EFD RETIREES BRIGADE HISTORY
For a number of years prior to April,1985, Roger Frost often wondered if a ‘retirees program’ could benefit our retired, and soon to be retired Firefighters. With that thought in mind and his never-ending consideration and concern for the well being of his fellow man, Roger arranged meetings with the Fire Chief, Bob Walker, and the Union Executive, concerning the possible formation of such an organization. He was pleased that both parties were very supportive to the concept. With this encouragement, Roger sent off questionnaires to forty fire departments across Canada, requesting information on their programs, to use as guidance. The response was fairly light. He heard back from only seven cities. This indicated to Roger that he would pretty well be building a program from scratch.
A letter dated April 8, 1985, was sent to all retired fire fighters at that time, requesting their presence and interest in the formation of a retiree’s organization. The first meeting was scheduled for April 24, 1985 at the Fire Department Training School. Guests attending this meeting were Fire Chief Bob Walker, EFD Chaplin, Bill Graham, President of the Fellowship of Christian Fire Fighters, Glen Spratt and EAP Coordinator, Dave Loewen. There were 31 retirees present. ‘The Edmonton Fire Department Retirees’ name and organization was formed at this meeting. Roger was President and Murray Sokolan became Secretary. The group decided that they would have quarterly meetings, and hold two luncheons each year, consisting of a Spring Luncheon, and an annual Jack Staton Memorial Luncheon in the fall. Jack Staton was a firefighter who founded the Firefighters Credit Union. All social functions would be attended by retirees, their wives and the widows of Retirees.
A Phoning Committee consisting of eight men was formed. It was decided that an annual donation of $5.00 per member would be requested. From this point forward, Roger, his good wife Eleanor and Murray Sokolan bore most of the workload in organizing, mailing, phoning and a lot of running around etc.
In November1985, Roger requested permission from the City of Edmonton Chief Corporate Communications Officer, to use the title ‘The Edmonton Fire Department Retirees’, as an official name. Permission was granted in April 1986. In May 1986, Benny Stein organized the first annual Sports Day and Pig Roast. This function would be held on the first Saturday after the May long week end. Needless to say, the Pig Roast has become a very enjoyable and popular event. Pig Roast #31 was held in June 2017. Towards the end of 1988, Roger advised the membership that he wished to step down as President, to make way for new blood and new ideas. Roger’s shoes were too big to fill, and so he continued to be very involved for the next year or two.
Further ground work by Roger, consisted of seeking a small office area, from EFD Administration. In January 1990, this was achieved with available space at Station 5. Previously of course, Roger and Eleanor’s home had been the Retirees address and office. It was at about this time that Otto Kruger became Secretary and was very involved in working with Roger establishing the office at Station #5 and organizing the filing system. Sometime during the early 90’s. Roger and Benny Stein coined the name ‘The EFD Retirees Brigade’.
The number of Retirees has grown from approximately 150 in 1985 to 790 in early 2018. We now have four social events a year. They are the Spring Luncheon, Pig Roast and Golf Tournament, Fall Luncheon and Christmas Party.
Thanks to Roger Frost and all the Executive members that have followed. The EFD Retirees Brigade is the envy of many Departments across Canada and parts of the USA.