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Faces of Florida ... real people, real stories

The FPPTA is gathering testimonials that portray the real-life experiences of Florida’s public employees. It is designed to reveal the real people behind the public discussion about public employee benefits.
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  • Steve Aspinall
    Homicide Detective, Retired

    Story:

    “We took care of people.  It’s what we were taught,” said Steve Aspinall about his decision to pursue public service.  “I first worked in Huntington, New York, for the Urban Renewal department, relocating people being displaced to decent housing.  Then I came to Florida to work as a police officer.  After a 26-year career in law enforcement, Steve retired as a Homicide Detective for the St. Petersburg Police Department. 


  • Dan Givens
    Captain, Miami Fire-Rescue (retired)

    Story: His father was a Miami firefighter. His son is a Miami firefighter. His mother, grandmother, brothers and sisters all attended Miami High School and are still living in the community. Captain Givens served 35 years before retiring. “Serving Miami as a firefighter was a gratifying experience that I continue to be proud of.”

  • Dave Salisbury
    City of Cocoa

    Story:

    “I said I’d take the job as Chief on one condition….”

    Dave Salisbury grew up in Dunbar West Virginia and from the age of six he knew he wanted to be a firefighter. He spent so much time at the local station learning the ropes, the town agreed to add him to their volunteer roll at just 17-years old. “The High School was just a few blocks from the firehouse. I could hear the sirens if a call came in; so I could come right over from the school,” he said. He passed the civil service exam in 1951 to become a full-fledged member of the force, where he stayed until enlisting in the military. He worked through his military assignment in Maryland as a firefighter, and eventually accepted the job as chief of the City of Cocoa Fire Department in 1959 – with one condition: they had to start a DB pension plan. That force, which in 1959 had four paid firefighters with two trucks in one small station, grew to a 40-person force operating out of three new fire stations with five Mack Pumper trucks and a 75-foot Mack Aerial Scope – the first in Florida. Chief Salisbury retired in 1989, but not before building a department to be proud of, and a retirement plan that still offers security to the city’s firefighters.


  • Linda Loizzo
    Chief of Police, North Miami Beach, retired.

    Story:

    On November 5, 1980, then detective Linda Mertes of the North Miami Police Investigative Bureau was at home on maternity leave with her four-week old daughter and two other children. She received an 11:30 p.m. call informing her that her husband, Miami Police Officer Carl Mertes, had been shot and killed while conducting a routine traffic stop. 


  • Renee Lipton
    Pension Fund Administrator, retired
    A co-founder, Florida Public Pension Trustees Association

    Story: After retiring from the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department pension fund, Renee helped found a groundbreaking new organization to strengthen public pensions – the FPPTA, which is now 26-years old.

  • John Hauff
    Cape Coral Fire Department, Operation Battalion Chief

    Story: “The life expectancy of a firefighter is not near what it is of an average citizen who works 30 years in an office. I hope to outlive the expectancy…” Battalion Chief Hauff is volunteering as a pension plan trustee to ensure that future firefighters will have the same chance to protect their families that he values so much.

  • Jeffrey "Scott" Bayne
    Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue - active duty

    Story: In 2009, Scott left his wife and newborn daughter to serve a critical search & rescue mission in Haiti. What he learned there made him grateful....."The equipment that we utilized and the technology that we used to perform these rescues, the other teams don't have it…"

  • David Cloud
    Fire Chief (interim), Avon

    Story: “I started out as a volunteer in 1981. It was something exciting to do.” In 1996, Chief Cloud decided to join the department full-time. When asked about the most important part of his job, he responded, “The most important thing to me is the safety of my crew.”

  • Greg Warner
    Avon Park Police, retired

    Story:

    “It’s all I ever wanted to do,” said retired Avon Park police officer, Greg Warner.  “Law enforcement was always my passion.”  Greg served 5 ½ years as a police officer in Dunbar West Virginia before moving to Florida where he served another 21 years in Avon Park before retiring. 


  • Joe Liguori
    Delray Beach Fire Rescue

    Story:

    Defined benefit pension plans are critical says Joe, who knows that 401(k) accounts won’t support people throughout their retirement, saying,  “It’s beyond what most municipal employees could probably contribute in the time they are working.”    Joe volunteers hundreds of hours yearly as a pension plan trustee for Delray Beach and as a Board of Director member of the FPPTA.  


  • Raymond Edmondson, Jr.
    Ft. Lauderdale Police Officer, retired
    Service included Special Tactical Unit
    23-year career, 22 career commendations

    Story: While working the tactical unit in Ft. Lauderdale, Ray Edmondson came closer to catastrophe than he could have imagined one night during a gun battle with criminals; but it was the phone call he made to his wife that night that he remembers most.

  • David Lamar Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab
    Tampa Police Officers

    Story: Tampa Police Officers David Lamar Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab were working the overnight shift when they pulled over a car for a routine traffic stop.  As they approached the vehicle in the very early morning hours of June 26, 2010, a front seat passenger with a long arrest record and a recent spate of violent crimes believed they were about to arrest him.  The man in the car pulled a gun and shot the two officers, both of whom died from their wounds.   Both officers were just 31 years old.  Officer Kocab left behind a wife who was then 9 months pregnant.  Officer Curtis left a wife and four young sons.

  • Carol Knapp
    Ft. Lauderdale Police Department, Dispatcher, retired
    Pension Fund Administrator (23 years)

    Story: "I was working the radio……my husband had been involved in an accident." Carol Knapp, was working dispatch the night her husband suffered a disabling accident. Their need for his disability benefits turned into a new 23-year career for Carol who now works as a third-party pension fund administrator.

  • Emery Hampton
    Riviera Beach Water & Utilities Department

    Story: Emery Hampton is a former Deputy Sheriff from Detroit, but he’s also worked as a Federal Officer for the United States Air Force, and now is employed as a backflow prevention technician by the City of Riviera Beach Water & Utilities Department where he has earned six national certifications in six years.

  • Susy Pita
    Key West Power Company, retired

    Story: After a 24-year career with the Key West Power Company, Suzy became a pension plan administrator for that organization. Her expertise grew and so did her commitment to pension plan administration. Today, she is plan administrator for 10 FPPTA member plans in central Florida.

  • Kevin Megno
    Avon Park Police Department, Road control training officer

    Story:

    Kevin has volunteered as a trustee for the Avon Park Police Pension Fund for the past seven years.  He started asking questions about his retirement fund only as he approached retirement. “I waited too long,” he said of his involvement and of the need for younger employees to learn about protecting their benefits.

    

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