AFFI Honor Guard

Providing honorable services for fallen AFFI members.

 

Oath:

Honor Guard Oath

Written by Thomas J. Matousek Jr. Forest Park Local #2753

demoTO HONOR, TO CHERISH, TO REMEMBER, TO SALUTE, WITH OVERWHELMING PRIDE FOR YOU, MY COMRADE I WILL.

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2017 Daniel J. Bower Commitment To Excellence Award was awarded to Chris Coomes, Lombard Local #3009.

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IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Colorado Springs, CO September 14-16, 2017

 

 

 

About Us

History of the AFFI Honor Guard:

On January 30, 1993, Illinois union rank and file fire fighters from across the state came together in Springfield, and decided to try something new. Something that some would say could not be done, because it had never been done before. That was to organize a state wide Fire Fighter Honor Guard and as a line of duty death benefit, assist and guide in the conducting and performance of fallen fire fighter line of duty funeral services. We inducted our colors, the AFFI Flag and the AFFI Honor Guard Flag, presented honor guard rocker patches for the uniform and asked 69 fire fighters to uphold and maintain the traditions of the fire service.

AFFI Honor Guard History For a summary of our history, click this link.


The first flag is the AFFI flag. This flag is Red which denoted fire, Blue, water, which the Firefighter divides and conquers the fire and the Maltese cross which is the symbol of the Firefighter. The second is the Honor Guard flag. It is Black which represents Death, Grey which represents Mourning, White which represents Life, Gold which represents the Honorable Intentions of all Firefighters, the Maltese cross and the Broken Heart which is what we all feel when we have lost a member of the fire service. The Induction Ceremony throughout the years went from a one day event to a three day convention which includes the Induction Ceremony and the training of new and old members. So when the call goes out that a Firefighter has died in the Line of Duty, that member could be given an Honorable goodbye.

At this time the Honor Guard became the first State-wide Honor Guard of the IAFF. It has grown to become the single Largest organized Non-Military Honor Guard in the country with approximately 500 members strong and growing every year. We follow the Drill and Ceremony practices of many military organizations and Primary Federal Flag Code when we post the colors at events. The Belief of our Commander is "The Performance of the Honor Guard is only limited by the Imagination of its Commander."



As seen above, our uniform consists of whatever our local department is designated as a Dress uniform and also certain items that are strictly used by the Honor Guard members. The Aiguillette which has two cords, one Black and one White worn around the left arm and was accepted in 1999. The White is worn out when we are posting the colors at conventions, football and baseball games, and other Union events. The Black cord is out during Memorial services that are held to honor our dead and both cords are out when we are at a Line of Duty Death funeral. The Lapel pin is worn over the name tag of the uniform (* the pin location was over the heart, but many departments did not allow any pins below the badge) and was accepted in 1996-97, and the Rocker patch on the left shoulder was accepted in 1993.

Fifteen years later and with over five hundred members, the AFFI Honor Guard is the first and single largest Honor Guard of it's kind in the IAFF. Our members have participated in memorials from the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg, MD to the IAFF Monument in Colorado Springs, CO. We have attended services in Worcester, MA, Keokuk, IA, St. Louis, MO, and New York, NY. We have presented the colors at the IAFF Convention, the AFFI Biennial Conventions, the Illinois Fallen Fire Fighter and Medal of Honor Ceremonies. All this, without once neglecting our responsibilities to our fellow Illinois Fire Fighters who have been killed in the line of duty.

When we are at funerals we are considered Guests, and are there to offer assistance to the local and the family during the service of a fallen Firefighter.

Jay E. Bishop Founder of the AFFI Honor Guard Springfield, Local 37



After 14 years of leading the AFFI Honor Guard as Founder and Commander, Jay Bishop is given this Memorial from 9/11 with actual
debris from Ground Zero at the 2006 AFFI Honor Guard Convention in Itasca, IL. (photo courtesy of Stephan Bates)

 


A new chapter begins in 2006, as Commander Jay Bishop passes along the Commanders Guidon Flag to new State Commander
Thomas J. Matousek Jr from Forest Park Local 2753. (photo courtesy of Stephan Bates)

 

Current State Commander Jeff Bruno from Kankakee Local 653.  Seen here with his family just after taking the reigns of
State Commander Guidon from Thomas J. Matousek Jr. (photo courtesy of Stephan Bates)

 

 

 

 

 

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