Our volunteer department is looking into setting up either an honorary or lifetime membership for members who leave or retire in good standing. Does anyone's department have either of these. What is the criteria? How many years of service, etc. Also, have there been any major problems associated with the program. We would appreciate your input.

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My company has a 'Lifetime Members" program. I believe that you achieve Life membership by being in the company for 25 years. All of our life members are really getting up there in age, so they don't come to calls, drill, or meetings. But they are still members, just not active. They get invited to our annual Christmas party, but that's all they really come around for. We have never had any problems with it, as far as I know.
we have two catagories. Retired and Honorary. If a member puts in 20 years or more they can retire from our vol. dept and be consided a retired fireman. If they have between 10-20 years and decide to retire the membership can vote on them to consider them an honorary fireman.

Both retired and honorary members get invited to all department functions. Christmas parties, breakfasts, steak fries, summer picnic, ect.

This all came from a movement started by some who felt we needed something more than a plaque and free meal with which to recognize long term members. After 20 years of active duty, any member can request exemption from any one or all of our requirements for, alarm response, truck inspection assignments, monthly meeting attendance, committee participation and/or drill participation. Once granted, they have "Life Member" status. They can be as active as they want as long as they stay qualified in their area(s) of participation OR they can drop out of sight as many have. Those choosing to be exempt from both meetings and drills loose their voting privilidges. That is a very important defense against having a growing number of uninvolved retirees becoming a significant voting bloc. Anyway they all stay on all mailing an invitation lists and are encouraged to take part. Few do. Generally it works well here. A down side might be that the team would benefit most from having ALL members be equally involved. I am among those weird few who dont think the term "Life Member" sounds like a real reward. The first 48 years have been the hardest. Keep The Faith Anita.
We currently have life member and honorary member categories, however no one knows what an honorary member is. Some of the definitions above may help us figure that out.

A life member has to have 20 years of active service and the recommendation by the Board of Directors in order to achieve this. Once voted a life member one does not have to pay dues.

Problems occur when a member thinks he/she has been active for 20 years but the training records indicate otherwise. Having a clear definition of what constitutes an "active" member (vs. service, social etc.) will help minimize these problems.

We are presently working on expanding this to active and retired life member categories.
We have both. We honor special people that are not members with Honorary membership. Example the Governor came to town and we wanted him to visit us. Honorary Member and helmet gift. Life Member is a formerly active member with 25 years of service. Eligible to go to calls and vote at meetings but no requirments to stay a member. Unless they want to continue to fight fires then training etc.

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