and it is time to thank those who were instrumental in getting the program to where it is today.

A big thank you is in order to the Maryland State Firemens’ Association for taking the lead in making sure all in Maryland had awareness of the BUP.

Additionally and more importantly, this thank you recognizes that associations don’t really do anything.  People do and the following folks were instrumental in making sure enough surplus dress uniforms were donated to accommodate all the requests.

I am very pleased to say that members of Maryland’s firefighting community were among the ‘most generous’, and demonstrated on numerous occasions a willingness to ‘step up’ and put their surplus dress uniforms where their hearts were.

Among those that led from the front;

--> MSFA Trustee Doug Alexander who was there from the beginning and who lent his weight to the promotion of the BUP.  Without a doubt, Doug’s efforts were a driving force behind the BUP’s success in Maryland and it is safe to say, the Bereavement Uniform Program would not be where it is today without his presence.

--> Hull FD’ retired Chief Robert Hollingshead, the first person in the continental United States to donate a surplus uniform to the BUP 

--> Chief Jimmy Seavey, who put the BUP on his back and did his best to get the IAFC and VCOS interested

--> ...and last but not least, to all the departments and individuals who sent in their surplus dress uniforms.  Without them, the program couldn’t work. You can find their donations memorialized on the Bereavement Uniform Program’s ‘Be Remembered’ Wall of Fame.

The next phase of the BUP is two-fold. It is less glamorous and more difficult and hopefully, this note will inspire those not yet involved to ‘throw their surplus dress uniforms and voices’ into the ring.

Surprisingly, what’s proving most difficult, getting the BUP message into the hands of the smaller and volunteer departments.  That message; the Bereavement Uniform Program is not charity in any way, shape or form.  It is an ‘earned’ recognition of service and a benefit that

‘comes with the job’.  It is a thank you from the Lighthouse to the Fire Service.  It is a thank you from the Fire Service to itself and it is an extraordinary opportunity for the firefighting community to do something very special for those that call it ‘family’.

The second thing is to keep those surplus dress uniforms coming.  Without donated dress uniforms, a unique opportunity to raise the level and manner in how America’s Fire Service ‘takes care of all its members’ will be lost and the Bereavement Uniform Program will join other ‘good ideas’ in the dust bin of history.

Don’t let it happen on our watch.

Respectfully yours,

Steve Cohen, Pres.

Lighthouse Uniform Company

Hyperlinks: Home of the Bereavement Uniform Program
 
Attachments:
Attachment BUP Manual 'Don't Make Them Ask' Bobby Halton.pdf  (3,660k)
 
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