This article reprinted from the Prince George's County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association website: http://www.iaff1619.org/
Past President Robert Fuller Passes Away
It is with great sadness that the Officers and Members of the Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association announce the passing of Past President Robert J. Fuller. Brother Fuller served three separate terms as Union President and retired from the Fire Department at the rank of Captain.
Brother Fuller presided over very tumultuous times in the infancy of the newly created combination fire service in Prince Georges County. Following the groundwork laid by his predecessors, Fuller established our organization as a leader in fire service labor relations at the local, national and international level. His legacy continues to serve his successors and benefit the modern day fire service and its members.
Bob Fuller began his career with Prince George’s County Fire Department and worked at Stations 6, 7, 9, 22, 26, and 33. He also had assignments at the Bureau of Training to instruct Career Recruit Schools and Officer Candidate Schools and in the Bureau of Fire Investigations.
Brother Fuller received several Letters of Commendation and other Recognitions of Distinguished Service. Most notably, he was awarded a Medal of Valor for the rescue of an entrapped occupant from a burning vehicle. He was off duty at the time. Fuller also received recognition for actions at an overturned gasoline tanker. After securing a protective hose line, he waded through gasoline to close the hatches on the top of the tanker, thus reducing the spill and overall danger.
As Union President, Bob placed his career in jeopardy on several occasions. He constantly tested the will of politicians in his efforts to secure the best working conditions for his Union Brothers and Sisters. Bob was not afraid of any politician. Fuller was very adept at politics and worked hard to develop relationships with friendly politicos, and worked even harder to take down labor’s enemies. He began the practice of picketing County offices and work sites to bring our message to the public. Politicians soon realized that our Union was a strong and vocal political force.
Fuller also presided over the signing of the first Collective Bargaining Agreement between IAFF Local 1619 and Prince Georges County. Furthermore, he led the initiative for the establishment of the ranks of Career Lieutenant and Career Battalion Captain, ranks which eventually evolved to Career Battalion Chief and Major. Prior to this time, Sergeant was the highest rank in the career service.
Bob Fuller was a true leader for his time. While Local 1619 fought the battles that had to be fought, Bob Fuller always treated people with respect. When the Union didn’t even have an office, Bob Fuller was embraced by the volunteer membership at Station 22, and given a desk directly facing the desk of the volunteer chief, a situation that was unheard of at the time. From there he conducted the business of the Union until the Association was able to purchase its first Union House on Mitchellville Road. Furthermore, while assigned to Station 22, Bob was able to persuade the Fire Department management to experiment with having a career driver and officer on shift work. This ultimately led the way for fully staffed shifts, providing around the clock coverage to the County.
After retirement, Brother Fuller continued a distinguished life in public service. He served as a Member of the Charles County Board of Education from 1982-90, a Member of the Charles County Board of Health from 1990-2006, various terms on the Charles County Board of Fire and Rescue, and most notably as a Member of the Charles County Board of County Commissioners from 1990-2006, where he served the last four years as its Vice President.
The legacy that Bob Fuller leaves is one of honesty, integrity, hard work and common sense. The results are the working conditions, salaries and benefits that our members continue to enjoy. Bob set the bar for successive Union leaders to improve these benefits through each new collective bargaining agreement.
Bob Fuller will always be remembered as a very fun loving enigmatic leader. He loved the fire service, and loved the idea of serving others. His contributions to the Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association, to the fire service, and to his community shall not be forgotten.
The visitation for Bob Fuller will be held on Friday, December 9, 2011 and the service information is as follows:
Raymond Funeral Service
5635 Washington Ave
La Plata, MD 20646
Visiting hours will be from 2 to 4 PM, and 6 to 8 PM. A service will be held at 7 PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of the following organizations:
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation,
P.O. Drawer 498,
Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727.
WHC Burn Center Fund
C/O, IAFF Local 1619,
13701 Old Jericho Park Rd,
Bowie, Maryland, 20720