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Retired Cedar Rapids fire captain Scofield remembered for advocacy, union work

Passed away Oct. 10 in Florida; 'he was truly a good man'

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CEDAR RAPIDS — When former Cedar Rapids Fire Capt. Rick Scofield set out to do something, he gave it his all.

“He put in a lot of time; a lot of work,” said CRFD Capt. Matt Woerner, who worked with Scofield for 14 years. “He was not a guy who sat still very often.”

Scofield, 62, formerly of Marion, died at his home in Florida on Oct. 10. However, Scofield’s work with the fire department, local and state unions and the Muscular Dystrophy Association means his legacy will live on for years to come.

Scofield joined the Cedar Rapids Fire Department in 1980 and retired as a captain in 2010. Fire Chief Mark English described Scofield as “a good father, a good family man ... (and) an outstanding firefighter.”

“He always had the best interests of the city in mind,” English said. “He did his best to further the labor movement here in the city to make sure they were treated fairly and their needs were represented.”

At the time of his death, Scofield held the titles of President Emeritus of the International Assocation of Fire Fighters Local 11 — the local union — and Iowa Professional Fire Fighters Emeritus for the Iowa Professional Fire Fighters Association. Scofield was president of the local association for 26 years and of the state association for approximately six years.

Both Woerner and IPFF President Douglas Neys said emeritus titles are not given out often — or lightly. The local association has never had an emeritus president.

“We don’t have a lot of them,” Neys said. “We want to make sure when we do award those (titles), they’re earned and deserved.”

Neys said one of Scofield’s biggest accomplishments was getting a cancer presumption bill passed by the Iowa Legislature during the Chet Culver administration. While lung cancer and certain heart conditions had previously been presumed to be occupational injuries for firefighters, the bill added several types of cancer, including skin, pancreas and liver cancer.

“That was probably the biggest moment for firefighters here in Iowa in recent history,” Neys said of the bill, which Scofield worked on with legislators from both sides of the aisle.

Scofield also led the local “Fill the Boot” drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“He was heavily involved in our efforts to raise funds for the MDA program,” Woerner said. “He was a huge advocate for that.”

Scofield’s obituary asks that memorials go the MDA in his memory. That shows just what kind of person Scofield was, Neys said.

“He was truly a good man,” Neys said.

A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Oct. 22 at Cedar Memorial Funeral Home. English said the event, which will include the honor guard and a ladder truck displaying the American flag, will be a “great show of respect.”

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