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Cindy Ell is a retired firefighter/Critical Care Paramedic originally from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, with a background in emergency communications and investigations. After a cancer cluster occurred among the firefighters she served with in Maryland, Cindy began researching and tracking firefighter cancer and carcinogens. As a result of her findings, The Firefighter Cancer Foundation was launched in 2004.
Unfortunately, Cindy did not miss the bullet. Cancer struck her as well in 2005 and she was reminded of the importance of strong support system and the value of an organization to provide timely resources and guidance. As men and women in areas of firefighting have a tendency to isolate themselves when they become ill, she set out to change that mindset and bring people together. Her efforts resulted in a strong collaboration of peers and professionals who provide their stricken member with anything from personalized needs assessment to resource navigation, advocacy empowerment, disease information, insurance assistance, drug trial registration, support to the family and fire department, etc.
Since that time, the work of Cindy and the dedicated team of the IFCF has led to establishment of a multitude of programs, resources and research that have impacted the lives firefighters around the world.
Recognized for her ability to break down barriers associated with Firefighter Cancer, Cindy is a much sought after keynote speaker, and has participated in many national forums, summits and conferences creating awareness and advocacy for the First Responder community. In 2012, she was presented with the U.S. President’s Service Award for outstanding work at the conclusion of the San Francisco – Los Angeles Fire Velo Cancer Awareness Ride, while surrounded by firefighters from across the United States.
Presently, with the assistance of state representatives, state chapters in the United States, Australia and international research partners, the organization continues its work to extinguish cancer in firefighters throughout the world.
Jim Plieth is a 17 year veteran of the Detroit Fire Department. He is certified as a trench rescue, confined space, and Haz-Mat technician. He also completed the Michigan Office of Fire Fighter Training's inaugural Instructor 1 course. He began his advocacy with the FFCF in March 2011. Elected President in April 2012, Jim has since taken on a more active role in travel and fundraising for the FFCF. He is a member of the Detroit Fire Fighter's Association, IAFF Local 344, Board of Directors. He lives in Harrison Township, MI with his daughters Kennedy and Jillian.
Ken is a founding partner of Berman, Sobin & Gross, LLP. He graduated from the University of Rochester, cum laude. He attended George Washington University Law Center where he was the winner of the Van Vleck Appellate Moot Court Competition. He was legislative aide to United States Congressman Robert Drinan of Massachusetts . He is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, Inc., and the District of Columbia Bar and is licensed to practice before all local and state courts, the United States District Court, both in Maryland and in the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the United States Supreme Court in which he has filed briefs on a workers' compensation appeal. He is a diplomate of the Court Practice Institute for Trial Advocacy and has testified before the state legislature on pending workers' compensation legislation in Annapolis, Maryland. Mr. Berman also appeared before and worked in conjunction with the Governor's Study Commission on Workers' Compensation Legislation in the State of Maryland . He has given numerous seminars and lectures to various organizations, including many firefighters; the International Association of Firefighters' Union; the Fraternal Order of Police, municipal and county; fire, police and sheriffs' departments throughout the state of Maryland ; the Communication Workers' Union; and various other public safety unions and organizations. He has lectured extensively to numerous vocational rehabilitation organizations including the Chesapeake Association of Rehabilitation Practitioners Private Sector. Mr. Berman has been written up in several organization's magazines with respect to various jury verdicts. Mr. Berman has been assigned an A-V Rating in Martindale Hubbell.
Todd Lambert, Federal District Director of the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation, is a Captain with Tinker Air Force Base Fire Department (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and a 17 year veteran of the Federal Fire Service. He holds the elected position of President of IAFF Local F-211 and is the 8th District Vice-President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Oklahoma. Todd is an active lobbyist for Presumptive Disease and Cancer Legislation for Fire Fighters. Todd's passion for championing special causes has brought him to the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation and feels that his work with the FFCF is just another way to take care of his brother and sister fire fighters.