Today, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation honors and remembers Chairman Emeritus, Hal Bruno, who died at age 83, five-years-ago, on November 8, 2011.
For more than 40 years, Hal Bruno served as an active member of the fire service, giving selflessly as a dedicated volunteer firefighter, advocate, commentator and leader. He was renowned for his commitment to fire safety initiatives and his compassion for the members of the fire service and their families.
Hal was appointed chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in 1999, a distinction he held until his retirement in 2008. Under Hal’s leadership the NFFF expanded services and resources for the survivors, including workshops, conferences and scholarships. He guided and supported the Foundation in developing safety initiatives for firefighters and advancing safety practices that will help to reduce the number of line-of-duty deaths and injuries.
Hal Bruno set high standards for the Foundation and his expectations were clear: Treat the families of the fallen as you would treat your own.
He was a staunch advocate for passing the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefit Act which provides federal death benefits to the families of firefighters who die in the line of duty from heart attack or stroke.
Hal enjoyed an illustrious 50-year career in journalism. He was one of the first journalists on the scene of the tragic Our Lady of the Angels elementary school fire in Chicago on December 1, 1958 in which 92 students and three nuns died. His investigative report about how the fire spread so quickly through the open stairwell led to significant changes in fire safety and building standards and codes.
His talents and passion for politics led to roles at Newsweek magazine and on to ABC News where he was Political Director and host of the weekly talk show, Hal Bruno’s Washington. He was also was the senior political analyst for Politics.com and a guest commentator on CNN and other television programs. He frequently appeared on debate panels and served as moderator of the 1992 vice-presidential debate.
It is fitting that on this Election Day we pause to remember this wonderful man whose commitment to the fire service, politics and serving others has inspired so many.
If you would like to honor Hal, please consider making a donation to help support the Hal Bruno Camp for Children of Fallen Firefighters.