The National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation has set up a special, National fund for the survivors.
“In light of the tragic event in West, Texas on Wednesday and in cooperation with local support efforts, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established a national fund to accept monetary donations to assist the survivors and coworkers of the fire and EMS personnel who died in the line of duty”.
More about the Fund from the NFFF HERE
NFFF on Face Book HERE
Tim Smith from the hit Discovery Chanel show “Moonshiners” is hoping his “celebrity status” can help raise funds as well.
When not filming his show, Tim also serves as the Volunteer Fire Chief for the Climax (Va) VFD.
Rhett posted about Tim, the show and him being the VFD Chief in December of 2011. It ended up being his 2nd most popular post on Fire Critic.com for 2011.
Read that post by clicking HERE
Tim made our local news tonight due to his efforts to assist the West, Texas Fire Department.
They will be making as many stops as possible along the way to collect donations for West Texas.
They are accepting any and all donations … money, supplies, equipment etc.
If you, your Department or business would like to host Tim and his crew or have them stop at your location to pick up a donation, you can contact them through the Climax VFD site HERE (their itinerary is also listed on that site) .
There is also a Memorial Service planned for this Thursday (April 25th) in Waco Texas. Rhett has all the details over on Fire Critic (I’ll include the link) and if they get a live stream out, we will do our best to have it up on both of our sites for those unable to attend in person.
Rhett and I will be at FDIC on Thursday but our thoughts will be in Texas. I hope yours will be as well.
Our first stop will be at the FOOLS Brotherhood Bash at 5pm Wednesday. It’s always a BLAST and a great way to kick off our trip.
Thursday, you’ll find us on the exhibit floor spending time between the MN8 FoxFire and Black Diamond booths (Booth #5571 for FoxFire and #2401 for Black Diamond). Be sure to stop by say hello!
Rhett and I are also hosting our very own “Meet Up” at FDIC this year! We’re getting the Brothers and Sisters together for some fellowship and Brotherhood at the Hard Rock Cafe @8:30 on Friday.
You’re also likely to find us in our new Morning Pride turnout gear from Honeywell.
We’ll be updating our status on Face Book so you’ll know exactly where we are. Be sure to look us up and say hello. We LOVE meeting our friends, fans and followers … yea … BOTH of ya …LOL.
I’ve gotta catch up on a little farm work tomorrow, wash the Blog Mobile and get packed but I’ll try to get another post up for ya tomorrow night.
Until I get back … stay SAFE and in House!
Everyone thinks I’ve been a little hard on the Medics here lately so, this picture is just for them. You’re welcome.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN from ironfiremen.com.
I say that with some hesitation because there are many on (and near) the East Coast who I’m sure are not in the celebrating mood.
Thanks to hurricane Sandy, many are living in Emergency Shelters. An unknown, but high; loss of houses and businesses. Millions without power. A death toll of at least 48 including Lt. Russ Neary of Easton, Connecticut’s Line Of Duty Death (Details found by clicking HERE) .
I put some links, including video; in my previous post. Click the title below…
If you’re out celebrating Halloween tonight, please take a moment to remember those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Better yet, send more than a thought their way … DONATE directly to Hurricane Sandy Relief through The National Firefighters Endowment by clicking the link below…
So it’s Halloween and other than the Hurricane, my thoughts turn to the Detroit Fire Department. There, tonight is known as “Devils Night” due to the large number of fires they face.
Many plans are put into place in efforts to curb the mischief but their resources are still overwhelmed. Last year, they seen a 44% reduction in fires (from 169 to 94). Fire Engineering has more HERE . Let’s hope the trend continues. More on Detroit Firefighters (including a link to live dispatch) HERE .
Typically, that’s not good news for the Brothers and Sisters of C-shift.
Like I stated in my previous post, we were fortunate to have only faced high winds and cold temperatures from Hurricane Sandy. I hope my luck holds out for tonight as well. We’ll see.
To all the Chauffeurs pulling a tour tonight, keep an extra eye out for all those “trick or treaters” out there.
The Company was assigned 2 Pub-Ed events that day, the second of which was a “Trunk or Treat” event at a nearby school.
With an estimated 2,700 kids, the place was PACKED and a huge success.
We seen some GREAT costumes, both home made and purchased. I included this one because of the little guy in the Hulk Costume (Station #3 uses the Hulk as their mascot)
This little fella was Super Mario.
I’m not sure if he was just smiling that big or if he had his mustache on upside down.
Either way, the little guy looked good. He LOVES fire trucks and was just as fascinated with my stache …lol
Hopefully, the Buckaroo will get by the Station tonight (and more hopeful that I’ll be here) so I can see him in his costume. I’ll get some pictures up if he does.
Does your station even have Trick or Treaters stop by?
Do you carve a pumpkin (jack-o-lantern) for your station?
Send me some pics and I’ll run em here on Ironfiremen.com. I will also create a photo album on Face Book to share them (or I’ll trick Rhett into doing it over at FireCritic.com)
Like with so many of the “little” things we do, I think this is a GREAT way to show PRIDE and HONOR in your Department, Company and the JOB. It’s also a great way to interact with your community / customers.
Face Book is making it more difficult these days so in addition, hold your cursor over the “message” tab (upper right of the page). When the drop down box appears, click “add to interest” and you should start getting IronFiremen.com feeds.
I’ll try to get another post up Halloween night but it will all depend on how busy we stay. Again I’ll ask you to keep those affected by Hurricane Sandy in your thoughts and prayers. If able, use the link in this post to donate directly to the relief efforts through The National Firefighters Endowment First Responder Relief Fund.
Also keep the First Responders in your thoughts as they continue with recovery efforts. This time is often as hazardous as the initial event.
Lastly, show some firehouse PRIDE tonight. Carve a pumpkin. Open the house doors and pass out some candy. Make a kid smile … they’ll remember you for it!
Stay SAFE and in House!
Hurricane Sandy didn’t hit S.W. Virginia as hard as expected. We were fortunate. Not all of the East coast was.
I would not have bet on her missing us. Like the hurricane, everything was in place for “the perfect storm”. You see, I’m riding as the acting Battalion for the North Side this cycle. The last time I rode was back on June 29th when a “Derecho” blew through town.
At the time, I didn’t even know what a “Derecho” was. Now, I’ll never forget. We were right smack in the middle of it …. a living HELL. Read my post about that night by clicking the title below.
I say we were fortunate yesterday because as bad as I thought we had it back in June, it was NOTHING compared to what our Brothers and Sisters on the North Eastern Coast (and inland) faced last night.
Sandy made landfall in New Jersey but caused havoc from South Carolina to Maine. She was devastating to say the least. Reports are of at least 48 dead (including a LODD) and millions without power. In New York City, entire blocks burned. Houses were washed away in New Jersey, businesses destroyed and more, much more and worse.
The damages and rebuilding costs are sure to be overwhelming. The loss of life, 10 fold.
Lt. Russ Neary of Easton, Connecticut has been identified as the Firefighter who died in the Line Of Duty. More details in the links below …
You can also find more coverage of Hurricane Sandy and her after math in the links below …….
On the other hand, I feel as if it may have been “our finest hour” for first responders (I say that with all due respect to the affected …. allow me to explain).
You see, those Firefighters, Police Officers, Medics, National Guard, Coast Guard members etc. pulling a tour also lived in Sandy’s path. They knew all to well that their personal lives / property would be affected yet they “stood their post”. It’s what we do !
I’ve read reports of members swimming to burning building to make searches / rescues.
Fire trucks loaded onto tractor trailers to better handle the high and rising water in the streets.
Rigs drafting flood water to knock down heavily involved buildings.
Swift Water teams making countless rescues.
Much like those members guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the actions of our Brothers and Sisters in response to hurricane Sandy scream of PRIDE and HONOR.
I tried to listen to FDNY’s live dispatch between our runs and they continue to amaze me with their proficiency.
If you’ve never listened in, you should. You’ll be shocked. Take a listen and see what I mean, thanks to our Brothers over at The Bravest.com
There were several individuals (on the larger scale) who stood out in my mind as well.
I know Mike Brooks personally and he had one hell of a segment on HLN yesterday. I haven’t been able to find it yet so I’ll wait until tomorrow to tell ya why these folks stand out in my mind.
I’ll also give a tip of the hat to my administration. Although we weren’t hit as hard as most (or as expected), we were prepared.
Unlike when the Derecho hit, we were not caught off guard. We were kept informed, given up to date projections / information and provided the necessary resources.
Fortunately, we only faced high winds and cold temps. Apparently the clean up from June’s Derecho was effective because we didn’t see near the number of downed power lines.
The Brothers from Stations #6, #11 and #1 made quick work of a residential fire over in South East. Other than that, we were spared any major incidents.
Just a quick post to say WELL DONE to everyone who pulled a tour during hurricane Sandy. STRONG WORK ! As power is restored and the water recedes, our duties will be just as hazardous. Situational and Positional Awareness !
Stay SAFE and in House … I’ll check back in tomorrow night.
Rhett and I (along with hundreds of Brothers and Sisters from all across the Country) have just returned home from the 31st Annual NFFF Memorial Weekend.
This year, 85 names were added to the Memorial (80 from 2011 and 5 from previous years).
The Mission / Purpose of the NFFF and the Memorial Weekend is to not only Honor our fallen, but to also provide SUPPORT for the survivors (the families). It’s the kind of support that I don’t believe can be found in any other place.
You’ve often heard Rhett and I speak (or write) about “Brotherhood”. It comes in many different forms and can be found in the least expected places. With that said, I can honestly tell you that I’ve never seen “True Brotherhood” at work as I have on the grounds of the Memorial. It’s Brotherhood in it’s rarest form … UNSELFISH, TRUE and PURE.
Past survivors return year after year to assist new survivors with the challenges and hurdles they are facing. Who knows these challenges better than a past survivor? Knowing they are not alone, new and lasting friendships are made through mutual understanding and the healing process.
Brother and Sister Firefighters from all across the Country volunteer their time during the Weekend to serve as “Escorts” for the families. Every family of a fallen firefighter (being honored that year) is assigned a fire-service Escort to assist them while they are on-campus during Memorial Weekend. While on campus and attending Memorial Weekend, their every need is taken care of (learn how to become an Escort by CLICKING HERE ).
There is a “family day” full of activities for both the adult and child survivors. There are even grief counselors on hand for private sessions with the families. A candle light service is held on Saturday evening / night as well as many, many more activities / events leading up to the Memorial Service on Sunday.
The entire weekend is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. With help from private donations, the Foundation is able to provide lodging and meals for the immediate survivors and assists with their travel expenses.
Learn more about the NFFF Memorial Weekend HERE
Rhett and I were honored to once again be part of the Memorial Weekend. This year, Rhett led the Social Media Team while I assisted Dave Statter with Production. As awe inspiring as the Weekend itself is, it is twice as amazing to be in a position to see and realize everything it takes to make it happen.
HUNDREDS of volunteers are needed and, Brothers and Sisters from all across the Country come together to fulfill the various tasks. In essence, it’s like running a small city or a very large incident. Housing (on site as well as at various hotels), food, logistics, transportation, operations, Honor Guard, Fire / Rescue, communications, escorts, production etc. it could easily become overwhelming.
Managing all these areas and being able to focus them toward a common goal / direction could obviously be a nightmare….but NOT at Memorial Weekend. Obviously, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is utilized and that in itself is amazing to see in operation on this scale. Chief John McGrath of the Raleigh, NC Fire Department served flawlessly as our Incident Commander.
Production of the Memorial Weekend is never without obstacles and this year’s was major. For only the 2nd time in 31 years, Sunday’s Memorial Service had to be moved to an indoor location, off campus; due to the weather.
The decision was made and following Saturday night’s Candlelight Service, EVERYTHING was moved and setup inside Knott Arena at Mount St. Mary’s University (just a few miles away). The logistics alone could be overwhelming not to mention production of the Service. Communications, video, audio, live streaming etc… EVERYTHING had to be relocated. The Honor Guard, speakers, performers and readers were all prepared to execute their duties on the grounds of the Memorial….. every step rehearsed. Now, in less than 12 hours; the venue would change.
The move and Sunday’s Service went off flawlessly and that speaks VOLUMES about all members involved. I personally wondered if not being “on site” at the Memorial would take away from the Service … it didn’t (see pictures HERE)
The Memorial Service and the entire weekend is, after all; about the Fallen and their Survivors. In the very least, the families were warm and dry. With every seat taken and Honor Guard lining the walls, the feeling I found inside Knott Arena was no less spiritual than what I’ve experienced outside at the Memorial. As soon as the Pipe and Drums began playing, we all knew we were in the right place.
If you’ve never attended Memorial Weekend, YOU SHOULD. I guarantee that after the first visit, you’ll return the following year. I’ll also bet that you’ll want to become more involved.
Please take the time to watch the videos and use the links in this post(above and below) to see and learn more about the 31st Annual and future NFFF Memorial Weekends. Also, start making plans NOW to attend the 32nd Memorial Weekend to be held on October 5-6, 2013.
Follow The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation of Face Book HERE .
Find more photos of the 2012 Memorial Weekend HERE
More info and photos on the NFFF Web Site HERE
Stay SAFE and in House!
The Fire Critic (Rhett Fleitz) and I are in Emmitsburg, Maryland for the 31st Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. This is our 3rd time attending the Weekend together. See a post from out 1st trip by CLICKING HERE and our 2nd time HERE
Learn about the Memorial Weekend from their web site by CLICKING HERE
Once again, we left work and family behind but our sacrifice would soon pay off. Actually, I shouldn’t even have said it “THAT” way because those that we are here to HONOR have made a much bigger sacrifice.
This weekend, Firefighters from all across the Country will HONOR 80 of our Brothers and Sisters who lost their lives in the Line of Duty in 2011 (as well as 5 others from a previous year). Not only will we HONOR our fallen, we will also continue to build the SUPPORT NETWORK for the survivors. That’s really what this weekend is all about … THE SURVIVORS.
We left home at 06:30 this morning and headed to Arlington National Cemetery .
Every year, during the Memorial Weekend; The Sentinels place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of the NFFF and the survivors of our fallen. It’s an emotional and humbling experience to witness.
If you’ve never attended / visited the NFFF Memorial or attended the Memorial Weekend, YOU’RE MISSING OUT! Paid or volunteer, rookie or Chief, EVERY MEMBER of the Fire Service needs to experience what happens here. You need to walk these hallowed grounds. To experience the emotion.
This was this first time I’ve attended the wreath laying. It was also my first visit to the Arlington National Cemetery.
I still can’t explain the feeling I had seeing all the graves. The tombstones (markers) in PERFECT formation.
It was a silent SCREAM.
A silent scream of PRIDE, HONOR, TRADITION and RESPECT. It painted a true picture of BROTHERHOOD between the living and the dead. I held back tears and pulled for a breath as I read the names and dates of men I never knew. Men who gave their lives for folks like us …. for guys like me.
Again, those words resonate .. Pride, Honor, Tradition and Respect.
The Soldiers were amazing to watch. I got to see them stand guard. I got to see The Changing of the Guard. I seen them change the wreath. All done with precision … with discipline .
Not only was I honored to have been witness, I was equally (actually more so) honored to have shared the experience with Rhett. We have see and been through so much with each other that each new experience continues to amaze us.
There were several members of our Honor Guard on hand as well. In the video, you may notice them lining the front rows of the viewing platform. I also failed to mention that the lady assisting in placing the wreath is a survivor.
More PICTURES from the Wreath Laying Ceremony by clicking HERE
The weekend is just beginning and there’s a lot left to be done (in several aspects). That said, if you can attend, GET HERE ….. anyway you you can.
If not, we will have plenty of outlets for you to view and participate from home. Keep checking here, FireCritic and the NFFF web site as well as on our Face Book pages.
Find Ironfiremen.com on Face Book HERE. Click “Like”
I’ll try to keep ya updated as much as possible. Until I get back, stay SAFE and in House!
I posted yesterday on the passing of our good friend, Brother and fellow Firefighter W.D. Patterson (That link HERE ).
W.D was a committed supporter of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation through his participation in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs. I believe he has completed 6 and was planning / scheduled to climb again on September 11th which would have made his 7th!
Many Brothers and Sisters all across the Country are already saying that they will carry W.D’s picture as they climb on the 11th . I can’t think of a better way to honor his accomplishments and memory.
W.D was a member of the Grove City Volunteer Fire Department (PA). Find their link HERE
View and leave condolences on his Face Book Page by clicking HERE
Obituary for W.D. Patterson by clicking HERE
Arrangements are as follows:
Visitation is this Sunday 2-4 and 7-9.
Funeral will be Monday morning (9/10/2012) at 11am. Cunningham funeral home in Grove City, PA. (Link, Map etc found by clicking HERE )
Friends and family of W.D. Patterson wish to THANK YOU for your thoughts, prayers and support.
First, Rhett (FireCritic.com) and I attended the “visitation” or Family night for fallen Boones Mill VFD Lt. John Echternach Jr.
Lt Echternach became the 46th LODD (Line Of Duty Death) in the United States for 2012, he was the 3rd in Virginia for the year.
He was killed June 29, 2012 while assisting a motorist during the severe storm (derecho) that tore through SW Virginia. You can read more and find various links by clicking HERE .
What I didn’t write about in that post was the survivors. By that, obviously; I mean his family but that also includes his Fire Department Family.
The Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department has had a very rough road here of late.
Just in the last 30 days, they have responded to multiple traumatic fatalities and then had to respond to one of their own. Without the loss of their Brother, these type of incidents alone can be difficult to see / handle. When you add a LODD, it can become unbearable…. that was my first concern.
Riley is a retired Captain from the job (Roanoke fire/EMS October 2009 ), he was my Dad’s Captain for a while. Our relationship off the job (if we ever really are “off” the job) was closer than while on. We shared a business, a hobby and spent most every weekend together.
I call him by his old firehouse nick name, “Big Joe” and consider him family. I mentioned his retirement in an old post from the “Melrose Misfit” days Here.
While on the job in the City, Big Joe tested for Battalion Chief year after year. He always tested well but, for whatever reason; never received the promotion. That was a shame.
Some guys snickered saying “ole Riley finally made Chief” … well, the jokes on them because Riley has made a GREAT Chief for Boones Mill ( I wish he would have gotten the same chance in the City … he would have been great to work for).
When I first learned of Lt. Echternach’s death, I called “Big Joe” to check on his and the mental state of his members. He, along with the Franklin County Department of Public Safety; had already called in a CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing) team for a debriefing and had others planned.
These types of meetings / sessions are designed specifically for the mental health (well being) of the members. Big Joe was on top of it. It’s been apparent to me ( as I expected) that Chief Peters’ main focus has been on the family of Lt Echternach, and the members of BMVFD (as it should have been). What has worried me is who’s been looking after “Big Joe”?
I can’t imagine the stress. Everything he is having / had to deal with and no time to grieve from himself. It’s been all about the Family, all about the members (again, as it should be), gotta get this done, coordinate this, notify this agency, file this report etc. A lot of which I’m sure he’s never had to do before.
I’ve talked to him several times since the Funeral and he seems to be doing fine. I actually called him just this morning. He says that there are several others (beyond me) checking in on him and he is very appreciative.
Big Joe is a Fireman’s Fireman and it’s difficult to read his emotions (even for me). I may have to just go kidnap him and get off somewhere with a couple of cold beers. My emotions are mixed in that I’m concerned that he hasn’t had the time or chance to grieve .. to vent. Beyond that, I’m also proud … VERY PROUD of the job he’s done and how he’s handled these difficult times.
To me, it shows the professionalism, of not just Big Joe (Chief Peters) but also of the Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department and the Franklin County Department of Public Safety. It’s Pride, Honor, Tradition, Respect and Brotherhood at it’s finest … WELL DONE BROTHERS….. WELL DONE!
Chase was killed in Afghanistan less than 4 days after he arrived. He was 24 years old and had been married for only 7 months.
John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Chase was a HERO in all aspects of the word. Read “Another Funeral” HERE.
Again, I found myself saddened, but also honored. It’s difficult for me to explain but I’ll try to give ya a sense of it.
You see, I really didn’t know Chase, he was 20 years my junior. My family owned a piece of land with a cabin on Panther Mountain. That’s where a lot of the boys (and some of the girls) of the family learned our “life lessons” as kids / young adults. I have some GREAT memories of that cabin and my time on the mountain. I’m sure all my cousins do as well …. we were ALL there at one time or another.
Chase was just born when I moved from Rockbridge County to Roanoke. By the time he was running the mountain, I was pulling 24′s in the Fire Department. That said, I knew his mother and grandparents well … we were family.
Like most of you, I have been saddened at the news of our soldiers killed in action….not just Chase, all of them. Saddened but with a sense of understanding. They were in the Armed Forces … they expected to go to battle and hopefully understood the sacrifices they may have been asked to give. Signing up was their 1st act of bravery. That said, I’ve often asked myself “why” and hope that their deaths were not in vein but the honest answer is that I’m really not sure.
The Funeral was humbling. I wore my Class A’s and stood shoulder to shoulder with some real HEROS. Every soldier there had a chest full of medals in honor of their sacrifice and service. The Church was packed and many folks lined the sidewalks to hear the service over a loud speaker.
I ended up taking the Buckaroo with me. We stood along the aisle so that others could sit. He was VERY well behaved. It was almost as if he knew we were at something “special”. We stood between a “Full Bird” Colonel and a Captain. They kept a keen eye on my little fella as he stood in front of me, holding my hat and paying attention to the happenings. It was a long service and a difficult stand. I’m proud to endured that along side so many great men.
The procession to the grave side was even more humbling. I’m not sure if it was because I was “back home” (in the country) or if it was because of Chase’s service but the vehicles traveling in the other direction even pulled over to the right and stopped as we passed (even on the 4 lane highway, Route 11). We just don’t see that here in the City and I had forgotten the “respect” often shown in smaller towns. People were standing in their yards or place of business along the way, holding signs or the American flag …. children and adults …. it brought tears to my eyes to see this type of patriotism, honor and respect.
Back at home, I received several e-mails and comments offering condolences etc and I’d like to take a moment to say THANK YOU.
Two e-mails in particular touched me deeply and I’d like to share parts of those with you.
The first one came from a good friend and Brother Bill Carey (Backstep Firefighter , Fire/EMS Blogs, Firefighter Nation etc). Here’s what he shared with me in part ….
“Immediately after reading that the services are to be held in Lexington I recalled this quote from General Thomas Jackson. I treasure no other historical figure of our nation’s military more that Jackson; his book or maxims is a true value to everyone, especially those in leadership positions. When asked by Captain Imboden abut fearing his own death, Jackson replied
“Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.” “
Bill continued to say …
“To try and speak this to younger generations, especially those in the fire service, it is futile at best. Jackson did not mean to live his life in a fatalistic, laissez-faire attitude, but that he had a religious conviction, deeply grounded, unwavering, that applied not to “the cause” or the military, but to his own personal life. Whether it is old age and blissful retirement or just shy of four days in Afghanistan, may we all have the resolve to ready, to live equally brave, walk safe and live with conviction in what we set out to do, much like your second cousin.”
WOW! and that’s not even the entire e-mail. I can’t THANK Bill enough for his words and hope he doesn’t mind my sharing them with you … they were so powerful and touched me so that I couldn’t help but share them.
Another Brother and friend, Matt VanGiesen also took the time to send me a note. He said (in part) …
“I write this with tears welling in my eyes, for I truly understand the painful journey your family is on. My tears, born of sorrow, also flow with great pride as our country buries another HERO. It is because of great men like Chase that my family and I lie safely in our beds at night… I know that my words can not heal the pain, but offer them I must.”
As always, THANKS for following. If you’d like, you can follow the site on Face Book by CLICKING HERE.
I’m back on duty tomorrow and have a post already lined up … you won’t want to miss this one! Until I get back to ya…. stay SAFE and in House.
According to the US Fire Administration’s web site, Lt. John Echternach Jr. of the Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department became the 46th LODD in the United States and the 3rd from Virginia in 2012 (complete list HERE).
His memorial service was held yesterday in Boones Mill.
Lt. Echternach was responding to a report of a house fire on the evening of June 29th as a severe storm (derecho) tore through SW Virginia. While enroute to the station, John came across a vehicle, in the middle of the road; that a tree had fallen across. He stopped to assist the occupants when a second tree fell and struck him. He was pronounced dead at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Many of our Fire Service careers started in Franklin County as volunteers. I started as a member of the Burnt Chimney VFD while my Lt. (George Perdue) served many years in Scruggs.
Several of our members also hold the honorable distinction of being “Life Members” of the Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department. Just here at Lucky #13, on A-Shift; Captain Lynn Flora and Lt. Barry Ferguson served with Boones Mill.
They actually took our rig (along with Lt. Steve Jordan, another past member of Boones Mill) and covered the Boones Mill Station during the Memorial Service yesterday.
The picture above (left) is our Honor Guard folding the flag during the service. The honor Guard is made up of members from Roanoke Fire/EMS, Salem Fire/EMS and Roanoke County Fire / Rescue. These Brothers and Sisters ALWAYS do a fantastic job and I’ve heard nothing but good things from yesterdays service.
I would list their names, but they have none. They wear no Rank designation nor name plates. One of the Captains explained to me that when the Honor Guard is working “we don’t have a name, we don’t have a face .. we don’t exist as individuals. It’s not about us, it’s about that family and seeing that they are taken care of”.
WOW! I’d also like to share with you a tribute that Steve Mills wrote in honor of Lt. Echternach. I believe Steve has served with the Boones Mill VFD for at least 30 years now. His tribute was published in our local paper, The Roanoke Times.
“Today we bid farewell to a hero, Lt. John L. Echternach Jr., of the Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department.
John never piloted a disabled jetliner to safe landing in the Hudson River, nor did he perform a daring rescue of a wounded comrade while under enemy fire.
There will be no books written about John, and his life’s story won’t be gloried on the silver screen.
Slight in stature, John didn’t look like a hero, and his quiet and unassuming personality didn’t suggest that he was, either. But John Echternach personified the unsung hero who resides in all of us, yet all too seldom rises to the surface.”
Read the entire Tribute by clicking HERE .
Related links … Firefighter always answered the call (with photo gallery)
Stay SAFE and in House!
I’ve had several interesting conversations this week about the Fire Service and our members.
In a time of crisis, such as with the severe storms this past Friday; we are always front page. I don’t think most folks realize that we are on the job 24/7. Even the days when thousands of people don’t need us, there are still several hundred who do. We are always working … even on our days off.
One of the conversations I had was kind of centered around “helping our own”. Actually, the question “who helps us ( first responders ) ” was asked. Who comes to “our” rescue? My first though was “you’ve got to be kidding”. There are so many people out there working on our behalf … directly or indirectly. Really??? Like who?
I began to throw out names …. see how many you know and think of their contributions to the Fire Service before clicking on their name for a link to their bio.
That’s a VERY impressive list …. each a huge contributor to the Fire Service and all advocates for our health and safety. These were just the names “off the top of my head”. I could have listed many more. How many did you recognize? Do you know the work they’ve done (and continue to do) on your (our) behalf? YOU SHOULD!
Shane heads up the National Firefighters Endowment. Everyday, Shane is working to get firefighters the money and equipment we need to remain safe and effectively do our jobs.
Here’s a quote from their “about” page …
“National Firefighters Endowment is a non-profit, public charity with a driving passion to protect the lives of our firefighters. We believe that small actions can have life altering results and that the right equipment in the hands of our heroes can literally be the difference between life and death. “
Here’s the thing … Shane makes it EASY. Even now, he’s running a $5,000-$6,000 dollar equipment grant. All you have to do is submit a short video explaining your need and why your department deserves to be chosen. Click HERE for full details.
Here’s another thing …. Shane thinks that WE are the heros. I hope he understands just how much his work means to us out on the streets. It’s not easy. We are good friends and talk often. I can attest to the fact that Shane often finds himself wondering how to fund “this” or “that”. I also know that many times, he often uses his own money to assure our Brothers and Sisters are well equipped.
You can help. You can help the National Firefighters Endowment help Brother and Sister firefighters all across the Country. It’s cheap, easy and full of reward.
Join the NFE Officer’s Club HERE
The National Firefighters Endowment Officer’s Club allows you to make a monthly donation as low as $10 per month. In return, you’ll receive 1 of 343 Challenge Coins and be entered into monthly giveaways. Hit the link above to learn more about the different ranks/levels within the Officer’s Club.
How about Bob Gard? Never heard of him either??? Bob is a Brother firefighter from South Dakota. More than that, he is the organizer of the South Dakota Firefighter’s Benefit to be held on September 15, 2012 in Sioux Falls.
It’s the first ever benefit of this kind to be held in South Dakota. Bob is bringing firefighters from all across the State together in an effort to help not themselves, but firefighters and their families from all across the Country!
“The SD Firefighter Benefit was created to bring firefighters from across the state together to raise money for organizations that are solely funded by donations, and work to better the fire service. This year we have selected the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation find out more about this organization at www.firehero.org, the second organization is the National Firefighter Endowment find out more herewww.thethinredline.org.”
Can’t make it out to Sioux Falls?? Don’t panic …. you can still help. A $10 donation will get you entered into a drawing where the Benefit is giving away a custom Phenix Leather Helmet and 2 cash prizes ( $300 and $100).
The Helmet is AWESOME and even comes with a custom front.
Every $10 donation gives you another entry in the drawing.
More DETAILS by clicking HERE
You can use the secure “DONATE” tab located at the bottom right hand side of the link above.
It will be the best $10 you’ve spent …. hit the link!
Need another one???? How about Zach Green.
Zach is an “illuminating Genius” and the owner / President of MN8-FoxFire.
No, MN8-FoxFire is NOT a non-profit business but I can tell you for certain that Zach’s main focus is firefighter safety.
Beyond that, Zach and the MN8-FoxFire team have come to the aid of our Brothers and Sisters MANY times.
Raising money for the FDNY Rescue 2 MayDay Fund, Supporting the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, The National Firefighter’s Endowment and the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs. He has donated product to our Brothers and Sisters in Detroit and MANY, MANY more worthy causes.
Rhett and I do some work for Zach and MN8-FoxFire but more than that, we are good friends. I say that because I know where his heart is …. with his fellow Brothers and Sisters of the Fire Service.
Now, Zach and MN8-FoxFire is taking it to the next level. Recently, he traveled to Canada where he had the honor of meeting Wayne Jasper. Wayne is the Director & LODD Chairman of the CFFF (Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation).
Their conversation turned to the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial…. both Canadian and American. He was shocked to learn of the poor showing from Americans at the Canadian event and vowed to make a difference.
A LODD (Line Of Duty Death) doesn’t stop at the border … they affect us all … the BROTHERHOOD.
Read Zach’s post from his visit to Canada HERE
The result of Zach’s trip and talk with Wayne is that we are now organizing a bus trip to Ottawa, Ontario for the 2012 Canadian Firefighters Annual Memorial Ceremony and Dedication of the Canadian Firefighters Memorial!
The event will be held at 10am on September 9, 2012. Our bus will be pulling out of Cincinnati, Ohio on Friday September 7th. We will make another stop / pick up in Detroit and return home on the 9th, following the events.
This is going to be a GREAT trip!! By chartering a bus, we are able to make it affordable but we need your help in filling the seats. Help us show our Canadian Brothers how strong the Brotherhood is here in the USA. Help us show them that Brotherhood extends well beyond any border.
We will be staying in the Main Stay Suites which are located within walking distance of the Memorial and anything else we may need. We priced the room at 2 people per room but each room is a “suite”. They have 2 bedrooms, plus a fold out (so we can obviously sleep more than 2 per room if you have a group that wishes to do so.
To go, you MUST have a valid passport and you can NOT have a criminal record. As it stands now, if we get a min. of 30 passengers, the cost will be $530 each. That’s 3 days and 2 nights, travel and hotel. If we get 40 passengers, the cost drops to $470 and if we fill the bus at 50, the cost will be $440. The cost will also drop per person if you elect to sleep more than 2 people per room.
We only have a few weeks to hold our reservations so let us know your thoughts …. good idea or not. I think it is and I also think that if you go, it will be a trip you’ll never forget. We have a lot of “surprises” in the plans already.
Purchase your ticket HERE or call Robyn at 540-461-0954 for more details
So there ya have it …. a pretty decent list of members helping members. Just a few of the folks who come to “our” Rescue. Again I’ll say that this list could be MUCH longer and I apologize to those whom I didn’t include. I’ll add a note of THANKS to all of those (mentioned or not) who give of their selves for our fellow Brothers and Sisters. If you know someone who fits this bill, be sure to thank them as well.
I’m back on duty tomorrow as Acting Battalion. I’ll check in as soon as possible but until then, stay SAFE and in House!
I posted last night on the 2 LODD’s (Line Of Duty Death) and funerals here in Virginia.
Again I’ll say that I truly feel as if both Brothers Weissman and Whitacre received a fine send off.
I was able to attend the Weissman service but was on duty yesterday during Whitacre’s Funeral. Both were well attended and those in attendance should be proud that our Brotherhood was well represented. Yes… our “Brotherhood”. These families got to see first hand over the past few days and week what all the “hype” and Brotherhood “talk” is about. They experienced it first hand. If you attended one of the services…. you did too.
I rode up to Alexandria on Thursday with two Brothers. Mike Elston (Lt. with Salem Fire/EMS) and Andrew Murray (Rookie firefighter at Station #1-B for Roanoke Fire/EMS). Mike pulled double duty by not only attending to pay his respects but by playing with the Pipes and Drums for both the Weissman funeral and wake. This was Murray’s first Fire Department Line Of Duty Death Funeral.
That was one of the places I found the “Brotherhood” at work. Andrew had read here on the site that I would be attending and had extra room if anyone wanted a ride. He also read how I felt that every new (Rookie) member should attend a LODD is possible.
I’m sure Andrew didn’t know what to expect. As it turned out, he stood in the cold and rain for several hours. He did not have a good view of the services and couldn’t hear everything that was said about the fallen. All of that didn’t matter …. HE WAS THERE.
Later, he messaged me how he was glad he attended. He said “The funeral, oddly, was one of the best experiences of my life so far”.
A couple people have quoted or commented on something I said in last night’s post…
“We attend these services for the survivors. The fallen are already in a better place. You attend for the family. The wives (or husbands), children , parents etc as well as for their extended family…. the Brothers and Sisters of their Department. You attend to let them know (and see) that they are not alone, their grief is shared and their support system endless”.
See that entire post by clicking HERE
I hope Andrew understands that now …. I think he does. I hope he will pass what he found along to other members. I bet he will and that my friends is Brotherhood.
I also mentioned in last night’s post that after the funeral, we ended up at Murphy’s Pub in “Old Town” Alexandria. The event was hosted by the Northern Virginia F.O.O.L.S .
For those of you who don’t know, FOOLS stands for Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society …. ( as in those of us who wear leather helmets). They stand for a lot of what Rhett and I believe and strive to live by. In part, it says ….
“The Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society (FOOLS) is an organization that was started in 1995 by a group of Central Florida Firemen. This group, known today as the Founding Fools, had a passion for not only the camaraderie and brotherhood that is forged between firefighters, but the rich tradition and heritage of the Fire Service”.
Read the FOOLS International Mission Statement HERE
Visit Northern Va. Fools HERE
It’s a much needed part of firefighter funerals.
It offers a chance for the members to gather somewhere away from the station, funeral, church or family’s home. It’s the chance and time for them to share their memories / stories and to “vent” their grief.
It’s where the fallen would want and expect to find us …. at an Irish Pub toasting the memory of our Brothers / Sisters. It’s where Josh Weissman would have been!
It was a GREAT event and I’d like to THANKS the Northern Va FOOLS once again for putting it on.
Paid, volunteer, rookie, veteran, Brother and Sister … I met em all !
This is where I learned about Josh. Hearing stories being told of how this member or that knew him.
I got to watch the slide show of Josh. I saw an everyday firefighter / medic. Home shots. Pictures at the beach…. on a cruise…. or at the station. Goofing off… dancing and drinking a beer. That’s where the reality sets in … Josh Weissman was no different than any of us.
It was a building full of firefighters and beer after all …. LOL !
Ploitics, staffing, pay, benifits etc… we solved all of the Fire Service’s problems that night.
Well …. maybe we didn’t solve em but we certainly realized that most of us are facing the same issues and fighting the same battles.
We “relate” to each other.
We share a bond that not many other professions can know … again I’ll say … Brotherhood.
Some I approached…. others came to me.
The Sister with me pictured right came up to ask for her Fire Critic / Ironfiremen.com Brotherhood Chip.
She had met and remembered me and Rhett from the Greenbelt, Md 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. She was part of the medical team / staff.
For me, this is an honor very humbling and somewhat embarrassing. It’s hard for me to get used to folks coming up to and knowing me. I post so much about my life that anyone who follows the site (yea…both readers) knows what I am and have been doing. I’m honored that people take the time to notice, show interest and follow. The embarrassing part come in that Rhett and I meet so many people that I often times can’t remember their names.
Anyway, it was GREAT to see her again and AWESOME that of all those climbers, she remembered us. I proudly gave her the Chip.
Get your FireCritic / Ironfiremen.com Brotherhood Chip HERE
I get the same questions comments …
“That’s the coolest fireman’s mustache I’ve ever seen !” …. Have you ever heard of Chief Billy Goldfeder?
“How do you eat with that thing?” … I don’t. I eat just like you… with my mouth and teeth.. LOL
“How long did it take you to grow that thing?” …. 43 years.
“I want one JUST LIKE THAT !” …. you can’t have THIS one but I will kiss you with it if you buy me a beer… LMAO
I call the one pictured above left a “starter stache” ….
This one… to the right… I call a waxer.
I had a really good time meeting and talking with everyone. I felt at home and again …. this is what the Brotherhood is all about.
There were a few highlights of the evening for me …. 1st. The family attended.
2nd… the Pipes and Drums were asked not only to attend but to play…. AND PLAY THEY DID !
3rd. The family was there for our toast to Josh following the Pipes and Drums rendition of Amazing Grace. I shot a little video of it and included it in last night’s post. If you haven’t see it yet…. hit the link above… IT WAS AWESOME !
For those of you unable to attend, you missed something special.
I hope I never have to attend another but if I do, I will do my best to talk you into going with me. I hope you will bring a few Brothers and Sisters along as well.
It’s snowing pretty good right now and I’m back on duty tomorrow. I’ll try to get another post up detailing what happened yesterday while I was covering Rhett’s shift.
For those of you on duty tonight, pay some extra attention. Watch you footing. Throw a shovel on the tail board and a cold weather bag in the rig. Until I get back to ya …. stay SAFE and in House!
The service was very well attended and I was honored to have been able to pay my respects. I say it that way because that’s what it is … paying respect.
Read my previous post HERE
Rhett was out of town and unable to attend but I didn’t have to travel alone. Actually, I had a substitute driver step up. I ended up riding with brother Mike Elston from Salem Fire/EMS. Mike was going to pay his respects plus, he plays with the Pipes and Drums.
We also had rookie firefighter A. Murray tag along. Murray is a rookie in my Department and works at Station #1B. He is just a little over 6 months out of the Academy (he graduated with my rookie Randy). I was glad he tagged along. He later told me it was one of the most rememberable experiences he’s had since being on the job. This was his 1st LODD (Line Of Duty Death) funeral.
For one thing, I think it may result in something positive if it opens their eyes to the dangers of our job. Maybe they will realize that the “it will never happen here” mentality doesn’t apply where they work.
It also teaches them about what Rhett and I so often preach.. Honor, Respect, Pride, Tradition and Brotherhood.
The members who attended this service stood out in the cold and rain for about 4 hours. We were all soaking wet and cold but I never heard one member complain.
We attend these services for the survivors. The fallen are already in a better place. You attend for the family. The wives (or husbands), children , parents etc as well as for their extended family…. the Brothers and Sisters of their Department. You attend to let them know (and see) that they are not alone, their grief is shared and their support system endless.
I think the Weissman family as well as the Alexandria Fire Department has seen that over the last week.
More coverage and VIDEO from the Service by clicking HERE
After the services, there was a gathering at a local hotel for attendees. There was plenty of food as well as hot and cold beverages. This event was hosted by Chief ADAM K. THIEL and the Alexandria Fire Department.
I have had the honor of meeting Chief Thiel on several occasions. He is obviously a good Chief. It’s also obvious that his members are a top priority. Every member of the Department received 3 days off following Brother Weissman’s death. I believe Arlington and a few other surrounding Departments stepped up to cover …WELL DONE BROTHERS!
Immediately following the gathering at the hotel, The Northern Virginia F.O.O.L.S hosted a wake at Murphy’s Pub.
These type events are more for the members. It’s a time and place to relieve some stress and say a final farewell to the fallen. Like the service, this event was very well attended and Brother Weissman had a very good send off.
The toast was made to Brother Weissman’s memory following the family’s arrival. With a slide show of photos displayed behind the stage, the entire event was very emotional and I was honored to attend. I met members from as close as DC and as far away as New York. Again, this is part of what the Brotherhood is all about!
Firefighter Zachary Whitacre of the Gore Vol. Fire and Rescue Department (Frederick County, Va) was laid to rest in Winchester, Va today.
I was not able to attend the service today as I am on duty. Rhett is still out of town visiting family so I’m covering his shift.
I was there in spirit / thought and my Department represented us well.
Our Honor Guard was in attendance and had the honor of folding the flag.
I have received several calls, e-mails and texts telling me what a great job our members did. I understand that attendance for the service was very good and the weather much better than that on Thursday.
Our Honor Guard members in attendance were Lt Rob Reid, Firefighter Travis Meador, Firefighter Carlie Walshe, Firefighter Anuszkiewicz, Firefighter Richard Lipes and Firefighter Todd Reighley.
Special thanks to of Chief and Department for allowing our members to participate. The team would also like to extend a very special THANKS to Retired Chief Steve Poff of Roanoke County Fire / Rescue for his actions.
All indications are that Brother Whitacre had a good send off as well.
Please continue to keep Brothers Weissman and Whitacre, their families and Departments in your thoughts and prayers as they have a lot of healing yet to do. Thanks to each and every member who were able to attend either of the services. I can tell you that the family noticed and your presence made a difference. I’ll give ya a little update tomorrow and add a few pics from Murphy’s as well as my tour covering for Rhett today.
Until then, Stay SAFE and in House!
Brother Weissman died from injuries sustained while operating on the scene of a vehicle fire on I-395 on February 8, 2012. He will be buried with full Fire Department Honors tomorrow.
CLICK HERE for the latest details on the services
I hope the funeral will be well attended …. it sounds like it will be. For those of you near Roanoke (or between here and Alexandria) I still have room in the van if you’d like to ride along. Leave a comment or message me on Face Book and I’ll get in touch. We are leaving Roanoke around 6:30am and return before midnight (we will be attending the wake as well).
Before the services, I will be meeting up with Dave Statter who is planning on providing live streaming video. Check his site for more details as they become available .. CLICK HERE
I hope to see you there. I URGE you to attend if at all possible. Regardless of Rank or tenure ( if you’re a “Rookie” firefighter…you definitely should attend). I believe we owe it to each other to do so. It’s paying “RESPECT” to a Brother or Sister. It’s “RESPECT” for the job we do. For knowing that the next funeral could be ours. It “HONORS” the fallen and our profession. It also reflects “PRIDE”. I can remember at the services for one of our fallen Brothers ( Captain Chris Brown ) meeting several members from out of town and even out of State. I remember how proud I was that these Brothers would travel that far to stand beside us in a time of grief. It all goes back to that word we hear so much … BROTHERHOOD.
Read The Fire Critic’s post ” Go to the Funeral… You OWE it to them”
I guess I didn’t move into a “new” office, my old one was just remodeled.
We just had our new computer installed in the rig yesterday…yea… all this time we’ve been “old schooling” it in “The Noke”.
We’ve had the computers in the Battalion vehicle for a few months now so I’m not a total stranger to their operation. It is, however; a lot different trying to use it while racing down the road in a fire truck vs. punching all the buttons etc while sitting still in the Battalion car.
It actually made me kind of dizzy. I find myself looking at the screen the entire time we are in route vs all the things I usually looked for / at. Talk about “tunnel vision”.
It’s also very weird not hearing all the radio traffic…. other pieces marking enroute, on scene etc. I guess it’s just gonna take a little getting used to. The good news is that in about 20 years or so they say we’ll have all of our hydrants and pre-fire plans on there as well. I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to get em in the first place. You know what they say … 100 years of tradition unimpeded by progress! LOL
Actually, I picked em up yesterday from Rhett over at Station #3.
They were made by Wolfpak Leatherworks.
Visit their web site HERE
Find them on Face Book HERE
I LOVE EM !! The Brothers at Wolfpak paid a lot of attention to detail.
The back says “Iron Firemen”
What’s even more special is the fact that they added the “Buckaroo’s” name on the front as well ! OMG that’s BEAUTIFUL !
Every run I get to see his name. I think about him for a brief moment and how important it is that I make it home to him in the morning (that’s also why I have his, my daughter and wife’s picture in my helmet… it’s the last thing I see before “going to work”)
Special THANKS to the Brothers of Wolfpak Leatherworks for an OUTSTANDING job! I have worn them all day today and can say that they are very comfortable. Rhett and I will be doing a full “product review” on them after we wear em long enough to give ya a fair evaluation. When completed, you will be able to find the review on our new site..
Follow and “Like” Firefighter Product Review on Face Book click HERE
Here are a few more pictures of my new suspenders …..don’t forget to check em out at the link above and tell em The Fire Critic and Iron Firemen.com sent ya!
That’s it for tonight … see ya in Alexandria tomorrow. Stay SAFE and in House!
READ THIS POST
Actually, don’t just read it …. “like” and “share” it on Face Book as well. We need to get the word out and have this loophole closed before another family is affected.
Follow Ironfiremen.com on Face Book HERE (click “Like”)
“Danny Mac” died in the Line Of Duty almost 2 years ago (March 2010). At the time, he was on duty for an EMS non-profit organization. Danny also worked as a firefighter and a sworn Law Enforcement Officer.
Learn more about Danny Mac by clicking HERE
At 39 years old, he was married with 2 daughters. His family is NOT eligible for about $330,000 in Federal Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB) because of the badge he was wearing.
Federal PSOB covers paid & volunteer EMTs, paramedics & firefighters who work for Fire Department based non-profits, but they deny ALL claims if it’s an EMS based non-profit. If he was wearing any one of his other uniforms,Bethann, Delaney & Addison would have been covered!
The family, Bill and many others worked tirelessly to have this injustice corrected. Not just for Danny Mac’s family but for the families (survivors) of all future EMS based LODDs. Congressman Mike “the rockstar” Fitzpatrick became involved and eventually proposed HR1668 “Danny Mac” to close this stupid loophole. It ALMOST worked.
It actually passed both the House and Senate but had all “language” pertaining to Danny Mac “pulled” (removed) after reaching the Conference Committee. When a bill becomes law, the last step is the House & Senate bills go to a Conference Committee. The purpose of this committee is to RECONCILE the two bills. Many times there are subtle differences in the language. In this case, the Conference Committee CHANGED the two bills by pulling all of the “Danny Mac” language out of the bill. They pulled the language 90 minutes before the bill became law! Their arrogance is epic. I’m told that the decision was made by one of the staffers who works for Congressman Mica (Orlando)
The reasoning ??? MONEY. They didn’t want to add to the National Debt by having to “pay out” to more families of fallen Public Safety Officers! Can you believe it ?!?
So now, Congressman Fitzpatrick, Senator Leahy (author of the Senate bill), and Congressman Smith (TX) are going to introduce a stand-alone bill. They need to get the bill passed ASAP because Bethann’s last appeal will be heard in mid-March.
The family, Bill and several others are heading down to Washington DC tomorrow (Feb. 15th, 2012) to hold Congressman Mica accountable for the actions of his staffer. The “core group” (Danny Mac’s wife, Bill and the Bucks County PA guys) are being joined by Brothers and Sisters from as far away as Vermont & Texas.
This is grassroots- set up by guys who knew Danny- to honor his memory and to take care of his family. This isn’t being set-up, sponsored, endorsed, funded, or orchestrated by any lobbyists or national organizations.
They want to make it possible for the stand-alone to be passed before Bethann’s hearing, and to turn survivors’ issues into a political third rail. The plan is to hold Mica accountable in the court of public opinion. It would be a grand-slam if they could get some guys in the Orlando area to show up in front of one of his offices down there- and get the local media to cover it. They are working the networks to see if we can get it done…
This is where they need our help … SPREAD THIS STORY!
Share it on Face Book. Tweet it … re-post on your site, tell a friend, tell a fireman … whatever it takes … help get the story out there!
To all my Brothers and Sisters down in Orlando …. BEAT DOWN THE DOOR of Congressman Mica. Make is phone ring so much that they will want to unplug it! Have him look you in the eye as he explains why we (The United States) can’t afford Death Benefits for our fallen Brothers and Sisters. It actually doesn’t cost us a dime. The PSOB is funded by seized drug money!
Don’t let this injustice continue …
It should be titled “More and MORE” from The Fire Critic and Ironfiremen.com
Our schedule is filling up fast for 2012 and we want you to be part of it …. here’s the latest and what’s new.
Keep up to date by following us on Face Book. Click HERE then “Like”
Regretfully, we’ve had 2 LODD’s (Line Of Duty Deaths) here in Va. this week. Arrangements and details from the latest, Firefighter Zachary Whitacre of the Gore VFD, Frederick County, Va; have yet to be released. I’ll post more when available.
Alexandria Fire Department Paramedic Joshua Weissman will be laid to rest on Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:00pm at Beth El Hebrew Congregation located at 3830 Seminary Road Alexandria, VA 22304
I will be attending the funeral and have plenty of room if you’d like to ride ( Rhett will be out of town and unable to attend but we are taking the “Blog Mobile” ). I will be leaving Station #13 in Roanoke at 7am Thursday morning. We will return late Thursday night (We will be attending the 6pm wake as well). You can meet me (and park) here or I can pick you up if you’re on the way. Leave a comment here or on Face Book and I will contact you with more details.
Please keep Brothers Weissman, Whitacre, their families, friends and Departments in your thoughts and prayers.
Rhett ( The Fire Critic ) and I have been doing “product reviews” for some time now but they’ve been scattered throughout both our sites.
We’ve came up with a way to put them all in one place and made it very easy to navigate!
What’s even better is that you ( the readers ) can “score” (or “rate” ) the products as well ! The pages are set up so that you can see the last 10 products reviewed. Simply “click” on the one you are interested in for the full review and the chance to “score” or rank the product yourself.
The site is going to be VERY busy and we WANT your input. Tell us what you think of the site. We WANT your “score” of the products we review. Is there a product you’d like to see us review?
“The National Firefighters Endowment seeks to support organizations that lack the tools and resources necessary to more effectively protect the life and safety of the public and their emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards”.
Brothers helping Brothers … that’s what it’s all about!
We are calling this one ” Brotherhood Cuts “ and hope it will become a big campaign moving from city to city … State to State.
Our first event will be held March 10th (5pm) in Pinnacle, North Carolina at the Shoals Volunteer Fire Department (2964 Shoals Rd Pinnacle, NC 27043) Everyone is welcome to attend. All of the money raised will go towards purchasing Bail-Out Kits for our North Carolina Brothers and Sisters!
Although our primary job is to help promote and organize the events, Rhett and I will be much more involved and even participate. That’s right … WE WILL PARTICIPATE.
I will be at the 1st event in Pinnacle, NC ( Rhett will be unable to attend). To set the record straight … I will NOT be shaving my mustache (or squirrel as Rhett calls it) at this event (unless there is a huge donation made). I will most likely be shaving my head. As the project grows, Rhett will shave his head and we will eventually reach the point where my “stache” comes off.
Read The Fire Critic’s post on Brotherhood Cuts HERE
Stay SAFE and in House .. I’ll check back in asap!
This is “Part 2″ of my post on our latest visit to New York City and the FDNY. It’s continued form yesterday …
So, we get to Hoboken’s Headquarters and Battalion Chief Greene is waiting to greet us. The City of Hoboken has some GREAT looking houses. They are old and you can tell. Some may say they look like crap or are “dumps” but I beg to differ. These houses hold history and tradition. THEY ARE HISTORY ! That’s why they are “houses” and not “stations”.
He felt bad when I gave him a Brotherhood Chip the night before and caught him with empty pockets.
They didn’t sell beer in the firehouse so he bought me a cup of coffee ….LOL
Their coins look GREAT!
Actually, I can’t think of a coin Rhett or I have received that I thought didn’t look good. Some stand out a little more than others. Sometimes it where or who it came from while with others, it the engraving, logo or phrase on the coin.
Another example of how Department’s such as Hoboken and members such as Chief Greene “GET IT”.
PRIDE, HONOR, TRADITION, RESPECT and BROTHERHOOD !
I wish my Department had a coin. With everything else we brag on … we should!
So, we got a tour, ate some stale doughnuts (bagels..LOL) and shared a cup of coffee up in dispatch.
That was another cool thing about this house. It was a house … the Headquarters .. and their dispatch center! There was a retired Jake manning the dispatch console. If anyone had a question, they asked him (sorry … can’t remember his name).
I’m thinking… how cool is this? The dispatcher is retired from the job. Who better to fill this position?
Now, our guys and gals do a wonderful job but this Brother has an advantage. He knows what he’s hearing. He knows the job .. what we want, need and are asking for. Sounds too simple I guess?
Anyway, we were having a great visit.
Before long, Zach was in the Chief’s office working his magic. Next thing you know, Hoboken made a large purchase of MN8-FoxFire Products! These members are really going to be pleased and impressed! It’s also a great feeling for me, Zach and Rhett. We know what these products can do as far as giving us an extra “tool” for visibility, orientation and accountability! What an honor it is to be in a position to help or Brother and Sister Firefighters operate more safely !
THANKS to Chief Greene and the Hoboken FD for the hospitality ! We look forward to seeing you all again.
I was looking for a bar to buy us all an ice cold beer.
Zach and Rhett ?? ….. well …. their minds were somewhere else …A BAKERY ?!?!?! WTF? ( No Chief “G” …NOT “Well Trained Firefighters” ..LOL )
Apparently, this place is famous or something. They have some kind of TV show or something where they cook a bunch of fancy cookies and cakes. The Cake Boss ? You can CLICK HERE to learn more.
I guess it’s kinda like the time when Rhett made us stop at some Jersey Shore place to look for Spookie (or whatever her name is). All I know is that Zach and Rhett were very excited to see the chair these people sit in to talk about cooking or whatever. Me??? not so excited but I do have to admit that it makes me feel good to see my two Brothers happy and excited so I guess it was worth the time to stop.
After their sugar fix, we got back to work. We loaded up and headed to Queens!
Our first stop was Rescue 4….AGAIN… MY EMOTIONS WOULD SURFACE.
Being in this house, and even back the day before while in Rescue 2 with the roof hatches open; my thoughts often drift to a photo I have of Firefighter Pete Mclaughlin while riding R4.
Every run, Pete would stand on the side shelves with his head up through the roof hatch. Todd and I have some GREAT pictures in the back of that rig with Pete and many more of Rescue 4′s elite.I think of those times / rides often.
Firefighter Pete Mclaughlin was killed in The Line of Duty on October 8, 1995 just a week or so after our last ride with R4. He was caught in a flash over with collapse. Later, they would name a street in Queen in honor and memory of Pete. You can read a small related article by clicking HERE . WELL DONE BROTHER … continue to Rest in Peace and thanks again for the ride!
The members called it “Red Square” because it’s an entire city block in size. That’s a New York City “block” and it was always surrounded on all 4 sides by broken down fire trucks … RED ones (hint..hint Swoope Vol. Fire Company, Roanoke County Fire / Rescue and more…LOL)
We got some UNBELIEVABLE tours here!
Shops, tool rooms etc … this place was HUGE! Not only was it big …. the folks inside seemed to know what they were doing / talking about ! IMAGINE THAT !
OMG this place was AMAZING !
The only place you’ll see as much or more apparatus in one place at the same time is at Firehouse Expo, FRI, FDIC or the like!
Tools???? Walls and WALLS … shelves on top of SHELVES full of em!
I know the FDNY is the largest in the world but all I’ve ever seen is one house etc at a time. I guess it took seeing the shops to actually realize the scope of what they have to deal with. They have more pieces out of service for repair than we do in service in the whole valley!
Anyway, I didn’t let em see me catch too many flies due to my mouth being wide open in awe and they gave us another fantastic tour. Rhett, Zach and I could sit and talk to members like the shop’s staff all day long .
We pulled out for a quick lunch on the go and headed out to the FDNY Training Center … THE ROCK ! Our day got even better.
TO BE CONTINUED …….
Read the 3rd and final part by clicking HERE
Rhett wrote a post back in June of 2011. The title was ” Go to the funeral … you OWE it to them ” (click the title for a link to the post). It was a GREAT article but I think he ”stopped short”.
Now, you all know that Rhett and I are very close and I can tell you that we are of the same opinion on this issue. I say he “stopped short” but also know that it was only because the point he was making in the article was attending the funerals of our fallen Brothers and Sisters. He could have written pages on top of pages on the topic (and been right).
Adding my 2 cents, I’ll say that simply “going to the funeral” isn’t enough. In his post, he spoke of “The Brotherhood”. We ( Rhett and I ) don’t throw that word around lightly. Atop “Brotherhood” there is a phrase we in the Fire Service hear alot that also shouldn’t be used lightly … “Never Forget”….. they go hand in hand.
What happens after the funeral? Who looks after the family and loved ones left behind? If you simply attend the services to let everyone see you were there and think you’ve done your duty …YOU’RE WRONG.
Recently, I posted on 3 of our ( Roanoke Fire/EMS) fallen members. Back on December 23, 2011 I remembered our Chief Billy Obenchain in a post titled ” If you Want to be a Clown …. Remembering our Fallen …” (Click the title for a direct link). The 23rd marked the 2 year anniversary of Chief Billy’s passing.
Within that post, I also mentioned / remembered Captain Chris Brown. Chris was taken suddenly in October 2009.
In my ” 2011 Year in Review “ post, the funerals of 2 more of our Brothers ( Slayton and Palmer ) headlined the months of January and June.
My point here is this …. I didn’t just attend the funerals. These men are thought and spoke of often in my house. They are not forgotten!
Our last day on duty was Sunday the 8th. That was the 1 year anniversary of Battalion Chief Bobbie Slayton’s death. I wrote a post about it. Actually, I wrote 3. I didn’t publish any of them. They were some of the most difficult posts that I have written since I began blogging. My dad and Bobbie were close …VERY close. Dad drove Bobbie for years. Bobbie and I were good friends as well. Hell … Bobbie was friends with EVERYBODY.. but we were close. Road trips, hours in the garage etc … a have a TON of memories…. I just can’t get them into words.
George ( my current Lt. George Perdue ) worked for Bobbie for several years. He worked at what is now considered “Historic” #1 which is where Bobbie’s heart was. You can very often catch Georgie telling stories from back in “those” days.
Although for not as long, Boots also worked for Bobbie. It was later in his career after for some unknown reason Admin. pulled Bobbie from his beloved B-Shift and moved him to C-Shift.
In our current assignments, Randy is the only member who didn’t work for Chief Slayton. It doesn’t matter … he’s heard the stories .. WE HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN.
We went by the cemetery and spent a little time today …. reflecting. It was a good visit.
We took a towel and a bottle of water.
We knelt to wash the dirt from the headstone ( due to recent rains, the stones were just slightly dirty). Randy knelt beside us. Not only that, he helped clean the markers.
We visited two graves today. Firefighter/Medic David “Dave” Palmer was also laid to rest in this cemetery. Like Chief Slayton’s, “Big Dave’s” marker was cleaned as well.
He has heard us tell the stories and talk about these members ( and others ). In Rhett’s article, he spoke of ”paying his respects” … Randy paid his today and it wasn’t by going to the funerals.
Could this be how at least part of ”The Brotherhood” is passed along? I think it is.
These men were a part of our Department, our “family”, OUR “Brotherhood” . They are a part of our history … our traditions…. the subjects of great stories, unbelievable acts and even some good firehouse pranks.
You don’t “owe” it to them to go to the funeral or to even remember their names and stories …. THEY’VE EARNED IT !
More on Firefighter / Medic Dave Palmer’s passing HERE
How do YOU remember your fallen Brothers and Sisters? How do YOU pass their memories along to new members?
Stay SAFE and in House!
Under staffed, attacks on our pension, a Close Call, 2nd alarms to rubbish fires…. Ironifremen.com is back on line!5 comments
Rhett will get a kick out of that “Dave Statterish” full paragraph headline! Sorry folks, the New Year brought me a new virus … not me, my computer so I’ve been out of commission for a few days. The good news is that I’m back up and running. I’m on duty tonight and it’s been kinda crazy so I’ll try to make this one as short as possible …
I don’t think I’ve seen where anyone has run this video yet but you’ll have to take a few minutes and watch it. I found it on the Cleveland Fire Fighter’s IAFF Local #93 home page. Anchor and reporter Sukanya Krishnan wears multiple “hats”. She is also the wife of a FDNY Lieutenant. Watch and listen as she weighs in and speaks her mind concerning recent FDNY Staffing reductions and the “heat” FDNY’s UFA’S President Steve Cassidy took for a attributing the recent injuries of Rescue 2 members (Wiedmann and Gersbeck ) to those cuts..
(Brothers Wiedmann and Gersbeck (and their families) still need our help and support. If you haven’t done so yet, PLEASE go to the RESCUE 2 MAYDAY FUND and donate on their behalf. If you already have … do it again! Every little bit helps and they even have it set up so you can do it through Pay Pal.)
We all need a room full of firefighter wives, girlfriends etc like ” Suki ” to fill council chambers etc every time they talk about, debate and consider budget cuts to Public Safety. And don’t think for a minute that your Department budget or your pension is safe. Right now, my pension is under attack. It’s been coming for some time now but it’s just here recently that the majority of our members have “seen the light”. Here’s another video that’s well worth the watch …. The Ed Show from MSNBC …
I’ll have more on the attack and battles we’re facing here in “The Noke” in future posts. It just continues to amaze me how the “powers to be” think that their poor dumb firefighters can’t add or subtract.
Moving on …. We’ve had a Close Call here in Va. that was actually very “close to home”. On Tuesday, January 3, 2012 members from the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire. Fire Chief Billy Joe Carter arrived to find a mobile home heavily involved with fire and received reports of persons possibly trapped inside.
A power line fell in the yard and due to the ground being wet and Chief Carter’s proximity to the hazard, he was “hit”. He described the situation over the radio as “pretty bad”. The Chief remained conscious and directed his members away from him and to the fire. All searches ended up negative and the neighboring mobile home was spared heavy damage. Chief Carter was hospitalized in ICU at a local Level 1 Trauma Center. Rhett has more on Va Fire News and the local news video is below ….
We were toned out to respond when a 2nd alarm was struck at a 3 story retirement / nursing facility in our 2nd due (actually, it should be our 1st due but are assignments are based on the time of day etc … “playing the odds” and it came in as an automated alarm)
Anyway, the good news was that the sprinkler had taken care of the fire.
The bad news was that it put a whole lot of water on the 2nd floor!
We were assigned to assist “Division 2″ in the fire room.
We got in a little salvage and overhaul work as well as some ventilation…. a good learning experience for Randy.
I’ve posted about Father Webb several times here on Ironfiremen.com and think he’s a GREAT addition to our “family”
He was excited to have been issued a coat and helmet (although he forgot the helmet) and even put in a little work on this incident.
His 1st call in an “official” capacity and he has already made a difference by assisting the occupants of the fire room. GREAT job Father … glad to see ya out in the streets … just remember your helmet next time..LOL
We took 4 days off and returned to that same busy pace today….Uggg!
The most excitement so far has been a rubbish fire with our Brothers and Sisters from Engine 4 and Ladder 5.
We got a line off and Randy put in a little nozzle time so he’s been smiling all night.
I hope we’ve done all that we are going to tonight but it’s FRIDAY and I know better.
I’ll catch ya up on all the details and fill in the gaps when we get back on Sunday…
Until then, Stay SAFE and in House!
I have several examples for ya tonight … I’ll start with one from right here in “The Noke”.
LOL ….yep…. hiring my little “Rookie Randy” was some of the best money my Department has spent in a long time. This kid can do it all!
Just today, he single handedly extinguished an urban / wild land interface inferno and later played an active roll in a code save!
All kidding aside, we’ve had a good day. Days like today are why we come to work!
There wasn’t much to his “fire” earlier this morning. Leaves and rubbish burning in the back yard. It was a fairly windy morning and the fire had spread to under the deck and against the home. It had also blocked the only exit for a handicap resident.
The occupants were in a panic, fearing they were trapped; but Randy had it knocked down within seconds and with less than 500 gallons of water. Our County Brothers will be ecstatic to read that we even got the “brush rake” off the rig. Randy quickly got to the “head”, extinguished and began “cutting a line” …. LMAO … if we only had a ” PULASKI” tool.The picture above right is Randy assisting Lt. “Georgie” in topping off the tank.
Later, this evening; we received a call for someone “unresponsive”.
We arrived to find the subject not breathing and without a pulse ( “Code Blue” ). We are kinda like cowboys out here at Lucky #13 because we really don’t have any help close by. We were by ourselves for a few minutes.
Randy and George went right to work, attached the AED ( Automated External Defibrillator) began CPR and started to ventilate.
The caller had witnessed the arrest so the quicker and more efficiently we went to work, the better chances the patient would have.
We administered a couple rounds of CPR and defibrilations prior to the Medic’s arrival. Once they got there, the incident continued to run smoothly.
The ambulance assigned was Medic 4 and tonight’s crew performed flawlessly. A few quick ALS (Advanced Life Support) procedures and the patient was loaded for transport.
The good news here ??? The pt had a pulse at this point. Our Medic units are staffed with 2 so it’s normal for us to provide a member from the Engine to assist on critical incidents. Randy rode in (to the hospital) with the Medics. The even better news to this incident is that when they got to the Emergency room, the patient still had a pulse and a good blood pressure.
I hesitate to call it a “Code Save” because until they walk out of the hospital, you just never know. I will say that it was one of the smoothest run “codes” that I’ve worked in a while and that I’m DAMN PROUD of the members on scene ( Lt. George Perdue, Firefighter/EMT Randy Armbrister, Firefighter/Medic Rebecca Smith, Firefighter/Medic Brian Brooks and EMS Supervisor Captain David Bocock Jr.)
Unfortunately, Randy has responded to several “Codes” since his assignment to Engine #13 but, this is the best best outcome he’s seen yet. It was a great experience for me to be able to stand back and observe his expressions and mannerisms as he realized the difference he’s made today. He’s a part of our “team” and today, he realized how important his role is and that it “COUNTS”.
GOOD JOB BOYS (and Becky ..LOL)
By now, you all know of the December 19th Brookly fire that seriously injured Firefighters Wiedmann and Gersbeck of FDNY’s elite Rescue Company 2. Both brothers remain in the hospital facing long recoveries.
The image in the picture to the right shows Brother Wiedmann as he made his way through the inferno towards his escape out the front window. Brother Gersbeck made it down the interior stairway ( click on the picture, then again after it loads for a larger version ).
Several media outlets have spread the word of additional supplies of “Type O” blood needed for Brother Wiedmann.
We had some local members here in “The Noke” who were of the right “type”, willing and wanting to donate. We hit a few obstacles. Lt Rob “Bugg” Reid gave me a call. Who knew it would be so difficult to donate blood to a specific person in a specific location?
I have met Captain Flaherty on several occasions. I have even had the honor and privilege of sharing a couple cups of coffee with the men of Rescue 2 over some great conversation at their kitchen table.
Captain Flaherty explained that due to an “overwhelming response”, the blood supply for Brother Wiedmann “Rob” was more than adequate at this time. He went on to explain that there were other needs and ways to support Brothers Wiedmann, Gersbeck and their families.
Those of us “on the job” know and understand that these members worked a “2nd job” to make ends meet on a firefighter’s salary. For those of you who don’t know, most all of us are forced to paint, do carpentry work, mow grass or something to supplement our income… IT”S A SHAME but a FACT NONE THE LESS!
These Brothers are now unable to work that “2nd job” and provide that additional income for their families.
Their families (wives and children) are now facing commutes to and from the hospital as well as time away from their jobs as they sit with and comfort these brave men.
“Firefighter James Gersbeck had burns to his face , arm and back. At this time he is still recovering at Cornell and faces some extensive rehab. Jim has 3 children that depend on him. Firefighter Robert Weidmann has 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 54% of his body . He faces numerous skin grafts and operations“. Firefighter Wiedmann’s wife Cathy , son Ryan and daughter Erin have been making the trip from Long Island into Manhattan to be at his side.
The strain has to be near unbearable … emotionally, psychologically, and monetarily but …. WE CAN HELP!
Captain Flaherty and the members of Rescue 2 have set up a fund to help support the families of Brothers Wiedmann and Gersbeck. They want these men to concentrate on a full recovery rather than the additional hardships that injuries such as this can place on a family.
It’s EASY to donate and EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS ! You can donate by check or even through PAY PAL. The account is called ….
Click on the link above to visit the site directly or CLICK HERE to donate through PAY PAL. You can also send and make checks payable to: RESCUE COMPANY 2 F.D.N.Y. PO BOX 95 SAYVILLE, NY 11782 .
Ok … MORE money well spent but this one is gonna cost ya. The good news here is that it will only cost you 38 minutes of your time and it’s worth EVERY SECOND.
The Chicago Fire Department and the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation’s “Everyone Goes Home Initiative” have gotten together to to produce a GREAT video. The video gives us all a look at how the Chicago Fire Department is dealing with Line Of Duty Deaths ( LODDs ) , Firefighter Close Calls, Firefighter Safety Initiatives and more.
Some of the topics covered include calling the MAYDAY, seat belt use, firefighter health/wellness and more.
Chief of Training Peter VanDorpe says “If you think you got some good reason for not wearing this or for not doing things the right way write it down. Because I need to read that to your widow. Cause I’m not going to know what to say. You say it for me”
PLEASE …. take the time to watch this video. WATCH it, then SHARE it. If you are following me on Face Book, hit the “SHARE” or “LIKE” button … we all need to see this!
Stay SAFE and in House!
Sadly, reports are in of another Line Of Duty Death (LODD) in Massachusetts.
Brother James “Jim” Rice , an 11 year veteran of the Peabody Massachusetts Fire Department was killed today on the scene of a 3 alarm fire at 5 Hancock Street in Peabody.
Brother Rice leaves behind a wife and 3 children.
Rhett’s link (above) also contains some audio. Early reports were of 3 firefighter injuries with one being critical.
The incident occurred in a 3 story occupied apartment building that displaced 13 residents. This is the 2nd LODD this month in Massachusetts. Firefighter J. Davies, of Worcester MA; was killed December 8, 2011 while operating at a fire at 44 Arlington Street.
Please keep the Rice family, the Peabody Fire Department as well as all of our Brothers and Sisters in Massachusetts in your thoughts and prayers. I will attempt to keep you updates as more information becomes available.
Two years ago today, we lost our beloved Battalion Chief Billy Obenchain to his battle with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma ( CTC ).
Chief Billy retired in 2006 after serving 33 years in the Fire Service. His last assignment was Battalion Chief, C-shift North. I was honored to have worked for him.
A portion of my title “If you want to be a clown..” is a quote from a poem he wrote. That poem now hangs in our Regional Training Center and is read to every class of new recruits.
If you’re “on the job” …. hit that link above … it’s worth the read! The frame that the poem is hanging in also has the dollar bill that Chief Billy used when reading the poem to new recruits.
Chris was a 2nd generation firefighter, hired in August of 1994. His Brother remains on the job here in Roanoke as a Lieutenant (currently assigned to Station #6 C ).
Chris worked his way through the ranks to Captain and served his last assignment as the leader of “The Big Show” … Station #1 C.
Both of these Brothers remain in our thoughts and will continue to be missed by many.
Lt. Rob “Bugg” Reid posted a pic tonight on Face Book of the Christmas tree at station #5. If you look on the wall, to the left of the tree; you’ll see a framed t-shirt. That shirt is in remembrance of Chief Obenchain and Captain Brown.
Every time I think of Chief Billy, 2 people automatically come to mind. His son Zach, who is on the job here; assigned to Station #2C and his best friend, Roanoke County Fire / Rescue Battalion Chief Gary Houff.
Chief Huff is now engaged with his own battle with cancer. These two men ( Chief Billy and Chief Houff) must have been from the same mold because Chief Houff is fighting just as hard and proving to be just as stubborn.
Chief Houff was the Battalion here on C-shift as well and even though he works for the County, we got to see each other a lot. Not just work either …. Chief Huff stayed by Billy’s side everyday of his fight. It was a true testament to BROTHERHOOD.
Well, Chief Houff crew (County Station #1) had him and his family out for Christmas dinner tonight. I got the call and had “Acting Battalion” Captain Clayton Martin come pick me up. Clayton and I rode out to sit with Chief Houff and his men of Station #1 tonight.
We had a BLAST!
Captain Witt and Chief Houff have a squared away crew and it was an honor to sit around the kitchen table with these Brothers tonight.
There were plenty of stories, laughing and even a swelled eye or two between me and the Chief.
Gary is doing and looking well … another one who encompasses the name of this blog… “Wooden Ladders and Iron Firemen”.
THANKS for the invite and allowing us to share in the BROTHERHOOD experienced around that table tonight men!
Real quick, I’ll mention 1 of 2 visitors to our station tonight ( I’ll catch the 2nd tomorrow).
I LOVE Father Webb. We met back on St. Patty’s Day and really “clicked” ( yea.. me and a Priest)
I’m not sure if or how he knew I had a lot on my mind and was carrying a heavy heart today but it was comforting to have him in our house.
Father Webb has been a great addition to our family and I am thankful for his work.
Ok, out of respect for the topics and men I’ve mentioned tonight, I’m not going to add a Sexy Santa’s Helper to this post. I’m sure you all understand.
We start our 4 day in the morning but I’ll check back in before midnight.
PLEASE …. PLEASE….Stay SAFE and in House!
That said, not all of the news from last week was “negative” in nature.
Thursday, was a near record day for the Fire / EMS Blog Network . Obviously, Ironfiremen.com is part of the Fire/EMS Blog Network and I recently received an e-mail from the “Boss” Dave Iannone . Here are a couple excerpts …..”With the multiple national events yesterday, it would seem at first glance yesterday was one of the busiest days in the history of EPS web traffic wise amongst all sites”
He went on to say … “FireEMSBlogs.com (led by Statter, Geezer and Iron Fireman), had XXXXX page views and XXXXX unique visitors –its second biggest day ever as a network”
I mention this for a couple of reasons. First, because I am proud to be part of the Network and of the work we do. Believe it or not, running these sites takes a LOT of work. I am equally as proud of the fact that we did our ”job” this past Thursday. Obviously, folks visit and read our sites. The reasons vary. Some sites are informative, training type sites while others are more focused on news events etc around the fire / EMS world ( Me??? I’m not real sure what category I fall into ).
Anyway, as difficult as it is for us to talk about events such as what transpired on Thursday, several of our sites reported the information in a factual and professional manner. People look to our sites to find out what’s happening. The Fire Geezer (Bill Schumm) was on the Worcester incident early. A Fire Geezer contributor Mike Ward (Fossil Medic) even posted a detailed time line of “Tweets” as they were posted (tweeted) by a Boston Firefighter from L29 ( see that post / timeline HERE ).
I posted on the Va. Tech shooting ( HERE ) and followed up a bit later with the Mount Vernon, NY LODD ( HERE ). There were several other posts, tweets and Face Book updates by multiple / various members throughout the day.
These were “TRUE” Line Of Duty Deaths (Back Step Firefighter Bill Carey will know what I mean). Firefighter Davies ( Worcester) killed in a collapse while searching for a victim on the scene of a 3 story (triple decker) working apartment fire. Firefighter Townes (Mount Vernon) died of an apparent heart attack while dressing out on the scene of a working basement fire. Officer Crouse, murdered in his Police cruiser while performing his duties.
We here at the Fire / EMS Blog Network went to work……It’s the best way I know to honor the fallen. There was a part in the Movie Ladder 49 that really sums it up for me… I couldn’t find just the small clip so here’s about 10 minutes worth…. all you need to see is the first minute and 3 seconds.
Blogging is one thing but members all across this Country are honoring these men in the same way…. by getting back on the truck! Police Officers are on duty tonight on the Va. Tech Campus. Brothers of IAFF L-1009 are staffing the rigs in Worcester, Ma. and the Mount Vernon (NY) Fire department stands ready to take in the next call.
Just this morning, Dave Statter posted a video of our Brothers in Wilmington, Delaware rescuing 2 children from a house fire….
Solid work brothers! I just wanted to take the time to thank each and every one of you. Thanks for following this site … again, I don’t know why you do but obviously, you’re finding whatever it is you’re looking for and that really makes all my time and effort worth while. Secondly, THANKS for doing the job you do! For manning the rigs and pulling the tour. I can say that with complete understanding of the sacrifices you and your families make so again … THANKS!
Ok.. moving on. I’m CALLING ALL JAKES! I want you pictures. Pictures of Christmas around your station. Santa on the rig, Parade pics, Christmas lights on or around the station. Your Christmas tree, members in a Santa’s hat etc. ANYTHING “Christmas” around the firehouse. I will make an album and post them on Face Book as well as here on Ironfiremen.com.
Our West Coast Brothers already have a jump on us. Now retired Captain Joe Schmoe ( Report on Conditions) has already posted pics of ol Santa riding on Riverside California’s Engine #14.
We spoke on the phone last night (night here .. afternoon there) and he was able to “rub in” that he had just finished setting up camp. By the lake in 80 some degree weather. He also happened to mention that he had just “popped a top” on an ice cold adult beverage.
Grrrrrrrrrrr ! Lucky son of a gun! LOL See his post on that conversation HERE
At least Captain Schmoe is doing what he’s supposed to ( and what I told him to do) … ENJOYING RETIREMENT! Have fun and relax Brother … miss ya and will be seeing you soon.
Station #5 has lights and a tree up!
This picture is the pole which is mounted against the wall of the day room (looking from the kitchen). The pole obviously goes nowhere but came out of either “old” Station #5 or Station #9 ….. both of which were shut down to open this new combined station.
I’m pretty sure that the pole is out of Station #9 while the chalk board behind it is out of “old” #5. It’s our way of holding on to a little piece of our history. Pride … No matter which house the pole came from, if I had a dollar for every time I slid it, I could retire early ( I spent a lot of time in both houses).
I’m glad to see it in the new station and happy to see the Brothers and Sisters showing some pride and decorating the station. It was very nice!
They even had little fire helmet lights. I’ll throw in a shot of those and one of our Battalion Chief, Teddy Adkins sitting by their tree…
We were at Station #5 this evening for a very important assignment …. to EAT …LOL. Chief Adkins has made a “tradition” out of buying a meal for his Battalion around the Christmas Holiday ( Actually, Teddy does this for his Battalion twice a year).
The Chief bought a pig and, with the help of Firefighter Brady McDonald ( and the entire crew of #5-C ); cooked it right there at the station!
These guys came in early and started cooking at around 4:30 this morning!
We headed over around 4:30 this evening for a GREAT meal. Pork, slaw, beans and fries …. DELICIOUS !!!
Special THANKS to Chief Adkins for the thought. Thanks also to the Brothers and Sister of Station #5-C for putting in the time and effort to prepare it for us ( not just Lucky #13 … the whole North side Battalion) .
On a local note, our IAFF Local (L-1132) will be hosting another “Retiree’s Breakfast” on Tuesday morning ( December 13, 2011). Any and all members available to help should report to the Union Hall as early as possible. This is a great event where you have the chance to give back to the men and women who helped build our department and it’s rich history / tradition. It’s especially great for the newer / younger members because they get to mingle / meet a lot of our retirees (don’t worry rookies … the retirees will introduce themselves and ask who the hell you are..LOL).
Usually, I kind of head up the breakfast and spend the morning cooking with my dad, Rhett, Brent Berry and several others. Unfortunately, this time I will NOT be in attendance. Instead, Rhett and I will be in a meeting in NYC. I was asked not to disclose the details or purpose of our meeting at this time but assure you it’s worthy of missing the breakfast. Brother JJ Price will take over cooking duties … please make every effort to show up early and lend a hand … I guarantee you wont regret it.
DON’T FORGET TO SEND IN THOSE PICS!!!! Thanks again for following. Keep our fallen and those on duty in your thoughts and prayers this Christmas Season and each day after. I’ll check back in from New York or while on the way (it’s Rhett’s turn to drive again .. say a little extra prayer for me..LOL). Until I do, Stay Safe and in House!
**Note time change on Services for Brother Davies … correct time is 10am (post edited to reflect the correct time)***
It’s been a terrible and horrific week for Public Safety. Please continue to keep the Departments, family and friends of our fallen in your thoughts and prayers. Also remember that all across this country, members are pulling a tour…. today, tonight, tomorrow and everyday day / hour after. That’s how we honor the fallen … by putting our boots on, getting back on the rig and doing our job!
Here are the funeral arrangements for last weeks LODDs…
Horne Funeral Home in Christiansburg is serving the needs of the Crouse Family.
Visitation will be on Sunday December 11, 2011 from 3:00pm until 8:00pm at the Horne Funeral Home (1300 North Franklin Street Christiansburg, VA 24073-1416 (540) 382-2612.
Funeral Services will be held on Monday December 12, 2011 at Cassell Coliseum on the campus of Virginia Tech located at the corner of Washington Street and Spring Road beginning at 2:00pm
support the Crouse family here … HOKIES FOR CROUSE
Visitation “calling hours” will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday (December 14, 2011) at Camelot Funeral Home,174 Stevens Ave., Mount Vernon, NY.
The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday (December 15, 2011) at Grace Baptist Church, 52 S. Sixth Ave., Mount Vernon,NY.
Visitation “calling hours” to be held at Mercandante Funeral Home, 370 Plantation St. in Worcester from 3 to 8 pm Wednesday December 14, 2011
Services to be held at 10 a.m. Thursday December 15, 2011 in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 24 Mulberry St. Worcester.
WELL DONE BROTHERS …. REST IN PEACE!
Like I said earlier, it’s difficult to get into the “Christmas Spirit” following today’s events. Rhett called me early this morning to make sure I was aware of what was happening in Worcester Massachusetts.
My phone was abuzz with messages and texts throughout the morning as we learned of the Line Of Duty Death of Brother Davies.
Our Brothers from Worcester responded to 44 Arlington Street around 4 am. Cold temperatures and high winds were already on scene. The Brothers arrived to find a working fire in a 3 story (“triple decker”) apartment and went to work.
A total of 12 people were rescued / evacuated from the structure before one of those occupants reported someone missing. Two crews re-entered the building for a secondary search in hopes of locating this missing occupant. Firefighters Davies and Carroll were one of those teams. The occupant was reported to have been in a upper, rear bedroom. About the time the members reached the area, a collapse of the rear of the structure occurred.
The result killed firefighter Davies and seriously injured Firefighter Carroll, trapping him for nearly an hour.
Any LODD is tragic but this Worcester loss comes just days from the 12th anniversary of the December 3, 1999 cold storage fire that claimed the lives of 6 other Worcester firefighters.
The members lost that day were Paul A Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson, Jeremiah M. Lucey, James F. “Jay” Lyons III, Joseph T. McGuirk and Lt. Thomas E. Spencer.
Firefighter Davies was a 17 year veteran of the Worcester Fire Department. He was also the father of 3 sons. I will keep you posted as more details and arrangements are released. Please keep the family and friends of Brother Davies in your thoughts and prayers. Hold a special place in your hearts and mind for the Brothers and Sisters of the Worcester Fire Department as well as prayers, hopes and wishes for a full and speedy recovery for Brother Carroll.
I’m sure the Arlington Street fire was a sort of ”mini- deja vu” for the people of Worcester Massachusetts because we had something very similar right here in “small town” Virginia today.
There was another shooting on the campus of Va Tech today leaving two people, one of which was a Va Tech Police Officer; dead. The name of the officer (nor the 2nd deceased) has not been released at this time . It is believed ( but unconfirmed ) that the incident is a possible murder / suicide.
There were 2 active crime scenes (both on campus) following the shootings. Va State Police were also conducting operations at an I-81 rest stop in nearby Radford, Va.
The Va Tech campus was on “lock down” as was several nearby grade schools. Fire, Rescue and Police from several adjoining jurisdictions responded to the incident.
Much like with the Worcester LODD, this incident opens old wounds and brings back unwanted memories. It was just back on April 16th, 2007 that Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people and wounded 25 on the VT campus before taking his own life. That incident is now often referred to as the “VT Massacre”.
I can only imagine the feelings and thoughts going through the minds of the members on either of these scenes today … Worcester or Va Tech. I would guess several (and I actually know of some ) of these members were on scene of the first incidents. I would also say and think that several folks (both civilian and on the job) relived those past feelings / emotions as today’s events unfolded.
I can remember the details of the Cold Storage fire coming out bit by bit. I also remember exactly where I was on the day of the VT Massacre. I was on duty. My daughter was in class … at Va Tech!
Today, many of those emotions returned for me. Following the news from Worcester, I thought … “oh no … not again!”. I also wondered how much more the brothers of Worcester can take? When I got the news of the on campus shooting, my thoughts went back to 2007 and how thankful I was that my daughter was safe and unharmed that day. My thoughts then turned to the murdered officer and the others who would be responding today.
You see, we are a small enough community down here that we still help each other out in times of need and know each other by name. I have several friends and Brothers on Police forces all around us. Dallas Leamon of the VT Police Department .. long time and good friend. George Jackson and James McClain also members of the VT Police Department as well as players for The Roanoke Rampage. Nathan Odell, Ben Machingo, and Sedrick Hayes also play for the Rampage while working for the Blacksburg PD. Travis Harvey is another player and works for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Dept. We also have several players who work for the Va State Police .. William Monteith, Richard Conley and Corbin Brown.
These Brothers are safe and will return home at the end of their shift. They, as well as the slain Officer (who’s name has yet to be released) have my gratitude, sympathy and shall remain in my thoughts and prayers as well.
Firefighter Kevin Townes of the Mt. Vernon City (NY) Fire Department died on the scene of a working fire at about 2:45am this morning.
Members responded to 124 Lorraine Ave where they found a working fire in the basement. Brother Townes was on the 3rd in and collapsed of an apparent heart attack while donning his gear. Reports say treatment was quickly initiated by members on scene but their efforts would not save Brother Townes.
Brother Townes leaves behind his mother, wife, three daughters and a son (children ranging in age from 12-24). He was a 25 year veteran of the Mt. Vernon Fire Department and the 1st LODD in the Department since 1995.
As with all the members above .. please keep Brother Townes Department, friends and family in your thoughts and prayers as they move forward through these difficult times.
WELL DONE BROTHERS! We wont forget you .. and we’ll take it from here…