Wanted—More Dick Vernors!

Wanted—More Dick Vernors!


The untimely death of Richard “Dick” Vernor, chronicled elsewhere in this issue of FIRE ENGINEERING, removed from the nation’s fire protection and prevention scene an unforgettable and irreplaceable figure. For it is doubtful if there will ever be another Dick Vernor in our day.

His passing reminds us sharply of the cogent need of the fire service of our country for true leaders. Not that Dick’s work which he began and directed so well will cease with him—to permit the Fire Department Instructors Conference to wither and die merely because he will no longer be its guiding genius would reflect upon his administrative leadership which anticipated the ultimate day when he would step aside, and which provided for his successors to carry on.

Knowing those of his own staff in Chicago, and his other loyal co-workers from coast to coast, we are sure that FDIC will continue to go forward. And what better, more fitting monument to Dick and his favorite enterprise could there be than to perpetuate the Instructors Conference? Indeed, if there ever was inducement to still further expand FDIC effectiveness and scope, Dick’s passing has provided that incentive.

Next year is to mark the 25th anniversary of the FDIC in Memphis. Dick Vernor looked forward with eager anticipation to making it the greatest, most outstanding of all conferences in FDIC’s long history. It would be unthinkable to pass up this opportunity to honor Founder Dick and FDIC by failing to join ranks to perpetuate and promote it to new heights, new successes. To this end FIRE ENGINEERING pledges its fullest support.

We spoke above of true leaders and the need for more Dick Vernors in our chosen field of fire suppression.

Those who have opportunity to observe and study the shifting scene in the nation’s fire service—and no one can deny it is changing in all its fundamentals today—are aware of the necessity for more top-flight leaders, and leadership, to direct and administer our municipal, industrial and government fire services, and those associations, agencies and other bodies through which our many-sided fire services express themselves.

If the critical times in which we live and work and play have produced, and are developing fire suppression problems which our forefather firefighters—great and small—never envisaged, and to meet these problems calls for firemanship of higher caliber and endeavor than was ever before dreamed of, then it stands to reason that our leaders of the fire service must possess a higher degree of all these qualities which make for leadership.

Death and retirement are removing from the upper echelons of the service men to whom the rest of us in the vast business and profession of fire protection and prevention have looked for guidance and inspiration.

There is a great spirit of emulation in the fire service. The fire department in one population bracket looks to and perhaps envies its larger neighbor. Its neighbor, in turn, yearns for the advantages and distinction possessed by a still larger department. And so on, ad infinitum. With fire chiefs it is the same.

Mere size, of course, does not connote greatness or leadership, but it commands respect if nothing else. Leadership, however, inspires emulation. And emulation, in turn, ofttimes produces new leaders.

There are still other outstanding figures in the fire service and allied with it, to carry on in the Dick Vernor tradition. But there should be more. There can be more, and there can be a higher degree and quality of leadership if we follow the example of Dick Vernor, and carry forward the principles, policies, precepts and programs for which he stood.

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