NFFF is a proud promotional sponsor of the F.I.E.R.O PPE Symposium in Raleigh, NC. The Symposium is a hard hitting, factual series of presentations about the PPE that most firefighters use on a regular basis. The topics covered at the PPE Symposium support Initiatives 7 and 16 of the Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives.
During the PPE Symposium, Chief Bruce Varner and Pat Freeman from Globe present the Bruce Teele Award to Rich Duffy in recognition for his dedication to firefighter safety.
More About the Bruce W. Teele Excellence Award
Bruce Teele had a passion for the Fire Service and for Fire Fighters. He spent his entire 40+ year career at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) working on standards that directly affected the safety and welfare of Firefighters. Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) was one of his first projects, others are too numerous to list. In addition to managing all of the committees responsible for the documents in the Protective Clothing and Equipment for Fire and Emergency services project, Bruce also was the staff liaison for NFPA 1500, 1710 and 1720.
During his tenure at NFPA Bruce authored and coauthored several NFPA books.
Bruce maintained an unwavering sense of fairness and doing the right thing for the members of the fire service. He accomplished a great deal through relationships and helping us understand that the standards process while not perfect would develop better products for the end users. He held our feet to the fire to accomplish the necessary work, reminding us of deadlines, and comments due. Sometimes in the midst of a heated discussion, his copy of “Roberts Rules of Order” would suddenly appear to remind us of proper procedure and civility. His uncanny abilities as an editor would take the rough text of firefighters, testing agencies, federal agencies, and manufacturers and turn it into the “standards language” of an NFPA document, with meticulous precision the “I’s” dotted and the “t’s” crossed.
Bruce was always concerned that all members of a committee were heard and their ideas or points of view were given the opportunity to be expressed. He would patiently (mostly) explain the NFPA codes and standards process, and explain why we could not just tell the comment submitter “no” or “yes with changes” without proper documentation and reason. When he gave you information it was unwaveringly accurate.
He loved travel, good wine, Italian food, animals, and most of all, his wife Marjorie. Bruce knew Switzerland and Italy better than a lot of locals and developed many friendships starting with his assignment in Germany while in the Army.
A committee meeting in the Boston area also included trips to the Teele house, (and the delightful experience of Marjorie’s cooking), the North End, or East Boston for delightful food, drink, and friendship. Over the years there are literally hundreds of stories that can be told of such trips.
Since his retirement in December of 2010 Bruce has suffered from rapid progression of early onset, Alzheimer’s disease and is currently living in an Alzheimer’s care unit at a nursing facility in the Boston area. I recently read an article about Alzheimer’s which described it as the ultimate thief – a thief of memories, independence, control and ultimately, life. With this award we will honor both Bruce and those that continue to give of their time and talents to keep firefighters safer.