News release from the Fort Wayne Fire Department:
Local Fire Departments “Play a Round” to Benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
(August 5, 2014) – The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), along with the Allen County Fire Chiefs Association are hosting the 4th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Golf Tournament at Autumn Ridge Golf Club (11420 Auburn Road, Fort Wayne). This event will be held on Thursday, August 7 and Friday, August 8, 2014.
Firefighters from across Indiana and surrounding states will kick off the two-day event Thursday, at 5 p.m. with a tailgate style barbecue at the IAFF Local 124’s Union Hall (1405 Broadway) followed by a TinCaps baseball game. On Friday, 34 teams of golfers tee off at Autumn Ridge with a shotgun start at approximately 12:30 p.m. immediately following Opening Ceremonies beginning at noon. After golf, guests will enjoy dinner, door prizes, a silent auction and awards ceremony.
“This event is so much more than firefighters playing a round of golf,” says event coordinator Ed Lytal, EMS Chief, New Haven/Adams Twp. Fire and EMS. “Everyone involved in this outing, firefighters, sponsors and volunteers, are here to support the mission of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. We are here to pay tribute and reaffirm those lost in the line of duty are never forgotten – nor are their families.”
A National Effort
In 1992 Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to honor America’s fallen firefighters. A not-for-profit foundation, the NFFF works to honor and remember America’s fallen heroes and provide resources including scholarships, workshops and conferences to assist the survivors in rebuilding their lives. The NFFF also works to educate firefighters on preventing future fire service injuries and fatalities.
In 2004, the first Fallen Firefighters Memorial Golf Tournament was held to raise awareness and to help sustain the programs of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Now in its tenth year, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Golf has grown to include over 35 regional golf tournaments.
Bringing the Effort Local
Four years ago, Lytal decided to bring this national effort to Fort Wayne and host the only NFFF Golf Outing in Indiana. As a supporter of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Lytal saw the Memorial Golf Tournament as a way for members of local departments to get together and support the work of the NFFF and the brotherhood notorious to the Fire Service industry. Since 2011, with the help of a committee comprised of Allen County Firefighters and line of duty death survivors, the Fort Wayne NFFF Memorial Golf event has raised more than $60K and it continues to grow.
A Local Angle
Prior to bringing the golf event to Fort Wayne, Ed Lytal had supported the NFFF’s mission. “The work of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is what ‘brotherhood’ is all about. In our line of work, it is comforting to know there are people/organizations like NFFF that are there to help a family and support them at their greatest time of need. ” Lytal never imagined he himself would benefit from the NFFF at his greatest time of need.
On May 24, 2014, while visiting family in Omaha, NE, Lytal experienced a parent’s worst nightmare: a call from Columbus, OH Police explaining his daughter Erin, 24- years old, was involved in a horrific car accident and her prognosis was not good. As he rushed to get to his daughter’s bedside, Lytal placed a call to his friend and Survivor Sharon Purdy, who also serves as a NFFF ambassador. When Lytal’s plane landed in Columbus, transportation to Erin’s bedside was already arranged. And in the days that followed, Lytal learned that his lodging, meals and even his laundry were handled by the Columbus Fire Department and Retired Deputy Chief Jim Larsen: all NFFF supporters.
“The support the foundation’s family provided weighs in my heart all day every day. I can now only begin to imagine how much it helps the survivors of our fallen. While I have always been heavily involved with the foundation, when asked what the NFFF does, I say with personal conviction â€˜we make a difference in the lives of the families and survivors.’ Believe me, NFFF makes a huge difference.”
Hosts of this event include New Haven/Adams Twp. Fire and EMS, Huntertown Fire Department, Fort Wayne Fire Department, Southwest Fire District, and IAFF Local 124. Sponsors of the golf outing include Parkview, Protechs, Autumn Ridge, BF Goodrich, Nationwide Insurance, Fort Wayne Cardiology and many others.
For more information contact Ed Lytal at (260) 341-9647.