Uniformly Different

by Steve Cohen, President
The Lighthouse Uniform Company Home of the Bereavement Uniform Program

The Lighthouse Uniform Company has for almost 17 years, made available with the help of theFederation of Fire Chaplains, a program called the Fallen Fire Fighter Dress Uniform Program. The Program’s sole purpose is to make available a Class A Dress Uniform for burial purposes, to any family losing a firefighter in the line of duty. It is provided with the hope that in some small way, it helps with the grieving process and to let firefighters across the country know we are thinking of them and we appreciate all they do in all of our communities. There is no cost to the family and while we don’t keep track, the Program has responded to well over 150 requests in the last 17 years.

Recently, the Lighthouse started a new program called the Bereavement Uniform Program. It is an offshoot of the Fallen Fire Fighter Dress Uniform Program. It is an active response to families of firefighters finding themselves in need of ‘end game’ help. A little background. Many times over the course of administering the Fallen Fire Fighter Dress Uniform Program, we’ve had difficult conversations about qualifying ‘line of duty death’. We’ve discovered there is a whole generation of firefighters, mostly retired now, who dedicated their lives to the Fire Service, never owned a dress uniform, and are beginning to pass away. Their families want to give them a ‘fireman’s funeral’ but they don’t qualify for the Fallen Fire Fighter Dress Uniform. It doesn’t mean they don’t deserve one. It means there needs to be a different program and that’s what gave rise to the Lighthouse Bereavement Uniform Program.

Steve Cohen

Unfortunately, the Lighthouse can’t afford to provide free dress uniforms to every firefighter who passes away. However, we did what we could to help these families with the Lighthouse Bereavement Uniform Program. As it turns out, the solution and success of the Bereavement Uniform Program actually hangs in the closets of many fire departments around the country and to that end we are reaching out and asking them to send us their ‘surplus and no longer used dress uniforms which we will clean, refurbish, re-rank as necessary and make them available to those families wanting/needing a Bereavement Uniform, at no cost’. We will also create a page on our website to acknowledge and honor those departments who so generously and graciously gave to make this program work. Likewise, we will also send a shipping call tag, upon request, so there’s no ‘out of pocket’ cost incurred by participating departments. This is an opportunity to do something meaningful and important. It is an opportunity to “take care of those who took care of us”. With your help, it is doable. To find out more, call 1-800-426-5225 (Seattle time) or email me,Steve Cohen.

Here is an excerpt from a note Steve Cohen recently received:

“Chief [Dave] Squires read the email and noted that we have two Class A Uniforms hanging in our station closet from two past Deputy Fire Chief’s. No one fits them and he thought this idea of Bereavement Uniform Program through Lighthouse Uniforms is awesome. We are in the process of packaging our Class A’s for shipment to Seattle. Please join the program- we think it is worthy of your support.” Janice Melvin, Administrative Assistant City of Seward [AK] Fire Department/ Building Department (907) 224-3445

Also, Steve was proud to share that “Ken Riddle, Director of the Nevada Fire Chiefs Association presented the program to Al Gillespie, the incoming president of the IAFC, who thought it was an idea worth getting behind and is working on the best way to involve the IAFC.”

History of the Lighthouse: Lighthouse Uniform Company, family owned and operated in Seattle, WA since 1955, has made dressing up Firefighters its primary business. In its inception, the Lighthouse was a small, stand alone retail store. It has morphed into a nationally oriented Fire Service dress uniform manufacturer and occupies a unique place in America’s Dress Uniform distribution network. Please visit The Lighthouse Uniform Company. “The Lighthouse has a long retail history, a committed sensitivity and feeling of family with its firefighter customers, an understanding and recognition of holes in a firefighter and firefighter’s family’s emotional well being ‘safety net’ and a want and willingness to do what we can to make sure ‘we take care of those who took care of us’. We like to think of ourselves as ‘uniformly different’”.