Legendary Labor Leader Vincent J. Bollon Dies

IAFF.org - March 30, 2011

Long-time labor leader and former New York City firefighter and fire officer Vincent J. Bollon, 77, passed away March 28 at his home in Fairfax County, Virginia. Bollon served as General Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Fire Fighters from 1988 until 2010, making him the second-longest serving principal officer in the 92-year history of the IAFF. He retired in January 2010.

"Vinnie Bollon dedicated his life to the fire service and the IAFF. He worked with distinction and then shared his experience and leadership with the International in the second phase of his career. Vinnie did so much for fire fighters and the IAFF throughout his long career. Everyone in the fire service is better off because of his achievements," IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said.

Bollon joined the FDNY in 1959, fulfilling his ambition to be a New York City firefighter. During his firefighting career he served as a firefighter in the busiest fire station in the Bronx and as a fire officer in the busiest fire station in Harlem. He was awarded FDNY's Medal for Bravery, twice; and presented with meritorious medals for service on nine separate occasions.

Bollon was an extraordinary union leader going back to his first election in 1975 as the Financial Recording Secretary for Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94. After his promotion to Lieutenant in 1977, he continued his union service to Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) Local 854 and was first elected to the Local 854 Executive Board in 1978 and served as the President of Local 854 for eight years. He was also first vice chairman of the largest fire fighter pension fund in the United States and Canada from 1980 to 1988. Most recently he was chairman of the NFPA Pension Fund and a trustee on the Fairfax County, Virginia, Uniformed Retirement System.

"Vinnie Bollon was not only a true legend in the labor movement and an icon in the hearts of fire fighters across the United States and Canada, but as General Secretary-Treasurer he was a true champion and steward of our membership's assets. His contribution is beyond measure," said IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer Thomas H. Miller.

While in New York City, Bollon was instrumental in enacting legislation for fire fighters throughout the State of New York, protecting their benefits and their occupational health and safety. In addition, he drafted and helped secure the passage of the New York State First Line Supervisors Law, which provides officer training at state expense for newly promoted first line supervisors in all New York State paid fire departments. He also served on the boards of directors for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), New York State Fire Safety Advisory Board, New York City Fire Museum and John Jay College.

"Vinnie Bollon was an honest, forward looking and inspiring leader," said Al Hagan, President of the New York Uniformed Officers Association. "Even after leaving the presidency of Local 854, Vinnie stayed in contact with our leadership to provide wise advice and counsel. Not only will the officers and members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association miss Vinnie Bollon, the entire FDNY will miss him and keep him in our prayers."

Steve Cassidy, President of UFA Local 94 President added, "His time as a line firefighter and Local 94 officer is legendary here in New York. He earned three individual citations and together with the members of Ladder 31, earned several unit citations for courage, bravery and rescues. On behalf of the Local 94 Executive Board and all Local 94 members, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Vincent J. Bollon."

During Bollon's 21 years as the IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer he succeeded in implementing new programs, processes and tools to assist local union leadership with financial, membership and accounting issues. He worked diligently to grow union membership, not just in finances and numbers, but in influence within the North American labor movement.

He leaves his wife, Linda; his children Janice and her husband Ron Roveto, Suzanne Bollon, Chrysee Bollon, and Kathleen and her husband Walter Scott; and his grandchildren Jennifer, Steven, Matthew, Nicholas, Caitlin, and Brianne.

The IAFF, headquartered in Washington, represents more than 298,000 fire fighters and paramedics in North America. More information is available at www.iaff.org.