Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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Wildland Firefighter Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to fallen firefighters' families and to firefighters injured in the line of duty. They do not receive government funding, therefore services are available for anyone performing wildland duties: volunteers, contract firefighters, agency firefighters, pilots, equipment operators, etc.
The Foundation’s first priority has always been to wildland firefighters and their families. We strive to provide immediate assistance to help with financial needs that can quickly become a crisis for a family who has just lost their breadwinner.
In 1994, the Foundation began using a purple ribbon as a memorial symbol for line of duty deaths of our wildland firefighters. In 1998 the fire was put in the middle to represent the heart of the memorial being put in the center of NIFC.
Donations help the Foundation to:
- Provide immediate travel assistance to get an injured firefighter's family to their firefighter's bedside and assist with expenses for families while their firefighter is recovering.
- Arrange travel for crews to be able to take their fallen brothers home.
- Network crews and families with information and support after an injury or fatality.
- Give financial assistance to families of wildland firefighters killed in the line of duty, ensuring the home is maintained and children are provided for.
- Help an injured wildland firefighter meet their financial needs until they receive benefits, or are able to go back to work.
- Track injured firefighters to ensure they are receiving worker's comp benefits.
- Assist children returning to school after the loss of a parent.
- Ensure survivors are able to attend "Family Fire" the Foundation's annual gathering of families, co-workers, and wildland fire service personnel. Families share their path of healing and their children meet other kids struggling with the loss of a parent.
Secondly, the Foundation has worked diligently to provide avenues for recognition and honor for wildland firefighters, past, present and future. Those efforts include:
- Ongoing collaboration with the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to plan, develop, maintain, and sustain the Wildland Firefighter Monument.
- Placing wildland firefighter statues in public venues.
- Creation and installation of markers at the Monument.
And, third, the Foundation will support programs and partners that work toward reducing the potential and probability of Wildland Firefighters being injured or killed in preventable line of duty deaths.
In 1994 thirty-four wildland firefighters were killed in the line of duty. Fourteen men and women died in a single incident on the South Canyon, or what is known by most as the “Storm King” fire, in Colorado. The loss of so many wildland firefighters caused tremendous grief to many, and helped spur the idea to form some type of entity that could help the families of the fallen. Vicki Minor, a private contractor, was running a dry-goods commissary on a fire in New Mexico at the time Storm King occurred. Ms. Minor was so touched by what had happened and couldn’t help but wonder who was helping the families through the tragedy – most specifically, how would they get by financially until they received some benefits. She donated a large sum of her own money to go toward helping the families and recognizing those who had died.
After working a number of years with government fire agency staff, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation was formed and created in 1999, becoming fully incorporated with by-laws and a mission statement. The Foundation was a mix of private individuals and government employees, serving in a liaison capacity, that helped bring about the groundbreaking and subsequent dedication in May 2000, of the Wildland Firefighters National Monument at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, located in Boise, Idaho. The Foundation receives funding through private donations from individuals, organizations, corporations, and foundations. Their Board of Directors represent the private sector, fire service, survivor families, and government. All members have a strong interest in the wildland firefighting community. The Foundation is in the process of forming an Advisory Board to lend additional expertise and support to the Foundation’s programs.
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation relies on private donations to provide financial assistance to families when their firefighter suffers an injury or death and to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service. Donations help to provide long-term survivor support and recognition to past, present, and future wildland firefighters.