Ever wonder what happens to fire service members who retire? Our unofficial observations, without any formal research, include the following: some in effect "disappear" from the fire service, preferring to spend their time with family and friends, perhaps traveling and engaging in other pursuits and hobbies. Some stay connected through maintaining fire service friendships, and attending fire department functions such as retirement gatherings or dinners. Some stay engaged through teaching or otherwise providing support. Some increase commitments to charitable causes or community efforts, such as disaster preparedness or church activities.
One ongoing gathering still happening decades later was the brainchild of Tiburon Fire Chief Frank Buscher, or so we believe. This group is called ROMEOs, standing for Retired Old Men Eating Out. A related and similar group was called FELLAS, or Fire Executives of Long Long Ago. The groups appear to have been started in the 1970's or 1980's, and included social gatherings at the Corinthian Yacht Club & Tiburon Tommies, popular spots in Tiburon and Belvedere. Dinners and lunches have been held. Today ROMEOs still holds a monthly "First Wednesday" no-host lunch with an open invitation, typically at the WildFox Restaurant in Ignacio, on the west side of Highway 101.
Read more about the ROMEO and FELLA group histories from Frank's son, retired San Rafael FD Battalion Chief Jeff Buscher. We've also posted a new photo of the Marin County FD lunch group, and hope to gain some historical information soon. Visit our page under the "Current Associations" menu, and see some great photos, including those at the most recent ROMEO lunch. Thanks to retired Mill Valley Chief Jeff Davidson for sharing the recent ROMEO photos, and to Jim Mann, retired from Marin County FD, for their group photo of a lunch last year..
Our Blog announces new site content, and gives the context of the topic and it's relationship to fire service history. Written by Bill Lellis & Paul Smith