Heather Schafer, the National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) chief executive officer, passed away suddenly on March 15. Heather had helmed the organization, which also marked its 45th anniversary on March 15, for 27 years and the NVFC saw dramatic growth and success under her leadership.
“It is with a deeply heavy heart that we announce the loss of Heather Schafer, who has been an integral part of the NVFC for more than half its existence,” said NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “She will be greatly missed by the NVFC staff, board, members, and the entire fire and emergency services community. She was a visionary, and we are grateful for all she has done to further the NVFC’s mission. Her legacy won’t be forgotten.”
Heather joined the NVFC in 1993 and took on the role of CEO in 1994. She managed the NVFC’s internal and external operations and played an integral role in developing and implementing the organization’s strategic plan. During her tenure, the NVFC grew immensely – from hundreds of members and a staff of two, to over 25,000 members and a staff of 11.
With Heather’s leadership, the NVFC secured federal grants that allowed the organization to offer groundbreaking programs and resources. She led the development of the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program, Fire Corps, Share the Load program, Make Me A Firefighter program, and more. She also formed many partnerships and collaborations that benefited the volunteer emergency services community. In addition, she oversaw the NVFC’s advocacy efforts, which resulted in many victories for the fire and emergency services over the years.
Heather’s contributions to the organization cannot be overstated. Her guidance and vision will have a lasting impact on the NVFC and the volunteer fire and emergency services. Heather’s commitment, innovation, and passion for the organization’s mission has helped to shape the NVFC into what it has become.
In addition to her work with the NVFC, Heather volunteered at her local fire department and loved to kayak and spend time with family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her loved ones as they navigate this very difficult time.
The service details are as follows.
John M. Taylor Funeral Home
147 Duke of Gloucester St. Annapolis, MD 21401
Tuesday, March 23, from 6-8pm
Wednesday, March 24, from 12-1pm
Wednesday, March 24, at 1pm
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In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, a nonprofit providing the freedom and therapeutic value of boating for those with disabilities or recovering warriors, or the National Volunteer Fire Council.
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