It’s been almost 12 years now since 2,750 people, including 343 of our Brothers; were murdered at the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
That in itself is hard for me to believe because it’s still so fresh in my mind.
It’s also hard for me to believe that they are still identifying remains but this past Friday, they did just that.
The announcement was made that the remains of Lieutenant Jeffrey Patrick Walz were positively identified.
Lt. Walz was 37 years old at the time of his death and was promoted promoted posthumously. He was assigned to Ladder Company 9 in downtown Manhattan. He had a wife, Rani; and a 3 year old son Bradley.
The Medical Examiner’s office has been retesting remains found from the original recovery efforts which was prior to May 2002.
I said it’s “good news” but I guess for the family, it’s bitter sweet.
His sister, Karen Ciaccio says there hasn’t been a day in the nearly 4,000 that have passed since his death that they haven’t thought about Jeffrey. I’m sure this latest development will cause all the emotion and memories to resurface but also hope it brings some sort of peace to their lives.
His Brother, Raymond; said “We’re just very relieved, in some respects, to be finally bringing him home to where he grew up and to put him to rest there,” (quote from NBC New York.com).
I hope they are able to find peace through this. I say “peace” vs. “closure” because I don’t think there’s ever “closure” when you loose a loved one. I also hope the Medical Examiner’s office is able to identify even more victims through their retesting process.
Finding Lt. Walz was the “good news” from my title. The pain and disgust comes from Bravo’s reality television show “The Princesses: Long Island”.
Last week, Chief Goldfeder alerted us of the disgraceful event that took place at a 9/11 Memorial in Great Neck, Long Island.
Cast from the show was doing some sort of photo shoot in front of the memorial. There were 6 FDNY members from Great Neck who were murdered in the September 11th attacks. Their names are memorialized on the wall behind the life sized statue of Jonathan Ielpi whom the park is named after … Jon’s Park”.
The cast was undressing and changing cloths in front of the memorial and even enacted giving Jonathan a drink of beer.
IT WAS NOT ONLY DISTASTEFUL, IT WAS ALSO VERY DISRESPECTFUL!
Family interviews, more video and links HERE and HERE
This story hits close to home for me because I’ve met Jonathan’s Father and Brother (Lee and Brendan). I’ve written about them several times here on Ironfiremen.com.
Back in October of 2011 I met Jonathan’s father, Lee Ielpi; and it remains one of the most memorial days of my life.
I was in New York with Rhett and Zach Green (of MN8 FoxFire). Chief Goldfeder arranged a tour of the 9/11 Tribute Center for us. It’s located next to Ground Zero.
“9/11 Tribute Center offers visitors to the World Trade Center site a place where they can connect with people from the September 11th community. Through walking tours, exhibits and programs, the 9/11 Tribute Center offers “Person to Person History,” linking visitors who want to understand and appreciate these historic events with those who experienced them.”
Lee is a retired Captain from FDNY’s Rescue 2 and is the Founder of the 9/11 Tribute Center. Lee gave us the tour personally!
Chief Goldfeder called in a huge favor on this one as his assistants made it very clear that Lee had a VERY busy schedule and would only be able to spend about 10 minutes with us.
Within minutes of our introduction, we both knew we’d be spending more than 10 minutes together. I still can’t describe it but remember it as if it was just this morning. When we shook hands and made eye contact, there was an instant bond.
Like a father would a son, Lee NEVER took his hand off me for more than 30 seconds until the end of our visit. Whether it was his hand on my shoulder or back, holding my elbow etc, he hardly ever broke contact. It was VERY personal for me.
Actually, he said that he tries to avoid that display most days but wanted to share it with us.
He wanted me to see it and for him to be the one to show me. I cry still today thinking about what we shared there that morning.
Jonathan was assigned to Squad 288 out of Queens. They lost 19 members that day, more than any other company.
Lee searched “the pile” every day with who he called the “eight dads”. They found Jonathan’s body 3 months from the day of the attacks.
I don’t think Lee has left the pile yet. I don’t think he ever will.
I can’t say enough about either of these two GREAT men. Their poise and strength is amazing to me, especially now that I know the pain of having lost a brother myself.
These two men, Jonathan, the remaining 342 and all of their survivors deserve our RESPECT … not the disrespect shown by Bravo and the Princesses:Long Island cast.
PLEASE, take the time to use the links I’ve provided so you’ll understand their story. Then, contact Bravo and let them know how upset you are with the actions of and disrespect shown by the cast of Princesses: Long Island.
As always, I was with Zach Green and my MN8 Fox Fire family. It was a GREAT show!
I always get asked why I travel so much. Why I enjoy going to these shows and exactly what is “it” that keeps me going back. The answer to that is simple …. it’s THE PEOPLE!
We always meet so many GREAT Brothers and Sisters at these events. I guess we call it “networking” now but the opportunity to meet, talk with and share information (and the brotherhood) with these folks is invaluable. I learn something from every trip we take but more so, I make life long friends and get to share and spread the Brotherhood.
Before I even left, I posted on Face Book that I was heading North.
Within minutes, I was getting messages with invitations to stop by this station or that one. To meet this Brother or that for lunch etc. It always amazes me and is very humbling that these Brothers and Sisters openly invite me in.
I did make a stop on this trip beyond my regulars. On the way up I-81 I dropped in on the Riverheads VFD.
Brother Chris Botkin invited me out and gave me a great tour of their station and rigs. I could see the PRIDE these Brothers have for the job by the way they kept the house and their rigs. Thanks to Chris for inviting me out. I wish I had longer to stay by the short rest was needed and very welcomed.
As usual, we were very busy in the booth…. we always are and for several reasons.
“The most interesting man in the world” was there for one reason and that guy from the Dos Equis beer commercials made an appearance as well.
LOL … all kidding aside, we are always busy because the product is that good. For us it’s all about firefighter safety. About increasing your visibility, aiding in your accountability and decreasing your chances of becoming disoriented.
If you’ve never seen the product in person, you need to. We can’t effectively explain what it is and how it works. Contact us through our web site or via Face book to find a dealer near you.
As hard as we work in the booth … we play and rest with just as much vigor afterwards.
There are always a group of old friends and “regular” show attendees / vendors that we are able to catch up with at each show. This event was no different.
Clayton Murphy from Crosstitched was there. If you’ve never seen Clayton’s work, that the time to hit the link I provided. Clayton is a class act and it’s evident in his work. Even the boxes he ships in will make an impression on you … trust me.
He’s a plethora of knowledge and always a BLAST to hang out with. It was good to be able to spend some time with him once again.
I should also mention Bryan Sypniewski and Dolores Bochenek. They are both part of our “Boots on the Street” team who helped work the booth this weekend and they did an AWESOME job!
Like I said, beyond our team, family and long time friends, it’s always good to meet new Brothers and Sisters for the first time. Some many people came up to speak to me this weekend that I could never mention them all.
Everyone offers words of encouragement, condolences and appreciation. Again I’ll say it humbling… VERY humbling. Thanks to each of you for taking the time to talk to me.
I remember you all and several stand out. One of those stand outs was Dave Hitt from Vestal New York. We have been talking to Dave on Face Book for a while now and we were all very excited to meet him in person.
Dave even wrote a blog post about the expo and our visit. Check it out here … Through the Smoke
Special Thanks to Dave for the “shout out” in his post but more importantly for taking the time to drop by the booth and say hello.
Thanks as well (and again) to everyone who took the time to drop by or hang around and chat. If you took a photo of us, please remember to “tag” me in them if you post to Face Book.
I hated to leave but Sunday was Fathers Day and I made it back just in time.
I got to spend a little time with the Buckaroo before heading out to spend a little with Pop.
I have to admit that even as tired as I was, it was very relaxing spending time with dad and the boys of Nothin Fancy .
The boys were up in nearby Floyd County Va playing a few bluegrass tunes for the folks. If you’re a Bluegrass fan and have never heard of Nothin Fancy be sure to use these links and check them out… you’re gonna LOVE em!
It was an outside venue and VERY relaxing. It’s always good to be out with friends and family and it tied up my weekend very nicely.
Besides the great music, there is a very nice restaurant nearby and all sorts of other activities to get into.
Apparently, they even had a face painting booth. Looks like my wife found out where it was. Mustache envy knows no boundaries …. just look at her face … GUILTY! LOL
I hope you all enjoyed your Fathers Day as much as I did mine. If this rain ever quits, I’ll be back in the hay field until about Christmas. Meanwhile, I’ll try to get back to ya as soon as possible. Until I do … stay SAFE and in House!
It’s a VERY fancy place and sure to be a great show! You should have seen the look on their faces when I walked into the hotel with my cowboy hat and boots last night. When I asked “How yall doin” you could have heard a pin drop ….. LMAO (they’re gonna LOVE me here!).
We will be set up in booth #2125 so if you’re at the show, be sure to stop by for a personal demo of the MN8 FoxFire product line.
If you’re already using FoxFire, stop by anyway to tell us how it’s working for ya or just to say hello.
I’m not sure of our full schedule yet but I do know that tonight, I will be at the Capitol Region F.O.O.L.S meet-up. If you want to attend, you can find more details HERE . These are a GREAT bunch of Brothers and Sisters and actually, Rhett and I will be back up here in September to speak at one of their events …. I can’t wait!
I’m not sure who all was on duty yesterday or who was first in but I do know that the Officers and members of B-shift are all “dialed in” and good at what we do. Most likely, it would have been Engine #2 (Captain Trussler), Engine #3 (Captain Kesterson) or Engine #13 (Captain Dillon) first in. Either way, it looks like the boys did a great job of handling the incident. STRONG WORK Brothers….. STRONG WORK.
So, It’s time for me to iron my Bunker Kilt and get ready for today’s events. Rhett stayed behind this trip as he’s at the Virginia Fire Officer’s Academy in Richmond ( “getting his learn on” …LOL). He says it’s a GREAT class and that he’s taking a lot away from it. I can’t wait til he gets a post up about it over on FireCritic…. be sure to keep an eye out for it.
So there ya have it. Short and sweet for now. I’ll try to get ya more tonight … depending on how late those F.O.O.L.S keep me out.
I just returned from the Fire Expo in Harrisburg, Pa. It was another GREAT trip, full of BROTHERHOOD but not without it’s ups and downs. It was almost like a roller coaster ride … let me try to explain.
To begin with, although Harrisburg is a show Rhett and I have been wanting to attend for some time now, it was not on our schedule this year. As it turned out, Zach Green and our MN8 Fox Fire team really needed us so we began scrambling. I was able to work it out but Rhett wasn’t. Once again this year, I would be traveling without him.
The good news was that my wife was able to take some time off so she could go in his place. Donna has never traveled with us (or me) to one of these shows before so I was excited to get to show her what they are like and everything we do.
Donna and I loaded up the “Blog Mobile” and pointed her North….. we wouldn’t make it far though. About 15 miles into the trip, I stopped at the only stop light we would encounter between the house and Harrisburg. When I stopped, smoke was visible from under the hood, right at the windshield.
She says to me (as if I haven’t noticed it) … “I think the van is over heating”. My reply was simple… “nope”.
“We’re never gonna make it …. this thing is over heating already …. I’m telling ya” she says.
As the light turns green, I tell her … “Honey … it’s NOT over heating … IT’S ON FIRE”. You should have seen the look on her face…LOL. I pulled into the store parking lot just through the light and we get out. I popped the hood and she was rolling. Donna was about to panic and asked me “what are we going to do?”.
Calmly, I told her “calm down … I’m a fireman … look in the cooler and get me a beer” (I had a cooler packed for Expo). Then, her panic turned to anger …. “You’re NOT going to stand here and drink a beer while this van burns up!” LMAO. I didn’t pack or have any water (or an extinguisher) …. I need SOMETHING to put this thing out I quickly explained. Get me a beer and start emptying our luggage.
So there I am …. shaking and opening beers to extinguish the fire. You can imaging the look on Captain Week’s face as Roanoke County’s Wagon 10 rolled in!
Turns out, that while sitting in the driveway since FDIC; a bird had decided to use the engine compartment as a place for nesting. It was turning out to be a GREAT start of our trip!
We arranged for a tow truck and switched vehicles to get back on the road. We were running beside a gasoline tanker as it blew a trailer tire and sat for hours in bumper to bumper stopped traffic due to a crash just south of Harrisburg but we eventually made it to our hotel.
The next morning, the MN8 FoxFire Team would assemble on the exhibit hall floor for the first of three busy days.
Once again, we had Andrew Arnold and the Box Alarm LeatherTeam in the booth so it was almost like we were twice as busy.
Box Alarm and MN8 FoxFire have teamed up to deliver yet another GREAT product! With Box Alarm’s quality work (and a LIFETIME GAURANTEE), using 8-10 oz bridle leather (tanned in the USA), 3M’s flame resistant reflective fabric combined with MN8′s advanced illumination technology, these two “by firefighters, for firefighters” companies have delivered one of the best radio strap combination packages on the market! We debuted them at FDIC and SOLD OUT! They were just as popular in Harrisburg. To learn more about this new product, CLICK HERE or HERE.
I’m always VERY busy giving demos while in the booth but I also get to spend a few minutes talking with hundreds of Brother and Sister firefighters. I think that’s one of the things I like the most about working these shows … meeting and making new friends within the Fire Service.
After the show on Friday, I did just that … met and made some GREAT new friends.
Donna and I got to spend the evening and share a meal with the Brothers and Sisters of Colonial Park Fire Company.
I have to tell ya …. these Brothers and Sisters “get it”.
When Lt. Mike Rodkey invited us out, I wasn’t sure if we could pull it off. When “on the road” we (the MN8 FoxFire Team) usually travel as a team and it’s difficult to drop in and visit a company with a crew of 8-10. On top of that, we had about 4 separate invitations / obligations for that evening and we were already worn out from the long days work in the booth. All things considered, Zach and I decided to split the team and try to cover as many obligations as possible. I was glad I made it to Colonial Park!
My visit started off with a tour of their house and rigs. “Cheech”, a Colonial Park “live-in” member; rolled out the red carpet. You could see the PRIDE in the company and it’s members as he showed me every little detail. Everything was neat, clean and in order …. another example of PRIDE.
I also got to meet and talk with Sam Swartz.
Sam is like the 2nd or 3rd most ACTIVE Senior member of the Colonial Park Fire Company with 50 YEARS OF SERVICE!
Sam showed me around their trophy / display room where they housed one of their earlier pieces along with numerous trophies, photos etc.
He also shared some of their HISTORY and TRADITION with me. I could have listened to his stories all week! IT WAS AN HONOR meeting him and having the opportunity to hear his stories!
After the tour, it was time to eat and just like everything else I had seen from Colonial Park, they went all out.
London Broil on the grill …… and I mean MELT IN YOUR MOUTH London Broil!
There’s something very humbling to me to get to sit down at a table with a group of firefighters and their wives, husbands and family and share a meal. A meal that they paid for out of their pockets and yet decided to share with me. It’s humbling because I know the sacrifices they’ve made to be able to do this. I’ve shared in it. It’s like we’ve known each other all along even though we’ve never met. It’s BROTHERHOOD.
We took a few photos and I got the opportunity to shake each of their hands and thank them before Donna and I had to head out to our next meeting. I would like to say to them once again … THANK YOU!
Eventually, we made it back to our hotel room for a few hours sleep. Before we knew it, we were back on the floor at Expo. The 2nd day was as busy as the first. Once again I got to meet several GREAT Brothers and Sisters during and between my demos.
After Saturday’s show, we were off to the “Progress Bash”. Although it wasn’t a F.O.O.L.S Bash, it was very much like one.
This Bash was hosted by the Progress Fire Company … just down the road from Colonial Park.
These Brothers and Sisters know how to throw a party!
The place was PACKED and we had a BLAST!!
I wasn’t the only one wearing a kilt (BunkerKilt.com) but I was shocked to see that I was the only one wearing my helmet (Phenix Helmets) . I do have to admit that I wasn’t the best looking one there in a kilt. I can say that for certain because the Girls of Fire House Dolls were also on hand. We took a few pictures together and I even got to review their 2014 calendar … TRUST me … use the link I provided and look them up … yo’r gonna LOVE the new calendar!
Stan Jaworski was also on hand with his camera. Stan is well known for his photos and I’m personally a big fan. Check out some of his pictures from the 2013 Progress Bash HERE and find him on Face Book HERE .
There were also some Pipes and Drums in attendance. I never caught their name nor learned if they were like a “renegade” bunch or not but either way, they did a very nice job! Here’s some video…
So it was another late night to bed and an early rise for day #3 of Expo. Again we were shocked at just how busy we remained. Just like days 1 and 2, we got to meet so many dedicated Brothers and Sisters.
We also had a very special guest salesman in the booth.
Word got out to 14 year old Ian Swarr that our Team was a little overwhelmed at our first Harrisburg Expo so he came to the Rescue.
Zach and the crew actually got to have dinner with Ian the night before and I thankfully were able to convince him into helping out on Sunday.
Ian is a true inspiration and I’m honored to call him my friend. He even took Donna around the Expo floor to introduce her to all his friends and “show her the ropes”
I’m not sure exactly what they did but they both returned with a sack full of swag and smiles on their faces …lol. If you want to talk about “heart” and meet a GREAT young man… look no further.
There’s NO WAY I can mention everyone I got to see and spend some time with this weekend. I won’t even try because I know I will leave someone out. There are a few however that I want to give a “shout out” to and I think I know a way to encompass the rest.
Once again, we got to spend some time with the guys from Fire Cam. These guys are AWESOME (even Dave Statter hangs out in their booth). Rob Schield and Cris Burch are another example of guys who “get it”. If you’re not familiar with Fire Cam and their products, YOU SHOULD BE.
This is the ONLY Fire Helmet Camera designed by Firefighters. You can learn more and find them on the web by CLICKING HERE . Also find them on Face Book HERE.
Another name I want to drop is Clayton Murphy of Crosstitched. Clayton was also set up at Harrisburg and spent some time with us. For those of you who don’t know, Crosstitched is the designer and supplier of the IronFiremen / Fire Critic “Hey Brother” shirts. Crosstitched is another Firefighter owned company that needs (and deserves) our support. Clayton is a SUPER guys and ALL of his designs ROCK! Wait until you order some of his shirts … as soon as you see the box he ships in, you’ll know he’s a class act! He also does CUSTOM shirts !
Visit their Web site HERE or find them on Face Book HERE
I apologize for not listing everyone I met and spent time with. It is also nearly impossible to include all the pictures we took. I did put together a small photo album on Face Book. Take a look and feel free to TAG YOURSELF if included in one of the shots. Also, please share and / or tag me if you have a photo of us from Expo. Use the link below to view the album …
I have a few more stories to share with from Expo but I’ll catch them in a later post. There have been a couple LODD’s over the weekend and storms are tearing through the several states leaving huge paths of destruction and several dead. Please keep all those affected including the Brothers and Sisters responding to these incidents in your thoughts and prayers.
Despite having to drive 8 hours in the pouring rain, we made it home safely. I hope everyone else did as well.
I’m worn out … mentally and physically. Spent some time with the Buckaroo and my beautiful bride before heading out to the hot tub for a little “unwind” time while thinking over everything we experienced this week.
Can you tell by the pic? You can take the fireman out of FDIC but you can’t take FDIC out of the fireman! LOL
What I mean by that is FDIC is so huge and all encompassing that there’s no way you can attend and not come away with something. A full week of training and Brotherhood shared by the absolute BEST in our business! I’ll share with ya a little of what I experienced and brought home …
Unfortunately, Rhett and I did not attend any of the training this year. Our schedule simply wouldn’t allow it.
This year, we represented 2 GREAT companies and friends of the Fire Service while working their booths on the exhibit floor.
Black Diamond Boots asked us to be in their booth this year and we couldn’t have been more pleased. Rhett and I are both big fans of Black Diamond and the X2 Boot. We wear them in our gear and have for years.
That’s what makes it easy for us to be in a booth like Black Diamonds (that and the “Booth Babes”) …. it’s a great product and we use it daily. We believe in it and can talk to potential buyers in an up front and honest manner.
When we’re standing there selling these boots, we are WEARING them. We wear them ALL DAY LONG … 3 days in a row! We work in them, we climb in them. We can do this because they are a great boot …. they fit well and they’re comfortable.
Would you trust a fire boot salesman wearing Nike tennis shoes? I didn’t think so. Anyway, we got to meet a lot of great Brothers and Sisters shopping for boots. We (Black Diamond) even gave a pair away each day. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to try on a pair. It was GREAT meeting you all. We know you’re gonna love this boot so be sure to visit their web site or find them on Face Book to locate your local dealer.
We only spent 4 hours with Black Diamond. The rest of our time on the floor was spent with Zach Green in the MN8 FoxFire booth.
Rhett and I have been part of the FoxFire Family for several years now. We’re a natural fit!
It’s another product that we use every day on the job. It’s a product geared toward firefighter safety and accountability …. AND IT WORKS!
By firefighters for firefighters … who understands us better?
This year was VERY exciting for Zach and our team as we unveiled several NEW PRODUCTS at the show. One of those products is a SCBA Identifier Tag. Another GREAT “Illuminating” product to aid us in visibility and accountability.
We also had our good friends from Box Alarm Leather in the booth to help promote our Illuminating Radio Straps.
That’s right …. made right here in the USA by Box Alarm Leather, they come with a lifetime warranty and THEY GLOW!
Rhett and I have been big fans of Box Alarm for years as well. GREAT quality with quick and reliable service. They are the company who made our custom fronts as well.
You can purchase the Radio Strap, a universal radio case and anti-sway strap as a complete kit or purchase them separately (they ALL “Illuminate”!!!). Be sure to visit these links to learn more and order yours today!
It’s a GREAT event! “Over the past ten years, Stop, Drop, Rock ‘n’ Roll has played an important part in helping us honor America’s fallen firefighters. It is a chance for firefighters to give back to the fire service and have fun at the same time. Through a small donation at the door you have all helped the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation honor and support the families of firefighters who have died in the line of duty.”
This years entertainment was none other than Darryl Worley and he did ONE HELL OF A JOB!
He played acoustic and sounded GREAT and even took the time to sign autographs and pose for pictures afterwards. He ended the show with one of his hits, “Have you forgotten?”
The only thing better than listening to Darryl sing was getting to dance to his music with the CEO of Phenix Helmets, Nicole Clesceri ! I’m not sure of the final numbers but I think the auction went ok as well this year. I do know that everyone in attendance had a good time and we can only hope we raised a LOT of money for the NFFF and our surviving families.
Another event we attended was the Fire Rescue, Fire / EMS Blog Network and Firefighter Nation “Meet Up”.
For those of you who don’t know, Rhett, Dave Statter and I (along with SEVERAL others) have our sites hosted by the Fire / EMS Blog Network. The Network is FULL of many great writers providing us all with a variety of resources related to the job.
Fire Rescue Magazine Editor in Chief, Tim Sendelbach recognized several of our writers for their contributions this year. I was honored to have been one of those recognized. It was totally unexpected … I was humbled and HONORED.
Afterwards, we headed over to dinner with our MN8 FoxFire family.
Every year at FDIC, Zach treats the team to dinner on Friday night.
It amazed me to think back over the past few years and realize just how much (and quickly) our team / family has grown.
Speaking of renting out an entire Building …. later that evening, Rhett and I also hosted our very own “Meet-Up” at the Hard Rock Cafe and it too was a HUGE success!
WOW! There were 100-150 people who came out to share a few drinks and some Brotherhood with us. We have always wanted to do something like this but for one reason or another haven’t been able to pull it off.
For me, beyond the attendance; there were several highlights of the evening. The first, was a special presentation made to me by Erin and Stephen Foster of Ayden’s Gifts .
“Our missions are to bring handmade memorials to those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. Our goal is to paint something for you to cherish for years to come! Whether it is a plate, mug or figurine!”
This presentation was totally unexpected and caught me off guard. HONORED and HUMBLED doesn’t even begin to define what (or how) I felt. I’ve spoken here on the site many times of late about showing and sharing emotions (despite the outer appearance of being “tough” firefighters) …. Erin and Stephen brought me to tears that night and it happened in front of a huge crowd.
Im still not quite sure what to say.
The quote above is from their site and as far as I’m concerned, they have succeeded in accomplishing their mission! Just look at the detail here.
It’s in Carolina Blue … Jackson’s favorite team / color. It has the Carolina logo. The foot, to me; symbolizes all the “foot prints” Jackson left in my life and on my heart. The quote on the outer rim is from an Allison Krauss song that I posted about just a few weeks back in a post called “Positional Awareness … Where the Hell am I ??” .
PLEASE …. take the time to check out their site. Read the story of why they do what they do and look at some of their art work. Be sure to like and follow them as well.
Another highlight for the night was having FDNY’s Rescue 2 member Rob Wiedmann stop by.
You may remember Rob (and Firefighter Gersbeck) was seriously burned in a December 19, 2011 Crown Heights fire in Brooklyn, Ny. It was an unimaginable event that was caught on video. Dave Statter still has it up over on Statter911.com CLICK HERE for the video .
Rhett, Zach(MN8 FoxFire) and I teamed up to collect money for Rescue 2′s MayDay Fund which supported the families of Rob and James. Our reader support for the fund raiser was nothing short of amazing AMAZING and we soon hand delivered a check to Captain Flaherty and the members of rescue 2.
Rob actually dropped by our booth on the exhibit floor of FDIC. We said he simply wanted to stop by to say hello and thanks us once again for our efforts following his injury.
He also wanted to assure his gratitude was passed along to all of you who gave support (including thoughts, prayers etc).
Rob is a GREAT guy who for me, defines the meaning of HEART. I have a saying I use often … “You can’t teach heart” and Rob is a prime example.
His training and instinct played a huge role in getting him out of that building BUT … it was also “HEART”. Heart has kept him going throughout his healing process (28 months now with more surgeries scheduled). Heart drives him to continue to get out and promote the Fire Service and our Brotherhood. I’ll have more on “Heart” in an upcoming post ….
Rob was there with a few Brothers from Sons of the Flag Burn Foundation , Ryan “Birdman” Parrott, Zane, and Nathan.
You’re going to start hearing a lot about these guys and their efforts here on Ironfiremen.com in the future. We asked Ryan (the group’s founder) to say a few words at the Meet-Up and then we passed my boot around for their cause. We raised $730.00 in about 10 minutes! Be sure to check out the links below to learn more about these guys …
Again I’ll add that what really “made” the meet-up was everyone who attended. We got (and continue to get) so many comments about how much we (Rhett and I) are doing for the Brotherhood. I explained to several of the folks there that night …. we didn’t do anything. We rented a room and bought some beer. YOU GUYS … you Brothers and Sisters are the ones who showed up. You’re the ones who sacrificed your time and made the decision to attend. YOU are the the ones who “made” the event …. THAT Brothers and Sisters was the display of Brotherhood that night! Thanks again for attending!
Rhett did a little “name dropping” and shared his views on our Meet-Up and FDIC in general over on the Fire Critic. He also has links to some great pictures … read that post in the link below
There is so much more I want to share about our Meet-Up but I think I’m going to work it into one of my next posts. All in all, FDIC was a huge success for us and we can’t wait until our next event.
Thanks to EVERYONE who took the time to come up and speak to us. Be sure to follow us on Face Book to find more pictures and info on FDIC and more! Be sure to keep check back and THANKS for following …
Support has really been building for our Brothers and Sisters in and around the town of West, Texas following last week’s devastating and fatal blast.
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”.
Tim made our local news tonight due to his efforts to assist the West, Texas Fire Department.
Chief Smith left Virginia this morning at 09:00 am. They will be traveling down I-85 to Atlanta Georgia and then following I-20 into Texas.
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.
Once again I have a lot of catching up to do but this time, it’s not entirely my fault. The server for our network has been up and down over the past several days so we haven’t been able to get a post up. Hopefully, the situation is corrected now and we can get back to business as normal.
So, to catch ya up … it’s been a long week.
We worked the Thursday, Saturday, Monday cycle this week (24hr tours).
Goerge (my Lt) is off on vacation and Boots is still out on sick leave (he’s recovering well). That left just me and our newest member, Jerry Thompson at the station. Instead of calling in OT for the entire shift, the Company was placed out of service and Jerry and I detailed out to fill other vacancies for the day.
Jerry went to “The Green House” … aka Station #3 and I went down to Station #5 and rode the Ladder.
Yea… an Engine Captain on a Ladder. Well, around here; you never know what you may end up doing. I’ve explained it a few times here on the site that due to our staffing etc. an Engine Company can easily be assigned “Truck work” and vice versa.
I’ve also talked about having been assigned to a Ladder a couple times during my career. The truth of the matter is … I LOVE truck work! Especially now that 2 of our Trucks have the added responsibility of performing vehicle extrication for the City (Ladder 5 being one of them).
It was a good day with the Brothers and Sisters at Station #5. That evening, I got an over time man and put Lucky #13 back into service.
Turned out our OT man was none other than Captain Chris Trussler from down at “The Deuce” on B-shift.
Captain Trussler and I go way back….way … way … WAY back actually.
I call him “Lucky”. 1.) Because he’s got a little leprechaun in him and 2.) Because he’s so damn “lucky”.
We were both assigned to Ladder #2 as Privates back in the day (on different shifts). Like many Crusty Old Jakes, there are hundreds of stories involving / surrounding Captain Trussler. I was even involved in a few of em.
I always remember the one about a working fire in the projects near the station. There were reports of people trapped on the second floor and “Lucky” was assigned the search. The Brothers are going to work and here comes Trussler falling /rolling down the interior steps and out the front door. He had a victim. A 350 pound lady wearing her nightgown and a pair of gorilla slippers. They end up in the front yard with the lady on top of him. So a couple of the boys run over to make sure he’s still alive and he tells them … “I got the little one, her sister is still up there!” … LMAO!
Lucky’s a “Good Jake” and we had a BLAST reminiscing over old stories. He’ll be testing for Battalion Chief in the next few weeks and I hope he does well …. I’ll work for him ANY day.
Our middle day turned out MUCH busier. Instead of overtime, they transferred a man from the South Side. Keith Snead from Station #1-A was trading time with a C-shift Brother and drew the short straw. He hadn’t been here 10 minutes before we caught a working fire. Nothing says thanks for working on a beautiful Saturday morning like catching work at 07:30am. Unfortunately, the runs kept coming all day long. The saddest incident we ran was a vehicle fire. Nothing breaks your heart like rolling in on a 1967 Camaro that’s on fire. Here’s some video ….
The car was obviously custom. A good training point from this video … something to keep in your mind is just how custom it was. Even the engine was customized…. so much so that it had Nitrous aka Nitrous Oxide system. Yea …NOS… a 20lb bottle mounted beside the driver’s seat! Good thing Snead got a good knock on the fire.
I’ll let ya know how our Monday tour goes a little later but until then, I have plenty more to share.
To begin with … set your clocks, DVRs, VCR’s and whatever else you have. The Fire Critic, Rhett Fleitz; and I will be on Prime Time TV Sunday night at 7pm (April 28th)! That’s right … Rhett and I will appear on MSNBC’s 100th Episode of “Extreme Caught on Camera”. Check your local listings and be sure to check us out! Here’s the trailer …..
For those of us “on the job”, it’s a fairly common term.
We use it when talking about forcing entry into a structure or cutting a ventilation hole in the roof. Sometimes it’s even used for vehicle extrication (using the “jaws of life” to cut open a car).
More often than not, it’s a “Truckie” term ( a firefighter assigned to a Ladder truck) although sometimes, due to today’s staffing issues; an Engine Company can be assigned these tasks.
I’ve been thinking about “opening up” and the various meanings of the term a lot here lately …. as related to the job and emotionally.
Today, I’m working an extra shift. I’m paying back a Brother (Tim Cady) who worked a day for me last week.
I’m pulling the tour at Station #1 (aka “The Big Show”) on A-shift. I’m riding the seat of the Ladder.
It’s a brand new Pierce, 100′ tiller and with a price tag of 1.2 million, she’s a sweet ride.
I spent my younger years in the Department assigned to a Ladder ….. it was good, honest work. I’ve learned a lot since then. Truck work made me a good fireman. I’d like to think I’m older and wiser now but some will argue that.
I’ve been assigned to an Engine Company since I made Captain back in 2000. On the Engine, I’m thinking about size ups, water supply and getting to the fire.
Riding the Ladder, my thought process has to change just a bit. Today, I’m thinking about placement, forcible entry, search, rescue, ventilation, salvage, overhaul and even extrication.
“Opening up” is a priority for me and the A-Shift crew today. Opening up so so the Engine guys can get on the fire. Opening up to ventilate. Opening up to make our searches or opening up vehicles for extrication purposes.
The rig I’m riding is perfect for the job. It’s a 1.2 million dollar tool box. Everything we need to do our job … to “open up” is stored away nice and neat inside her.
It sounds difficult but it’s not. It’s all we know … it’s what we do. The other type of opening up however … the emotional opening up … that’s not so easy.
My absence from postings and social media has been pretty obvious lately. In a recent post, “Climbing Out”; I shared with you that I am just reaching the “depression” stage of my grief (or PTSD) and it’s been a difficult journey.
The honest answer is that I just haven’t felt like writing. I still can’t seem to focus or get motivated.
I had the chance to travel up to Long Island New York last week for their Fire, Rescue and EMS Mega Show.
I got to spend the weekend with my MN8 FoxFire family. I call them “family” because they are … it was an easy decision to go.
In some ways, it was. I was hoping it would open some doors for me and it did …. it also slammed a few in my face.
Most of you know that Rhett (The Fire Critic) and I very seldom travel without the other but he was unable to make this trip.
Not wanting to drive alone, I figured I’d ask my sister, Marci; to tag along.
If nothing else, we’d get to spend the weekend together and that’s never a bad thing (or it shouldn’t be anyway). She was excited! We both were.
What I didn’t figure on was how emotionally difficult it would be for me (and maybe her too).
She reminds me so much of Jackson. I’ve never looked at or thought of her that way.
She looks like him. She acts like him. Her mannerisms. How she uses her hands when she talks, how she crosses her legs. How she talks. Little things but everywhere I looked, every time I turned around, she reminded me of Jackson and it breaks my heart. My stomach stayed in knots … that “sick” feeling all over again … the hurt.
I may have the same affect on her. Everyone always said that we all looked exactly alike (dad, me, Jack and Marci). I’m sure Dad sees Jack in us and I know it hurts. So here’s another door I’ll (we’ll) have to figure out how to “open up”. I’ve got to learn to be around things (including people / family) that remind me of Jack. I need to figure out how to make these “reminders” trigger the good memories and not rekindle my pain and sorrow.
I’m not sure how to do it. How to open this door.
I don’t think it’s one that can be “forced”. I think I’ve been doing too much of that lately … “forcing” the issues.
Today is two months since Jack took his life. Everyone is still asking “how” I am … how I’m “doing”.
My reply has become standard … what everyone wants to hear. I’m “ok”. I’m “hanging in”. Making it “day by day” or “one step at a time”.
I’m not so sure that’s 100% true. Click that photo to the left. Do you ever hide your true emotions with replies like that? Are you telling those around you what they “want to hear” or how you’re truly feeling?
I have to admit again that “opening up” here on the blog (as difficult as it has been to do) has been therapeutic. I think it’s been my best therapy so far. I wasn’t so sure in the beginning.
“Opening up” for all my readers to see was a huge decision for me. I wasn’t sure I even could (or should for that matter). I’m glad I have.
While in Long Island (and many times before, via e-mails etc) several Brothers and Sisters approached me with not only sympathy and condolences, but with THANKS as well. They actually thanked me for sharing my story. I don’t think I was expecting that.
Some say it’s uplifting, a source of inspiration and that it’s even helped them through their own struggles with grief. Others say they miss the “old Willie” and that they are patiently awaiting the return of my “regular” postings while they understand and support my latest directions.
I met several GREAT Brothers and Sisters while in Long Island but one in particular will always stand out in my mind.
A true BROTHER and Captain Daniel Purcell of the Scarsdale Fire Department paid me a VERY special visit. He said he has been following my site (and Rhett’s) for a while now. When he seen I would be in Long Island, he had to come meet me.
We had a GREAT conversation. I wont share the details but it was very humbling. He brought gifts and even asked about the Buckaroo. I don’t think he was even interested in the show …. just delivering his message to me. THANKS AGAIN CAPT ! I hope you know how much that visit meant to me.
If it helps you to know, I’m not the only one talking about stress and “Behavioral Health” these days. “At an international conference on Friday, March 1, the NFFF introduced a new Behavioral Health Model that changes the way the fire service assists firefighters and others on the path to healing. It is based on the concept that no two firefighters will necessarily have the same reaction — not even to the same call”.
Learn more about what they’re doing / saying in the links below ….
I’m gonna try getting out again for a little while. I’ll be heading North to attend the Long Island Fire, Rescue and EMS Mega Showon Feb 23rd and 24th. I think it will make for the perfect “distraction” from everything else going on in my life.
I’ll be up there with my MN8 FoxFire family working the booth. I’m not sure what our booth “number” is but we’re never hard to find. We’re the guys with the “glow in the dark” stuff and there’s usually a huge crowd gathered around …. look for us and stop by to say hello if you’re at the show.
I feel like it’s going to be a good trip…. I know it’s a much needed one for me.
As far as the show / booth goes, we’re bringing some new products with us…. our newest actually.
MN8 FoxFire has started making 1 x 3 inch helmet “bars” (as opposed to tetrahedrons) for those of you not wearing a leather helmet (of course we’ll have plenty of our tetrahedrons available as well).
In true firefighter fashion, the bars have proven to be useful in other applications as well …. be sure to drop by and check em out…. I know you’ll love em!
We’ll have all of our other great products on hand as well …. Helmet Bands, Equipment bands, Grip Wrap, Epoxy, Tee-shirts, hats etc. and I’ll be on hand to give ya a personal demo. If you’re not familiar with our Products, visit our Web Site HEREor find and follow us on Face Book HERE .
We’re also going to have a special guest / visitor in the booth with us this weekend. My little sister, Marci; is gonna make the ride up with me !
EASY fellas…. EASY. Like I said … she’s my SISTER.
I’m not gonna call her a “booth babe” but she will be hanging out at the show with us. Be sure to to say hello and give her a chance to tell ya how awesome she thinks our product and the entire MN8 FoxFire team is.
We’ll be leaving out first thing in the morning (Thursday) and arriving in Long Island sometime late evening.
Our travel route will take us straight up I-81 from Roanoke to I-78 to I95 and the Lincoln Tunnel (most likely). If you’re on the way and wouldn’t mind a visit, just let me know … we LOVE stopping by and visiting Firehouses when we travel (who knows, you may even make the pages of Ironfiremen.com). Marci and I both will be checking and updating Face Book as we travel so hit us up if you want us to drop by and / or meet up.
We’ll be staying at the Sheratonon Motor Parkway in Hauppauge, Long Island. We’ll be looking for something to “get into” so if you’re close by or have any good suggestions, let us know. I know we’ll head into the City on Friday sometime (or maybe just one evening) but we’re flexable.
I think this trip will be just what I need to get back in the swing of things.
It’s gonna feel good to be back in New York, in my kilt and working. I’m excited! Hell, just being able to wear my kilt will make the trip worth while (of course I’ll wear my kilt ANYWHERE).
Wearing it around the farm draws too much attention (it distracts the cows …LOL). I had the chance to slide back into it down in Florida for 2013 Fire / Rescue East but I really wasn’t “there” yet. This trip feels more “normal” … like it should be.
The only thing that will be missing on this trip will be my “little buddy” …. the “Buckaroo #2″ … aka Rhett Fleitz (The Fire Critic). Yea …. once again, Rhett will be unable to make the trip. He’s afraid the hotels gym wont meet his needs / specs.
I’ve nicknamed him “WTA” (While Tony Atlas).
You see, Rhett’s been on a STRICT diet and workout program lately …. he’s “bulking up”.
He’s been drinking all the “muscle juice” he can find. Eating egg whites laid by a hen with only 3 tail feathers who sits on her nest facing east.
For lunch, the leaf of lettuce in his salads was grown on a glacier at the base of Mount Everest.
For dinner, a single green bean, uncooked and grown in only the purest of soils.
For desert, he can down a 12 pack of creamy, delicious probiotic Activia yogurt faster than the cookie monster can eat a sleeve of Chips Ahoy. Of course he can “snack” on protein bars and such as long as he just eats the cardboard wrapper they’re contained in.
You see, Rhett in preparing to enter his 1st bikini contest …. no kidding ! A BIKINI CONTEST!
His wife Becky has been training for over a year now to participate in her first fitness / figure / bikini contest. She doesn’t need the training … she’s already HOT (blind … but HOT ..LOL). Well, Rhett decided he’d support her by being be her side in her endeavor … as in RIGHT by her side.
In all seriousness, Rhett’s been VERY disciplined in sticking to his diet / workout.
He’s sticking to it and it’s paying off …. HE LOOKS GREAT (although still not as good as Becky).
What he doesn’t realize is that like everything else in his life, he STILL wont surpass Dave Statter!
As hard as Rhett is trying, Dave does double the effort by accident. It just come natural to him and once again, “Fire Boy” is left playing “catch up”.
LMAO …. all kidding aside, Rhett has some family obligations keeping him from making this trip. We have PLENTY more scheduled for 2013 so it wont be long before we’re back on the road, together again.
So, I’ll try to keep ya posted as much as possible throughout the weekend. Once again, if you’re on our route or will be attending the show, be sure to let me know so we can meet up. Until I get back to ya ….
I’ve been attempting another (this) post for several days now. I’ve written several and sent em to the recycle bin instead of posting. I didn’t want to seem (or come across) as angry and I felt like they did. So, like everything else here lately, I’ll try it again. My emotions lately are across the board.
Despite the overwhelming support I received following my last post (“A Firefighter’s Boots”), I was NOT able to return to duty and put mine (my boots) back on. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to … I DID … more than anything, and you folks were a HUGE part of the reason why.
The comments, e-mails, Face Book messages and phone calls were all nothing short of amazing! Then a good friend and brother Firefighter, Nate Camfiord; posted a picture of some bunker boots with a simple message … “for a friend”. Talk about “Honor”, “Pride” and “Respect” … Nate reeks of it.
He (Nate) then called Rhett and told him what he had posted and why. The two got their heads together and the next thing you know, hundreds of pictures of “Firefighter’s boots” were being posted and sent in! They came from EVERYWHERE…. it was an AWESOME display of support! I was humbled and brought to tears.
Some of the pictures had messages attached. Each touched me. Some were heart breaking yet healing at the same time. All were emotional, heart felt, honest and motivational. They all said, in one way or another; for me to put my boots back on and that each of you were not only willing to, but “THERE” to help me with the “fit”.
I had no idea! I knew the Brotherhood existed, I just didn’t know it did to this extent. I also figured out that all of you were grieving “for” and “with” me as well. I know that you all felt my pain…. I had hoped to spare ya from it. That was selfish of me.
I later learned that part of the healing process needed to be a sharing of that pain and grief and, that I have a huge family to do that with. We all do the same thing … we help others, even at our own sacrifice. You wanted to help me. To be beside me. To comfort me and share in my grief. My being there would allow us all to move forward … to begin the healing process.
I wanted back in those boots this past Sunday. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but I was going to put them on. I wanted back in them for me and for you. I needed it…. we all did.
Obviously, it didn’t happen. I did however get by the station (and Station #5) for a visit that morning … I was glad I did. The circumstances surrounding why I didn’t work were beyond my control and I hope you folks weren’t disappointed. I hope I didn’t let you down.
We only get a couple days “funeral leave” in our system (one of which has to be the day of Last Rites) so I’ve had to take several days of “sick leave” since Jack’s death. I’m on the “old leave plan” so it’s no big deal for me. It doesn’t affect my Vacation or Holidays, I have plenty of it and, it will renew in July. I’ve earned it.
The problem I encountered was in our S.O.P’s (Standard Operating Procedures). Since I have taken more than 3 consecutive days “sick”, I need a doctor’s note before I can return to duty. One of our Deputy Chiefs reminded me of the policy when he called to “check on me” Friday evening and it’s a good thing he did (remind me that is). Can you imagine the turmoil it would have caused if I had shown up for duty without a permission slip doctors note?
It may have actually been for the best… I may have tried to come back too fast / soon. I’ve had a difficult week (emotional wise) and think that the couple extra days off couldn’t have hurt. They helped and the Chief of Department has told me to take all the time I need. I’ll get there…. I know it. With a support group like you, how could I not?
I’ll get a doctor’s note, even if I have to get Dr. Seuss himself to write one (he is a close personal friend and the only Doctor I REALLY trust you know…lol). My plan now is to return to duty on Tuesday the 29th or Thursday the 31st. Meanwhile, I’m going to start easing my way back to normal … my “new normal” anyway.
Zach Green and my MN8 FoxFire family will be in Daytona Beach Fla this week for the 2013 Fire-Rescue East convention … I’m going with them. Actually, I’m going to meet them there. Dad will be there too. They will be in booth #720 …. stop by and say hello.
A change of scenery, getting away (even if just for a couple of days) may be just what I need. It will also be a good opportunity to “reconnect”. I’ll be surrounded by firefighters, friends and family. It will be like easing back into the firehouse, only in a convention type setting.
It’s going to be difficult for me. I remain very emotional and it shows … that’s ok. I’m gonna cry in front of a lot of people this weekend. That’s ok too. I’ve learned that over these past 3 weeks. We’re HUMAN … I’m human. It’s what actually makes us good firemen. I’m going to start talking and “sharing” a lot… about opening up…. about talking (yea… to real live, other people). Sharing our stories, our feelings, our emotions. I’m going to tell ya how it’s ok to use E.A.P (Employee Assistance Programs), counselors and psychologists. IT WORKED FOR ME. If I can do it, anyone can.
I’m not “healed”. I’m not “over it” and I’m not “ok” BUT … I know that I will be. I know that I’ll learn to deal with and live with this pain… with this part of me that’s now missing.
If you’re in or going to be in Daytona for the show, look me up … I could use the company. Leave a comment here, message me on Face Book, hit up Rhett (Fire Critic) or just stop by booth #720 … Zach and Kelly will know where to find me. Heck, I may even put my boots back on while down there and give ya a free demo of FoxFire.
I’ll check back in from sunny Daytona (as soon as I stop and buy a new speedo). I just wanted to let you know (warn ya) that I’m on my way. THANKS AGAIN for all of and the continued SUPPORT…. I LOVE YOU GUYS!
As usual, it’s been pretty hectic around here. Not only have I been busy, I’ve also been sick.
I’m still not 100% but I am back at work. I figured I had better take a minute or two and catch ya up on whats been happening.
To begin with, I got to go on a field trip with the Buckaroo and his Pre-School class. We went to a pumpkin patch, complete with a corn maze and all sorts of activities for the kids.
They had a BLAST and I did as well.
I have a whole new respect for our school bus drivers (do you realize how many years it’s been since I’ve rode a school bus?? OMG)
In the picture, the Buckaroo has decided that the tractor driver needs some assistance so he’s headed toward the tractor to take over …LOL
Without preaching, I’ll offer this to all of you “on the job”. If you are not already … TAKE THE TIME to go on these types of trip with your kids. I never did with my girls and now regret it. Going with the Buckaroo has shown me just a small piece of what I missed due to the job. TRUST ME .. MAKE THE TIME.
The Buckaroo and I also made a stop by our Credit Union / Union Hall one morning.
While there, we bumped into these two characters.
Check out the shirts…. almost like little twins ..awww!
If you haven’t checked out The Chive.com yet, apparently; you’re in the minority. It’s full of cool photos and videos.
They even have a “Firefighter” section. Look under “The Brigade” tab and then under the “Branches” tab … or just click HERE .
Zach Green and our friends over at MN8 / FoxFire also have a similar shirt but theirs GLOWS IN THE DARK! Yea.. it’s a cool shirt that says “Keep calm and fight fire”. You can check them out and get yours by clicking HERE .
Totally off subject, I also need your help…. well my sister does anyhow.
First off …. YES…. that’s REALLY my sister. Second off … YES .. I know shes hot. Third off … yes I have 3 more and they are hot as well. Lastly …. NO !
Marci is trying to win a free make over or something…even though she doesn’t need it as much as she does a longer skirt.
You can help her win by “liking” her picture. Go to THIS LINK. She is in the 5th row down on the left.
Follow Ironfiremen.com on Face Book. Click HERE & “LIKE” the page
Speaking of “HOT” …. check out our little “Rookie Randy”
He is ROCKING that porn stache!
The C-Shift North Battalion is riddled with “stache envy” and for once, it’s not all about me…LOL
The Elvis collar, just the right crease in his hat, the shades and that stach … who else could pull it off? I think our little “Rookie Randy” just may be growing up! LOL
All kidding aside, Randy is doing very well .. both on the job and off.
We are working on getting him cleared to drive the Engine.
Now to many (at least those not on the job) this may sound simple, but it’s NOT.
Our Department has set guidelines but George (Lt Perdue) and I hold even higher standards.
There’s a lot more to driving a fire truck than simply sitting behind the wheel. First, you have to know where you’re going and Randy has a big territory to memorize.
After you safely get to the scene, you need to know how to pump. Again, there’s more to pumping than simply charging a single line. I’ll post more on our process and Randy’s progress in the near future.
He did get another “first” this cycle as we tested hose on Saturday.
Once a year, our Department tests all of our hose.
For us, that means 1,000 ft of 5″ supply line, 1,200 ft of 2 1/2 ” hose and 700 ft of 1 3/4″ hose (not including our high rise packs or what we have in the station).
In the picture, Georgie (Lt. George Perdue) is using our hose tester. Our 1 3/4″ and 5″ have to be tested at 400 psi and obviously we can’t do that with the Engine.
Every piece of hose comes off the truck, is inspected, charged to the necessary pressure, then drained and reloaded onto the rig. Special THANKS to the crew from Station #5 (including Battalion Chief Teddy Adkins) who came out to help us load the 5″.
So today is our middle day of the cycle and it hasn’t been as busy as Saturday. It’s actually been quite nice.
We started the morning off by opening our house to some Brothers from Franklin Tennessee.
Beau Doss has been a long time friend and follower of both The Fire Critic and IronFiremen.com. He recently made the move up to Bladensburg, Md to test the waters of their “Live In” program at Station #9. While he remains a member, Beau decided to move back closer to home and they stopped by the station this morning on their way back to Murfreesboro, Tnn.
Click HERE to learn more about Fire Department “Live In” programs.
Rhett set everything up and we decided to fix the guys some breakfast before their long ride home to Tennessee.
Little Randy danced around the kitchen like a ballerina for more than an hour. The next thing you know, we had sausage gray, biscuits, fried potatoes, eggs and fried apples.
My dad, our Battalion and Support Driver (Donnie Foutz) even made it out.
Beau’s Dad, Greg; was along as well. He went up to help Beau make the trip home. Greg is on the job in Franklin Tennessee. Is is also their past Union President. Learn more about the Franklin FD HERE .
Actually, Greg and Beau are originally from right here in our area. Greg spent several years in nearby Vinton and has family that’s retired from our Department. They still have family here in the valley so I hope they’ll get back for another visit.
Rhett and I always enjoy getting to meet and spend time with our supporters. Dad knew a lot of Greg’s family (as did I) and Donnie remembered well their days in Vinton. Everyone really enjoyed the morning.
We had a small discussion about Brotherhood and how something as simple as cooking a meal is a huge gesture in maintaining and upholding it. Think about that the next time you have visitors to your station. How well do you treat them? How do you expect to be treated when visiting a firehouse? Of course I’m not saying you need to fix a meal for every visitor … this was a planned visit but, do you offer them a cup of coffee? A station tour along with a sit down and chat or just rush them in and out.?
Remember, you’re not just representing your Company or your Department … you’re representing us all … the Fire Service.
You should have heard Rhett banging out John Denver tunes on the street pianos of downtown Denver…. LOL
It was another GREAT show and experience for us. We have a good time anywhere we go but this trip was AWESOME! If you didn’t make it, start planning now to join us in 2013 back in Chicago.
Once again, we traveled as Team MN8-Fox Firealong with the Prez Zach Green and the lovely Kelly. This trip, we also had Chief Robert R. Rielage (Wyoming, Ohio Fire Department) Bryant Davis (Captain, Wyoming Ohio Fire Department) and Paul Dykena (firefighter Kirtland Air Force Base) along for the ride.
We made an awesome team!
Once again, the MN8-FoxFire booth was the center of attention.
I truly believe that we currently have the best product on the market when it comes to firefighter accountability. In my demo/ product presentation, I talk about visibility, accountability and orientation ….. this product offers all 3!
If you’re not using our product, you should be. Zach is honoring the “show price” for the next few days so be sure to check us out asap and start “Illuminating” your Department!
So, the following day was all work at our FRI Booth.
Like I said above, we were busy … VERY BUSY.
The great thing about being so busy is that we get to meet so many great folks …. people from all across the Country and even some from others.
For us, that’s a big part of the shows … networking … meeting our Brothers and Sisters and hearing their stories.
We get a small chance for that while on the floor but the honest answer is that we’re really too busy to talk as much as we’d like. The real networking comes in the evenings … after the show .. out on the town.
This is when we really shine …. trading coins, talking shop and posing for photos.
If you don’t have one of our Challenge Coins or patches yet, don’t panic. They are available online and you can have your custom patch or coin made as well. If you haven;t done so yet, visit NM Coin LLC for for more info and to get your Ironfiremen / FireCritic Challenge Coin (I’m heads …lol)
There is a lot of talk, debate, discussion, even scuttlebutt about these two groups going around as of late but for NOW … Rhett and I have been giving the “benefit of the doubt ”.
I will tell ya that we are involved. Asking questions, giving advise etc. I hope it’s taken to heart …. otherwise, one of the groups may not receive our support. As for now, what’s important (and what I wanted to share) is that we were all together … in one place …. drinking beers and sharing the Brotherhood.
Rhett gave his take on the issues in a previous post found HERE .
We’ve since learned more details and that’s why / how we became involved. My “take” is simple ….. those Rescue Trucks HAVE TO SURVIVE …. they actually already have … they made it through the collapses of the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001.
They are a mobile “Tribute” to the 343. A tool. A “tool” to educate the next generations as to the events of that fateful day. The day our Brothers and Sisters (such as Terry Farrell) were murdered.
I stood there in AWE as I looked at Rescue 4( Queens). I’ve rode along in that very rig. I couldnt help but think of the hands that have been on the door latches. I thought about the men who took their last ride in that very rig … and there it was … right in front of me. I was once again humbled and honored. Rhett and I can’t wait to get the chance to show this truck and tell it’s story to our children … ours and theirs. I hope the “issues” are soon resolved ..we’ll see.
So like I’ve been saying … it was a great trip and the best part is always the people we get to meet.
For all of you that we did get the honor of meeting, if we haven’t done so already; tag yourself in the photos. On the other hand, if you have pics of us, tag us as well .
Our next road trip is planned for this upcoming weekend.
If you’re not familiar with the NFE, you should be … especially if your Department needs money… yea … I said MONEY.
How about your choice of a new Ford or Chevy truck? How about a $5,000 Equipment Grant? They’re easier to get than you may think. If you didn’t hit the link above, use the one below to find out how to apply. Don’t forget to join the “Officer’s Club” while you’re there …
Rhett and I are safely home from Firehouse Expo 2012 …. it was another GREAT trip!
I don’t know how it continues to happen or if and when it will ever “level off” but, so far; every trip we make ends up being better than the last … both personally and professionally. Once again, we were traveling with Zach Green and the MN8-FoxFireteam.
Zach, the owner and President of the company; said something to me the other day that caught me off guard. He reminded me that this trip would be our 1 year Anniversary. I had never thought of it that way. Actually, I almost didn’t believe it. It seems like we’ve been together much longer than that.
Turns out, Zach was right; it’s only been a year. Back at FDIC 2011, Zach was stalking me and Rhett for a “product review” of MN8-FoxFire. I’m glad he found us! Fast forward to Firehouse Expo 2011 and Zach found himself in a bind. He needed some help in the booth and I just so happened to be there and available.
I went to work in the booth the next day and we haven’t slowed down since! It’s been an amazing journey.
Our conversation and the success of this trip has got me thinking of how far we’ve come over the last year … me / Rhett and MN8-FoxFire.
2011 was my first time ever to Firehouse Expo ( Read my review HERE ). It was also the place where Rhett and I would make our 1st 911 Memorial Stair Climb (see that post HERE ). We’ve since completed 5 climbs and have even made one in the shadows of the new Freedom Tower with founding members of the Stair Climb committee (click HERE for that post! )
News coverage of this year’s 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb in Baltimore by clicking HERE.
Last year, the MN8-FoxFire booth was busy … this year, it was PACKED! Once again, the MN8-FoxFire booth was the focus of attention on the exhibit floor.
It’s apparent that “the word” is getting out about MN8-FoxFire and their amazing products. We sold more in day #1 of Expo 2012 than we did in all 3 days of the 2011 show.
Learn how to join Team MN8-FoxFire by clicking “HERE” .
Of course, Rhett and I draw plenty of attention by ourselves. It’s hard not to when we’re walking around in kilts, structural boots and leather helmets.
We stand out in the crowd…. and WE WANT TO. It’s who we are and what we do. For us, it’s a great marketing / networking tool. Folks stop us in the isles (and out in the street for that matter) just to talk and take photos. They invite us into their booths or stop us to question our purpose.
It’s that image, the exposure or “popularity” (if you will) that’s helped us create a new site / venture over this past year as well ….
Click HERE to check out Firefighter Product Review
It’s a great site (even if it is ours). Not only do we give “our” review of the products up for review, we also give the “user” or readers the chance to “score” or rate the product themselves.
Last year, we blended into the crowd. Nobody noticed what we had on or who we were working for. Nobody gave us a 2nd look. This year … totally opposite.
Take our Custom Fronts (helmet shields) for example. EVERYBODY wanted to know where we got em. It was a GREAT opportunity to tell them about Andrew and Mary Arnold from over at Box Alarm Leather LLC (see their review HERE ).
Our Custom Kilts were also a HUGE hit and point of conversation. When we needed a kilt and wanted it “our” way … there was only one company out there that was willing to work with us … ALT Kilt . We love telling the story of how all the bigger companies turned us down yet ALT Kilt was willing to go the extra mile.
Here’s another example of the difference a year can make. In 2011, one of my fans / followers; Daniel Lawson came to the booth. For whatever reason, Daniel wanted to meet me, more importantly; he wanted me to meet his new born son … talk about humbling! He explained how he loved reading Ironfiremen.com and following along with the “Buckaroo’s” growth / adventures when he’s included in a post.
This year, Daniel and his son returned to the booth for a follow up photo/visit … man has that little fella grown! I was also excited to learn that Daniel and his wife are expecting their 2nd child …CONGRATULATIONS! I guess my camera lens will have to grow along with his family lol.
In the end, THAT’S what it’s all about … making new friendships …lasting friendships …. sharing and promoting BROTHERHOOD… it’s what keeps us going! Thanks for stopping by Daniel … looking forward to next year’s photo.
The best example of “the difference a year can make” that we found while at Firehouse Expo 2012 came out of New York City. You see, FDNY’s Rescue 2 had a booth set up. That in itself is not a big deal. What was a big deal was who was in the booth …. Rescue 2′s Firefighter Robert Weidmann!
You may remember Firefighter Weidmann’s name from a fire in Brooklyn, NY back on December 19, 2011. That blaze injured 5 members of the FDNY (two out of Rescue 2 Weidmann and Gersbeck). Weidmann was the most seriously injured of the five. He received burns over 40% of his body, including his face, head and hands. His escape was captured on video! The arrow in the picture left is believed to be Weidmann making his way to the window.
He suffered and fought through months of grueling rehab and recovery. In true Firefighter fashion, he showed the same heart and determination after the fire as he did while engulfed in flame. HE SURVIVED!
He survived and he made it to Firehouse Expo where Rhett, Zach and I had the HONOR of shaking his hand!
It was a HUGE honor for us and the highlight of my trip! Brother Weidmann is a TRUE firefighter … an IRONFIREMAN. Even in the middle of that fire, he was teaching the rest of us valuable lessons. He had on his gear … ALL OF IT and, he was wearing it correctly. He was physically fit and in the shape / condition to make that escape. He had the situational and positional awareness to find his way out. Captain Flaherty said he fought with the strength of 10 men during his recovery and on Friday, July 20th he was standing in Baltimore, Md…. YOU CAN’T TEACH HEART!
Back in February, Rhett, Zach and I solicited your help in raising money for Brother Weidmann and Rescue 2′s “MayDay Fund”. The fund is designed to help support injured members and their families. Your support was overwhelming and the 3 of us (Rhett, Zach and I) then had the honor of hand delivering the check in your name. READ THAT POST HERE .
During our visit in Baltimore, Brother Weidmann asked us to pass along his heart felt appreciation for all the support he, his family and the members of Rescue 2 received. You’re efforts were NOT in vane! As soon as he returns to duty, Rhett, Zach and I will head back to Brooklyn for a follow up visit and a full report on his recovery…. the difference a year makes!
Rhett has made some “strides” over the past year as well ….not in the same manner as Brother Weidmann but, he too; is showing some heart.
Last year, I was the only one in the group who would ride the mechanical bull at PBR Baltimore. This year, “Fire Boy” decided he’d give it a try.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that you don’t ride bulls while wearing a kilt. I also failed to mention riding while wearing your wife’s socks may not be the best idea either.
Although I don’t believe in protective head wear for professional bull riders, I did think it was kind of cool that Rhett wore his leather helmet while riding. Of course I still don’t think he topped my ride. I didn’t do it in a kilt nor did I wear my leather. What I did do was ride WITH a PBR girl!! See that post and watch the VIDEO HERE !
It seems he’s also softened up his feelings for his true internet father, Dave Statter.
Last year at Expo, it seemed as if they couldn’t get along.
Bickering and arguing over who the TRUE ”King of Blogs” is.
They even argued about the true identity of the Fire Critic and if he actually even existed at all.
Once again, I had to step in and, apparently; my tactics worked ….Just look at em now…. arm in arm. Embracing in public. You should have seen em holding hands and skipping up to the PBR bar …LMAO
In the end, Firehouse Expo 2012 was a HUGE success for us and …. we had a BLAST! The best part was meeting so many friends … old and new. Thanks to everyone who dropped by the booth for a FoxFire demo or to just say hello. Thanks as well to the Northern Va FOOLS as associate sponsors for hosting the Brotherhood Bash … it lived up to it’s name despite the rain!
If you’ve never attended Firehouse Expo, make your plans for 2013 NOW … Rhett and I will be there and I CAN’T WAIT! Check out what Rhett and Zach had to say about the trip and then I’ll leave ya with a few more pics from our Baltimore adventures …
We caught a small job at shift break this morning… we were coming on, B-Shift was going off.
It’s a hell of a way to start the day.
Engine 5 was first due with us on their heels.
There wasn’t a lot of work and “little miss Carlie” made quick work of what there was anyway. It’s hard to believe she’s been on the job a couple years now … I can remember her first fire 0r the first time she was on the nozzle anyway..
I’m sure Bugg did the work on the picture above … he’s done some awesome mixed black / white and color shots.
This pic to the left is one of my favorites ….
That’s the ole “War Wagon” from our “Melrose Misfit” days back at Station #9.
She brings back a lot of good memories plus it’s a very cool shot!
I also like the one he did of the new Station #5 shown below…. I’m gonna have to get him to teach me how he does that.
Cool pics huh? One other neat thing goes back to the first picture (top right). Because the fire was at shift break, several of the members hadn’t had the time to change into their uniform yet. They just threw their gear on over their civi’s.
Did ya notice the shirt Wheezy has on? Apparently, I’m the only one on the planet who didn’t know what The Chive is. Apparently, it’s a web site that’s even more popular than that Fire Cricket site. A lot of cool pics, videos etc. They even have a section dedicated to firefighters … check it out HERE .
So, like a started out saying … it’s been busy around here lately. Storms, fires, extrications etc…
The pic right is a MVC we caught last day.
We were first in with reports of “possible injury”…. ya think??
We arrived to find 3 vehicles involved and this Caddy with heavy damage.
We got an additional Engine, 2 Medics and Ladder #5 for extrication.
As usual, the boys did a great job and made quick work of the incident.
Don’t worry, we’re not hogging all the excitement …we’re actually going to take it on the road ….
Be sure to stop by Booth #123 to say hello and get a personal demo of the FoxFire Products from Rhett or myself. Also hit us up on Face Book to see exactly where we are and what we’re doing … we’d love to meet up and grab a few beers.
Yesterday, I was back to duty and my first order of the day (beyond PPE checks etc) was an extra detail of PAPER WORK!
I hate paper work but this was some I didn’t mind. Our favorite little “Rookie”, Rocket Randy Armbrister; from Max Meadows, Virginia is eligible to come off of probation.
Randy came ”in Company” back on July 10, 2011. See that post by clicking HERE .
Of course, it wasn’t long before I had to “pull the book” on him and get him back on the “straight and narrow” …. LMAO …see that post HERE.
It’s been a good year and I’ve been VERY pleased with Randy’s performance / progress.
He graduated with Honors from Recruit Class #14. A 16 week “Rookie School” where candidates receive State level training and certifications in classes such as Firefighter I & II, EMT-B, Haz-Mat Awareness, EVOC, MAYDAY, RIT and much, much more. It’s basically Firefighter “Boot Camp”.
Randy passed all requirements and graduated receiving the “Captain Chris Brown Character Award” It says a lot about how he handled himself during Recruit School.
As mentioned above, he was assigned to Engine Company #13-C on July 10, 2011 and most think that day (when the Rookies are assigned to company) is when you begin to “coast”….. NOT IN MY COMPANY!
For me, that’s when the recruits begin to learn the difference between “the book” and “the street”. This is the time where Captains and Lieutenants hone a young recruit into shape. It’s where and when they learn the “common sense” of firefighting. There are just so many “tricks” and “techniques” that we’ve learned over the years that just aren’t in the books…. this is our time to pass em on.
Plus, every Company / Department is different. We all have different response areas, different types of building construction, we need different hose loads, different strategies / tactics etc. This is the time that a Firefighter earns his stripes …. it’s when and where they learn to fight fire and become firefighters.
It was no different for Randy.
His first day was all about his SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus). If he didn’t know it inside and out … if he couldn’t operate with it on … if he couldn’t make a bottle last past the front door …. if he couldn’t recognize and correct a potential problem then he would be useless to me, the company and the Battalion.
That day, he did all his station duties wearing his SCBA.
He cleaned and swept. He mopped the floors and even mowed the grass while wearing his SCBA.
I posted about it HERE and took a lot of grief over it.
TRUST ME … I had his best interest in mind. I was not “busting balls” or picking on him. I needed to make sure he was comfortable in his SCBA. I needed to know that he could work in a stressful situation and remember to control his breathing …. trust me AGAIN … HE WAS STRESSED.
Much to my surprise (at the time), Randy did VERY well. I was impressed.
we moved on to Calling the MAYDAY …. Self Rescue … Searching …. Stretching the Line …. Fire Attack … Hydrant work etc.
In the past year, we’ve covered it all and in DETAIL.
I hope Randy has realized how lucky he has been to have had a Senior Firefighter like Todd “Boots” Harris and a Lieutenant like George Perdue to “show him the ropes”.
I think he knows and I’m sure he’s learned a thing or two along the way over the past year. As a Captain, it’s been exciting to watch …. a huge source of PRIDE in knowing that we are passing along something that we LOVE to do.
Again I’ll say that Randy has done VERY well. It’s obvious that this is the job he wants and he’s willing to work for it.
With all that, and a full year behind us; it was time for me to make a decision. Time for me to put MY name on the line.
Time for me to write a letter … one way or the other.
That picture to the left is the letter I wrote. Click on it and enlarge it so you can read it …. I think it’s pretty much self explanitory.
HE MADE IT!
I’m PROUD of Randy!
I’m PROUD of our Training Division, of my Company and of our Department for setting our standards so high. Randy will make a good fireman.
I hope that one day he will remember everything those who have contributed to his development gave … I’m sure he will … it’s in his character. More than that, I hope that one day, he too will pass along all that he’s learned to another young recruit. He should never quit learning.
Here’s the thing …. I’ve submitted the letter. If the Chief accepts it and signs off, the easy part is done …. NOW is when the HARD PART begins.
It’s EASY to get this far …. hundreds if not thousands of members get this far. The “hard” part is “keeping fire in your life”…. staying “Battle Ready”.
Keeping the desire to learn. To train, to stay healthy, physically fit and in the shape to do the job required of you. To keep motivated. To keep the discipline to push yourself to the “next level”. To maintain a positive attitude.
My good friend and Brother Firefighter Zach Green of MN8-FoxFire once gave me a gift. It was a framed quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson and it says ” Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path & leave a trail”
That’s a pretty awesome quote and I think it fits perfectly. Our “Rookies” are the next generation firefighters. We have to give and show them what we know and have learned then hope they carry on the tradition…. I’m excited to see where they take us!
Congratulations to Randy Armbrister and all the other members of Recruit Class #14 who have made it off probation … make us PROUD Brothers!
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!
How about this one …. Shane Parkins.
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.
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 Benefitto 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.
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!
Zach Green of MN8-FoxFire
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.
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!
Sorry I had to cut last night’s post short and I guess you’ll have to hang with me on this one too because I’m still in the bed sick. Actually, I haven’t been out of the bed since we got back ( well not past the bathroom anyway).
I don’t know what I picked up in Indy but I can tell ya it’s BAD.
I guess I shouldn’t have kissed that Mexican gal in the Mariachi Band … I think it was a gal anyway..LOL
The good news is that I’m tougher than I look so I will most likely survive (I guess that’s good news anyway…LOL)
So, on Friday; we opened the booth but Rhett, Andrew and I soon headed over to the Lucas Oil Stadium for the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.
This would be the 5th climb for both me and Rhett. We had vowed that our 4th was to have been our last and that we would concentrate all our efforts to supporting the committee.
I think we both knew it would be a difficult promise to keep.
We have so many Brothers and Sisters contact us wanting us to climb with them that we can’t possibly say yes to them all. Meaning no disrespect to those who have asked, it shouldn’t be about climbing with us in the first place … you should all climb for your own reasons and I can assure you that even if you don’t know what that reason is right now, you’ll find it while climbing.
Rhett and I do it for several reasons. We don’t climb just for the names we carry on that climb, we do it for the entire 343. We do it to honor their names and memory. To honor our profession and complete the job they weren’t allowed to. We do it out of respect for the men who defined what today’s fire service is all about. For the men who ran into that building knowing what they faced and made the biggest rescue in American history. Most of all, we climb for the survivors. The men, women, children and families this murderous act left behind.
I think that it’s important to know that the money raised from these events goes to the FDNY’s Counseling Unit. FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano told us himself back in December 2011 that the money raised from last years events was the only thing keeping this Unit in Service … WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!
Brian Brush said at FDIC this year “if you can’t climb, pay the $25 donation and he will carry the card”. (meaning the name and picture of one of the 343 fallen). THAT Brothers and Sisters screams Pride, Honor and Respect. THAT’S Brotherhood!
So, climb #5. For us, they are all emotional. Rhett and I have written about them many many times. We have never known “what” we were looking for or “what” we would find but we have always come away as different people. Rhett had a great quote in one of his latest post …
“When we climb, it is emotional. The feelings I have felt, the thoughts I have had, the emotions have been engraved in my mind. They are my tattoos.”
I have to admit that I couldn’t get into the right mind set for this climb. We had said that we were done at 4 but when FDIC didn’t get 343 members signed up to climb, we had to go ( can you believe that?? 30,000 people in attendance at FDIC and we couldn’t get 343 of them to climb).
Anyway I couldn’t get to “that place” that we are normally at before a climb. I don’t know if was all the lights, banners etc inside the stadium or the fact that we were not in an actual “stairwell”.
We were out in the open. Out there for any and everyone to watch if they wanted. Despite my reservations, once again I found something during my climb… HEART and Brotherhood.
I was sick and neither Rhett nor I had eaten since early the night before. Maybe it was that or just maybe I’m getting old. Either way, this was one of the hardest climbs I’ve done yet. Because of the layout, we climbed down just as much as we did up. It was almost like doing 2 climbs in one.
I was ready to quit before the end of lap one but somewhere found the drive to push on. I say “somewhere” but that drive was actually all around me. Having to go up and down the sections, we were constantly passing other members heading the other direction. I can’t tell ya how many “great job Capt” …. “THANKS Capt” … and “way to go Capt” that I got. I didn’t look up to see their faces… I couldn’t. Actually, I didn’t need to …. they were my Brothers and Sisters and in that sense, we are all the same. THANKS to each and every one of you who offered your support. Thanks also for participating … WELL DONE!
After the climb, Rhett and I continued our tradition of toasting the fallen over a cold beer.
This time, we were able to share our toast with Brothers Brian Brush, Andrew Catron, Jared Lindholm and W.D Patterson (not shown).
We were only able to continue this tradition due to one person … Brother Joe Lyons
Joe is a long time follower of our sites, a great friend and most of all … a TRUE Brother!
What he did for us at FDIC was VERY cool and something that I’m sure Rhett and I will “steal” at future events.
You see, when Rhett and I arrived at the MN8-FoxFire Booth that morning, everyone was excited that we had received a package… a delivery.
They figured it was more of our Challenge Coins since they knew we were running out and the box “rattled” when they shook it.
You can imagine our surprise when we tore her open … BEER … ICED DOWN BEER!
How cool is that?
Joe knew he wouldn’t / couldn’t catch / find us out on the town while in Indy and he was dead set on buying us a beer. With that in mind, he figured he’d buy em and send where he knew we’d be … in the booth.
I gotta tell ya … that was one of the coolest things we’ve had happen to us while on the road … and we’ve had a lot of cool things happen.
SPECIAL THANKS again Brother … not sure how we are gona pay ya back for this one but we’re gonna try.
So after the climb, we finished out the evening in the booth.
Afterwards, I went to bed while Rhett and the boys illuminated the town. I’m not sure everything they got into but it must have been good.
Saturday morning, we ended up the show with our final 1/2 day in the exhibit hall. Everyone was EXHAUSTED.
Thanks again to everyone who stopped by the MN8-FoxFire Booth for a personal demo or to purchase product. For those of you who didn’t make it by the booth, Zach is honoring the “show prices” for 10 days after FDIC. Hit the link above for their web site or …
Again, THANKS to everyone who stopped by for a visit and picture .. it was an HONOR to get to meet each and every one of you!
We met Brothers and Sisters from as far away as Sweden and Canada. Chief Bailie even returned to the booth to give me one of his Department’s hats. THANKS Chief!
The one Canadian I didn’t see was Hydrant Galand I actually figured we would have. If you folks don’t know who this pretty little canuck is, hit the link above .. I’ve followed her site for years now and REALLY enjoy it.
Our apologies to those of you whom we didn’t get to meet or spend a lot of time with …. we wish we had more time and hope to catch ya somewhere down the road.
Rhett put up a GREAT post (as are all of his) listing a lot of the folks we met and even displaying some 45 pictures! If your name or pic isn’t in that post, let us know and we’ll get it up.
We are back from FDIC 2012. We actually drove home through the night (last night) because I’m sick… and NO … not like “hung over” sick…. “sick” sick. Despite having to cut the trip short, we had a BLAST!
Rhett ( The Fire Critic ) and I try to “step it up” a little at each event we attend and FDIC 2012 was a HUGE SUCCESS for the Fire Critic and Ironfiremen.com.
Our main reason for the trip was to help Zach Green and the MN8-FoxFire Team in booth #3026. It was an easy job because the product is so good that it sells itself.
Rumor is that this year set a record for attendance and sales at FDIC and I would bet that we were one of the top 5 busiest booths. Several of the staff members from FDIC even came by and asked me what all the “hype” was about around our booth. As soon as I got them in the tent … they understood.
Jacob and Troy from the TV show ”Swamp People” were in the Ferrara Fire Truck booth ( I don’t understand the connection ) but it was the MN8-FoxFire booth that was SWAMPED. I guess Rhett and I were kinda like the FoxFire “booth babes”. I say that for several reasons. One of the reasons is because we were wearing kilts. Not dresses … kilts (it’s defined by what you ARE or are NOT wearing under em …lol). Not just any kilt either. We were wearing our custom kilts from ALT KILT.
Everywhere we turned, we were meeting and greeting Brothers, Sisters, friends and followers (new and old alike). I have to be honest with you … we were not expecting that.
Now don’t get me wrong … we LOVED it! Everyone there wanted to meet, talk to and get a picture with us. We didn’t make it past 20 foot into the gates.
In the past, whenever folks would come up to us and say ” I love your site and read it every day”, we would always reply “so you’re the one” …LOL. Well, it was very apparent at FDIC that we now have at least a few more than “one” loyal reader / follower and if we didn’t get the chance to tell ya at FDIC, THANKS!
We passed out every Challenge Coin, patch and Brotherhood Chip we had with us and needed a few hundred more! If you missed us at FDIC or wasn’t there to get yours, don’t panic…. you can still get one. For our Challenge Coin, patch and custom badges ….
Also visit The Chip Site to find where our Brotherhood Chips were made
It was a fun night! The next morning, we opened the booth and was again over run. Folks were showing up to meet and visit with us and to get a personal demo of the MN8 FoxFire Products. We knew then that this would be a show like no other that we have attended.
We apologize to any of you that we didn’t get to speak to personally and wish we could have spent more time with those who we did. Several times, there were folks waiting for a picture while we were giving product demos etc.
We made every effort to step aside real quickly and hope we got to all of you. We put a bunch of pictures up on our Face Book pages. Be sure to take a look at em and tag yourself if we didn’t already. Also, if you have one of or with us that we don’t … please tag us as well.
So, after the floor closed for day 1, we have several dinners to attend. Our first was with Fire Rescue Magazine / Firefighter Nation where we actually received some pretty cool recognition. If you’re not a subscriber of Fire Rescue Magazine or a member of Firefighter Nation … YOU SHOULD BE (hit that link above). Here’s what they had to say about the award we received …
Afterwards, we had a team dinner with the MN8-FoxFire Team. Zach gave us a special gift of a framed quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson…
“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
Very fitting for MN8-FoxFire, The Fire Critic and Ironfiremen.com. I can’t wait to see where we end up on this journey.
That said .. I have to stop this post here. As I mentioned above, I’m sick and attempting to write this post from bed. I’ll do my best to follow up with a “Part 2″ as soon as possible. Sorry to make ya wait … thanks for following and be sure to hit that Face Book link above for more great pictures from FDIC.
We made it … don’t ask me how but we did. Rhett, Andrew Catron, Mike Elston and I are at FDIC 2012 and already having a BLAST!
We got in yesterday and met up with Zach Green and the MN8 FoxFire Team.
We made the Fire Rescue 1 Meet Up and the Fools Bash last night….. everyone says I had a great time.
Rhett and I even wore our new kilts from Alt Kilt and they looked AWESOME.
I’m not sure we are going to have a bunch of time for posting etc. but we are getting a lot of pics. We will at least try to get some up on Face Book so you folks at home can follow along …. here are a few to get ya started …
Don’t forget to hit “Like” and become a fan (follow) us on Face Book! Also check in with the Fire Critic and MN8 Fox Fireto keep up with us while we’re in Indy. Speaking of MN8 Fox Fire … that’s where you’ll find us…
MN8 Fox Fire FDIC Booth 3026
Stop by for a visit and picture …. we can’t wait to see you!
I don’t event know where to begin. We head out for FDIC in the morning and I’ve been busting my butt for the last several days trying to get everything caught up on the farm so that I can be away. Sorry I haven’t gotten a post up but I figured you kind of enjoyed looking at those MN8-FoxFire tetrahedrons anyway. Yea…. you’re welcome and NO… I wont tell ya whose they are.
I guess the best place to start tonight is with the Buckaroo. Today is his Birthday! He turned 4 years old and I couldn’t be more proud.
I remember the day he was born like it was just yesterday. I was on duty with the Melrose Misfits at Station #9. I had the boys out doing Pre-Fire Plans when I got “the call”. I slid over to the Medic Unit with Ben “Tyrone” Obaugh, marked it out of service and headed to the hospital.
Tyrone stood guard by the door and within no time, the Buckaroo was born and I was cutting the cord. I think Tyrone was as nervous as I was. It was the first (and only) time he had seen me cry. I was honored to have been able to share that moment with one of “my boys”.
I can’t count the moments I’ve shared with the Buckaroo . That’s him at just a week or two old in the old “War Wagon” from Station #9. I’m looking forward to a million or two more …. HAPPY BIRTHDAY little fella.
Speaking of being proud and sharing “moments” …. I went to church this past Sunday. I went and the lightning didn’t strike nor did the roof cave in. What’s more is that I didn’t go alone … there was a whole group of firefighters in attendance.
Our Battalion Chief (Theodore “Teddy” WENDALE Adkins) thought it was a good idea and invited us all to attend our Department’s Chaplain Father Sandy Webb’s Church ( St. John’s Episcopal Church). Without pressure, several members attended.
My entire Company was there and once again I found myself humbled. I say that because I don’t (can’t) talk a lot about faith / religion with my members. I do think and worry about it often …especially with our Rookie Randy. I hope and would like for him to get started in the right direction at this point in his life (new job, new home, getting married etc) and hope we are setting the right example. I’m not saying that Church is necessarily the “right” direction but I at least want him to know and understand that if that’s his chosen path then I support it. Not just me either … the entire company does… WE support it.
As a Company, we live, eat and play together. Because of that, we are united and that enables us to fight together (fire fighting). Now, we’ve added another level to our bond of Brotherhood and have attended Church together. We’ve prayed together and this past Sunday, even received Communion together. I could write an entire post on the emotions I felt knowing that George, Todd and Randy were knelt beside me. The look in Father Sandy’s eyes as he moved from one firefighter to the next. My eyes swelled with tears. Tears of Pride, Honor, Tradition and Respect. It is the sharing of these moments …. personal / private moments that make us stronger. It’s what makes us BROTHERS.
So, how am I going to go from Church with Father Webb to clean balls??? Kilts of course!
That’s right, The Fire Critic ( Rhett Fleitz) and I have just received our new kilts from ALT Kilt.
These kilts are AWESOME!
I had no idea that they were so well constructed. The material is heavy duty yet comfortable. They fit perfect and look GREAT . I can’t wait to wear this thing at FDIC this week!
We tried the other companies and ALT KILT was the only one who came through for us. If you’re thinking about, wanting or looking for a kilt (and you will be after you see us in em) then TRUST ME … Alt Kilt is where you want to shop.Hit any of the links above for their web site or find, like and follow them on Face Book
So, we now have kilts and are planning to wear em at FDIC this week. Good thing AXE just sent us some of their newest products for a “review”. See that post on IronFiremen.com by clicking HERE . The good news for any and everyone who will bump into us at FDIC is that the good folks from AXE also included some of their existing products in our “care package” … ie: the Axe Detailer
LMAO … so anyway, look us up at FDIC … we want to meet ya! The easiest way to find us will be in the MN8-FoxFire Booth inside the exhibit hall.
Visit Captain Wines and The Fire Critic at FDIC in the MN8-FoxFire Booth #3026
Show us your “tets” and tell us your FoxFire story. Let us give ya a personal demo and make plans to meet up with and hang out after hours! We will have our new challenge coins, patches and a new “chip” to pass out.
Yep … patches and a new Challenge Coin from NM Coin .
Not going to be at FDIC???? Don’t panic. You can now purchase Ironfiremen and FireCritic merchandise directly from NM Coin!
Be the first member of your company to have our coin and/or patch …. CLICK HERE for some special offers and great DEALS on our collector items.
These guys do GREAT work…. Our coins ROCK!
If you’re in the market for badges, name plates, coins, patches etc you HAVE to look these guys up. Hit their link above or find, like and follow them on Face Book … tell em Rhett and I sent ya,
We’ve got a full but GREAT schedule while at FDIC. We will be at the Fools Bash, The Fire Rescue 1 Meet Up, The Fire / EMS Blog Meet Up, The 5k run, The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, Stop Drop and Rock and Roll and much much more! Like I said, FIND US …. hang out and tag along. We’ve already picked up two Brothers ( Mike Elston and Andrew Catron ) who will be making the trip up with us. We are going to have a BLAST!
Rhett has our itinerary in a Fire Critic post HERE. We will take and have plenty of photos etc from our experiences and will try to keep you up to date through Face Book ( not sure we’ll have the time for a full post here).
Get your minds out of the gutter…. I said ”TETS” …. not tits….LOL
Tets as in tetrahedrons … you know … those little triangle things we wear on our helmets?
After you’ve seen one… you want to see em all!
Me ….. I’m wearing the MN8-FoxFire tets…. Rhett ( The Fire Critic ) is too. We wont use anything else. Not only are they reflective (and more so than any other you’ll find on the market today) , they also illuminate (glow in the dark on steroids). Designed by firefighters, for firefighters…. They are the best on the market!
Now, We WANT TO SEE YOURS! What are you wearing? I hope they’re FoxFire. If not, they should be! Comment here or send us a picture on Face book.
Follow Ironfiremen.com on Face Book. Click HERE and hit “LIKE”
These “tets” are proven and I can speak for them personally. My Rookie firefighter “Rocket” Randy Armbrister wears them as well. In my last post I told you about us catching some work. See that post HERE .
Randy took a little heat on this one. I had to have his gear tested due to thermal hits. He ruined his leather front and bourks and even spidered his mask. Now don’t worry … Randy is just fine. He was just a little out of position and got warm. He wont be again.
He held up fine and so did his MN8 FoxFire products. Randy was wearing the Illuminating Helmet Band and the Tetrahedrons. That’s his helmet pictured above left.
Before we took the picture, he had already cleaned the helmet. Looking at the front and bourks, it’s east to see it was hot. The thermal hits on his coat were on the left side (obviously, that’s where the fire was) so that’s where the majority of the heat was coming from.
Look at the tets … THEY HELD UP. You can’t tell from the picture but they still glow and reflect! Whats even better is that the glue held up. Most tets would have burnt off…. NOT MN8- FOXFIRES.
He hadn’t washed the helmet band yet (as of the photo) but believe me when I say that it too will clean right up with mild soap and water.
I’ve known this all along but I still love it when someone new to the product sees it for themselves first hand.
Randy was unexpectedly excited at how well his FoxFire held up compared to everything else. YOU WILL BE TOO!
You may remember that Zach, Rhett and I even tested the products inside the Cincinnati flash over simulator .
If you’re using MN8 FoxFire products, be sure to submit your ranking as well. If you’re not using it yet and want to …. you’re in luck. FDIC is next week and Rhett and I will be there along with Zach Green and the entire MN8-FoxFire Team. Stop by the booth for a personal demonstration …. you’ll thank us!
I’ll do one better than that and go back to the title … “SHOW US YOUR TETS”. Be the first person to show up at the MN8-FoxFire booth and show me or Rhett your tets and we’ll give you a free gift.
Find MN8-FoxFire and our entire team in FDIC booth #3026
We really want to see you folks so be sure to stop by … tets or no tets … we want to hear your stories and have the chance to show you this amazing product. Rhett, Zach and I will be all over Indy so if for nothing else, stop by to get our schedule and find out where to meet up with us off of the exhibit hall floor. We look forward to meeting you!
We were asked to help on a special assignment today. Our Battalion called and asked us to assist with some station cleaning. The kicker was that it wasn’t our station …. it’s actually not an operating fire station at all.
It was our now closed “historic” Station #1.
Built in 1907, it lasted 100 years before being being shut down in 2007. It was closed along with Station #3 and the two consolidated into our new headquarters Station #1 (aka… “The Big Show”).
The closings became a huge battle between our members and administration. A lot of our Department’s history came from within those walls. It was a house full of TRADITION, PRIDE, HONOR, RESPECT and BROTHERHOOD. It the house my dad retired from. It was a bitter fight and there are plenty of mixed emotions that linger still today. For many, the closing of those doors signaled the end of an era for the Roanoke Fire Department.
Learn more about Roanoke’s Historic Station #1 HERE and HERE
They wouldn’t allow us (the members .. IAFF Local-1132) to have it. Promises were made and not kept. They do allow us to park our antique fire truck there and the Department houses a couple reserve pieces there as well. They’ve allowed the Police Department to occupy an office up stairs and even put two horse stalls (for the mounted patrol) down in the bay. The mounted patrol has since been disbanded (but the stalls remain). They also allow city workers access into the station to eat, use the restroom, hide, nap or who knows what. That’s part of the problem. With no history or ties to the building, they don’t even bother to clean up behind themselves.
Anyway, we met Battalion Chief Adkins and the members from Station #2 down there to do a bit of house keeping today. It looked BAD but the guys made quick work of it.
Upstairs was swept and mopped. The bays were washed out. All the trash collected and taken out and we even polished the brass.
It looked 100 times better after about 2 hours of work but could have stood much more. I’m glad none of our retired members seen it in the shape we found it…. it would have been embarrassing.
There were a lot of young members on the detail today. Young as in they weren’t even here when the station was open or never had the honor and privilege of running out of it. I think it was a good experience for them.
They got to hear some of us older guys telling stories from her “glory days”. They got to see and hear first hand some of the history and tradition of their Department.
Randy got to polish his first brass pole. There aren’t many members left in our Department who can say they polished brass at station #1.
Another “newer member”, Ronnie Mitchel ( from #2-C ) got to sweep and mop the front stair case. A wooden, spiral staircase. I could picture in my mind now retired member Jimmy Jennings doing it. It was one of Jimmy’s “pet peeves” and he took a lot of pride in assuring those steps were spotless.
The station has 2 spiral staircases leading upstairs. Older houses had spiral stairs to keep the horses from finding their way upstairs in the event they got loose.
Grooved floors from the days of horses. Wooden floors and lockers (with brass knobs) in an open bunk room. Deep sky lights. Stamped tin ceilings….. she was a sight to see.
Thanks to Chief Adkins for seeing the need and getting it done. Thanks as well to my boys, Captain Graham and the members of Station #2-C for a job well done!
So, we also had a visitor today. A ride-a-long.
Michael Whiteaker from Bristol, Tn. made his way up for a visit and ride.
Michael’s dad is a retired Deputy Chief ( with 33 years of service) with the Bristol (Tennessee) Fire Department. Michael plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and is thinking of applying here to do so. He scored well in Bristol’s process but is currently working in their Police Department. Yea … I let a cop do a ride along but not before I explained to him that with a little extra effort and a few more points on the test … he could have been a fireman. LOL.
Learn more about the Bristol, Tennessee Fire Department HERE
All kidding aside, Michael scored 2nd in Bristol and seems like a great guy. We took him out to our regional training center and introduced him to the training chiefs of all 3 jurisdictions ( Roanoke City, Roanoke County and the City of Salem). He went with us to Station #1 and even caught a few runs (nothing to write home about). I hope he enjoyed the visit as much as we enjoyed having him.
Moving on, we are still getting ready for FDIC. It’s just around the corner and will be here before you know it. Once again, Rhett and I will be there with Zach Green and the MN8-FoxFire Team. We will be attending the Fools Bash, The IAFF party, the NFFF Stop, Drop and Rock and Roll event, the Fire/EMS Blog Meet Up and many more events. We want to meet YOU while we’re there. The easiest way to catch up with us is to come to the booth.
Meet us at FDIC 2012 in the MN8-FoxFire Booth #3026
Speaking of Rhett …. he’s in Aruba without his computer and his phone turned off. Of course he did manage to post a single pic on Face Book to rub it in.
I say “rub it in” because once again, he is traveling without me. Yea…. he left me here to take care of everything else while he’s laying on some far off exotic beach. I’ve been worried sick!
So many things could happen on a trip like this….
He can’t even swim! Good thing I packed his water wings.
He made 100 excuses for why I couldn’t go.
He even said that he didn’t think I’d “fit in” over there …. you know … wearing my fire boots around all the time and such.
Can you believe that?? ME … NOT fitting in somewhere?
He didn’t care that I was willing to leave my regular footwear behind for something a little me fitting of a beach environment. When I showed him my new boots, he laughed… HE LAUGHED!
Well, despite this leather exterior … deep down … I do have feelings and I don’t mind telling you that they’re hurt.
LMAO … you folks stay SAFE and in House! I’ll be back on Saturday.
I know where the term “March Madness” comes from but for me, it has nothing to do with basketball.
In my world, it’s tax time. Time for me to figure out my fertilizer needs and how I’m going to pay for it. Time to find enough money to fill our diesel tanks before the cost per gallon makes it impossible. Time to prep all the equipment for the fast approaching hay season and time to move all the cattle to summer pastures.
A busy time on the farm to say the least. It’s also the beginning of the busy time for The Fire Critic (Rhett Fleitz) and Ironfiremen.com. Our “travel season” is just around the corner and our schedule is filling fast.
Rhett and I have actually already had a good start to 2012 and it’s only going to get better.
We kicked off the year with a couple unexpected trips but we wouldn’t have traded them for the world. We get into a little bit of everything but, January started off with a first for us…. motivational speaking. We had kicked the idea around for a long time but The Swoope Volunteer Fire Company’s Awards Dinner was to be our first venue. We were a huge success!
Find, Like and Follow the Swoope VFD on Face Book by clicking HERE
Still in January, we got together with Zach Green and the awesome team at MN8-FoxFire and raised some money for the FDNY’s Rescue 2 MayDay Fund. You may remember the December 19, 2011 Brooklyn blaze that seriously injured firefighters Wiedmann and Gersbeck of the Famed Rescue 2.
Thanks to the efforts of our readers and loyal FoxFire customers, we were able to raise over $2,300.00 for the fund that supported these two members and their families during their recovery! It was a very humbling experience. We presented the check in person to Captain Flaherty and the men of Rescue 2.
At the time, Brother Gersbeck and been released for the burn unit to continue recovering at home. Firefighter Weidmann remained in critical condition and would require many more surgeries and accompanying time in the unit. Well guess what?? Last Friday, March 23rd, Brother Wiedmann was finally released. Let me rephrase that … not only was he released, he WALKED OUT of the burn unit!
After returning home from New York, we intended to take it easy and rest up before our full schedule began. Well, that didn’t happen. Somehow or another, we had to find the time to launch a new web site. We have been doing product reviews on our sites for a while now but we never really had a place that was easy for our readers to find them all.
It’s a GREAT site! Not only do we give you our review / rating of the products, we also allow YOU to score them as well!
Yea …. with our site, you get to rank the product too. Maybe you found something we didn’t. Maybe the product is not as effective for how you operate. Not everyone will agree with our opinions and we wanted to make sure that you get the “Low-Down” on these products before spending the money. If you haven’t already …check us out. Be sure to tell us how you would “score” the products we’ve reviewed. Use the link above to visit the web site or …
Click HERE to follow Firefighter Product Review on Face Book
We didn’t stop there. Instead of that “rest” we were supposed to be getting, we then teamed up with the National Firefighter’s Endowment to create and support ”Brotherhood Cuts“.
“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.”
Our involvement would have me packing my bags again in March. I traveled to Pinnacle, NC to visit with the Shoals VFD and open our 1st ever event. The goal was to raise money to purchase “Bail Out Bags” for the Surry County Departments. Thanks to Firefighter Chaplain Chris Gillett and several others, they raised over $2,000.00 towards their purchase!
Now, we are gearing up for FDIC (Fire Department Instructor’s Conference) to be held April 16-21st in Indianapolis. It’s a HUGE event and once again, Rhett and I will team up with Zach Green and the MN8-FoxFire Team!
Visit us in Booth #3026 !
We already have a very busy schedule for the week but want you to tag along. The easiest thing to do will be to meet us at the booth. We might even have a couple “Booth Babes” on hand!
We will be able to give you a personal demo of the FoxFire Products. Did I mention “Booth Babes“? There, we can also share our itinerary with you so that we can spend some time together away from the convention floor.
There are several other events to attend other than the classes and exhibit floor while at FDIC. There’s the FOOLS Bash, the IAFF party, a 5k run, Battle of the Bands, Stop Drop and Rock and Roll for the NFFF, a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, an exhibitor’s combat challenge and so much more! We’re going to have a BLAST!
Rhett and I will be wearing our new patch!
Yea … we’ve had our own patch designed by the folks at NM Coins LLC. These guys did an AWESOME job! They have also created our new Challenge Coins and badges.
We should have a few “give aways” on hand for FDIC. The coins and patches will also be available to purchase very soon in case you miss us at FDIC. We will let you know where and how asap. Until then, check out NM Coins and let em know what you think of the design. Better yet, throw some business their way and let em do the same for you and/or you company / Department.
I guess I should also mention that we will be wearing kilts.
In preparation, I’m going to take Rhett to a tattoo parlor sometime this week. I’m going to have the devil put on one of his knees and the great Chicago fire on the other. It will be more realistic that way because Rhett wearing a kilt is going to look like HELL! LMAO !
All kidding aside, check out the folks over at Alt Kilt and pick one out one for yourself. Don’t be the only guy at the next event in long pants!
So there ya have it …. Rhett and I are geared up and ready to go … I hope you are too! The next big trip is FDIC and we’d love to meet you there. We should be easy to find but just in case … remember Booth 3026 !
Im on duty tonight and will back Thursday and Saturday. I’ll check back in asap … I’ve got some breaking news out of Botetourt and a few local happenings to report as well. Until I get back …
Once again, I have to start off with an apology. My postings have been few and far between here lately but I should be back on a regular schedule soon. As always, my excuse is work. I’ve been completely swamped but I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Today, instead of joining my Brothers and Sisters on the Parade route and raising a few pints in celebration of St Patrick’s Day, I’m working day 2 of a 72 hour tour. Yea … 3 days straight! Friday, I worked to pay back some time that I owed to Captain Flora, of A-shift; here at Lucky #13. Today, I’m doing the same for Lt. Hauck of B-shift. Both of these Brothers worked for me a little while back to allow Rhett and I to travel.
We have both posted about “trading shifts” many times. Working a 72 would not have been my first choice …especially over the St. Patty’s Day weekend but, when you owe someone time, you don’t have the luxury of picking the day (you pay them back on a day THEY need .. not one that suits YOUR schedule).
So anyway, here I am…. at the firehouse. I hope you folks are not stuck on duty and are having or had a GREAT St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re still at it, raise a pint or 20 for me!
I hope you all have on a little something green or you may get a pinch.
For the lads, I hope you’re covered head to toe (of course I’m talking to firemen and know that you are all most likely butt naked by this point). As for the Lasses, well …. hopefully they have on a wee bit less or at least look as good in it as the little leprechaun pictured to the right does.
Since poor little me is stuck here … maybe you guys could send me some pictures of your adventures today. Marching in the Parade … Pipes and Drums … sexy little leprechauns etc. Send em to the comment section here or to my Face Book Fan Page.
Follow Ironfiremen.com on FaceBook by clicking HERE then “Like”
I have a touch of green on myself today.
I’m wearing Station #3′s 2012 St Patrick’s Day shirt design.
It’s a great looking shirt! The hippies Brothers over at Station #3 call the place “The Green House”. It’s all about going “green” over there. Automatic lights, toliet water re-routed to the showers, rain water for washing the rigs, trash compactors, compost piles etc.
Since #3 is all about everything “green”, they’ve adopted the Hulk as their mascot. The shirt has the Hulk holding a leprechaun in one hand and a bunch of shamrocks in the other. There is even a pot of gold by his feet. A pretty cool design on a quality shirt. I think the shirt was developed by Eric Mulford or “Wing Nut” as I call him. Great job guys and THANKS for giving me the chance to buy one.
St Patrick’s Day always takes my mind to New York City and our Brothers of the FDNY. I used to go up every year for the Parade. We had been up so often that they even let us march along side them. My last trip up was March 2002 following the September 11th attacks. I march with the Brothers of 39/16 and will never forget the experience. I haven’t returned for a parade since.
Today is also my dad and step mothers anniversary. I missed the wedding to go to NYC for the parade but they took it really well ( they ran off to the beach and forgot to get me a ticket / hotel room anyway …LOL ). So HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Pop and Robyn.
It was also on St Patrick’s Day 1 year ago that we met our now Fire Department Chaplain Father Sandy Webb.
Father Webb has come a long way in the past year and again I’ll say that I’m honored to have him by our side.
It started out over a meal of corned beef and cabbage. The next thing we know, he is our official Chaplain. He made it out for several visits and has even taken in a few runs with us. He has responded to all 2nd alarm and greater fires. He’s blessed my new Phenix leather helmet and now has even participated in training with us. He’s been a GREAT Chaplain and an even better friend.
Read a related post about Father Sandy Webb by clicking HERE
Ok, moving on … I have a LOT of catching up to do so hang with me and be sure to hit all the links I provide.
Voting has begun for the 2012 Fire & EMS Blog of the Year !
The contest is once again hosted by The Fire Critic (Lt. Rhett Fleitz) and is sponsored by Fire Rescue 1.com and EMS1.com
I was not eligible for the contest this year because Ironfiremen.com is the reining 2011 Black Diamond Footwear Fire Blog of the Year !
Kelly and I (along with some others) will be the judges for this years contest.
I don’t know how many, but there were a TON of nominations. The list has been narrowed down to 28 … 14 Fire and 14 EMS related Blogs. The competition is TOUGH as they are all very good sites. Use the link below to submit your vote!
Click HERE to review nominations and VOTE for the 2012 Fire & EMS Blogs of the Year
MN8-FoxFire doesn’t need your votes but they do want / need your help and submissions.
Zach Green and the MN8-FoxFire Team have come up with another GREAT way to keep us involved in their product.
The product was designed for us (firefighters and our safety) in the 1st place and MN8-FoxFire has always done a fantastic job of listening to our wants / concerns and adjusting their product accordingly.
They are rewarding us again with more customer / user input. MN8-FoxFire wants your help in designing their next shirt. HOW COOL IS THAT ?!?
They are currently taking submissions for their next shirt design. The winner and the shirt will be reveled at FDIC next month. The MN8-FoxFire logo will be on the front and the winning design on the back. And YES … the shirts “glow” just like their other products! Here’s a short quote from their site …
”The same photoluminescent technology used in Foxfire’s fire safety products will be used in the ink displayed on the shirt, enabling the graphics to brightly light up in the dark. We are looking for a design that is fabulously eye-catching and creative, but also wearable and practical. Design something you would be proud to wear yourself.”
Visit the web site by clicking HERE or find them on Face Book HERE
FDIC is just around the corner … April 16-21. MN8-FoxFire will be there once again in full force and that include me and Rhett. That’s right … make you plans now to meet up with me and Rhett while at FDIC. Our schedule is filling up fast but we will be easiest to find in the Fox Fire booth #3026 … be sure to stop in and say hello and get your personal demo of the FoxFire products!
Have you seen our new patch?
Oh yea baby … Rhett and I will have our very own patch for our uniforms etc by FDIC. They look AWESOME!
They are being made by NM Coins LLC. They are also making our badges and a new challenge coin.
We will have some to pass out at FDIC and will soon get ya the details on how to order one for your self in case you don’t get the opportunity to have your hand delivered.
I’m VERY excited on how things are shaping up so far this year …. it’s gonna be our best yet!
Visit NM Coins web site HERE or find them on Face Book HERE
You may also spot us wearing our new kilts at FDIC. Yep ….you heard me correctly … Rhett and I will be wearing KILTS !
We’re going to keep some of the details under wraps for now ( and hopefully a lot more “under wraps” while we are wearing them) but I will let you know that they are being made by ALT.KILT.
Check out their web site HERE or on Face Book HERE.
I also want to give you an early “heads up” on another one of our scheduled events. Rhett and I will be heading out to Sioux Falls South Dakota in September. Bob Gard is planning one hell of an event and if you are anywhere near or can make the arrangements to get out there… YOU ARE NOT GOING TO WANT TO MISS IT !
We need to tie up just a few more “loose ends” before we let all of the details out but I will tell ya that the event will benefit some very important organizations and it’s gonna be BIG!
Make plans to be out there for the September 15th event !
Rhett and I will actually be out there Sept. 12-16th with a VERY full schedule. Bob has events and stops scheduled all week … come on out and join us … you wont be disappointed.
Ok, I’m going to stop here for tonight. I told ya in the beginning that I’m working B-shift today. What I failed to mention was that I’m riding backwards. It’s the Lt’s job to drive and that’s the position I’m covering but figured that the firefighter from B-shift ( Brian “gooch” Reger ) is better suited to wheel (it’s been a while for me).
Anyway, I’m riding backwards and we even caught a little work a few hours ago. Not much of a fire but I did have to make a stretch and even if I have to say so myself …. I still have it …LOL .. it was a text book stretch. The Brothers and sisters of B-shift put in some quick work, made a great stop and spared the owner a lot of damages. Well done fellas (and Heather).
I know I shouldn’t mention it but will whoever is attempting to fret Captain Dillon today PLEASE STOP.
We’ve been getting “hang up” calls all day and apparently, someone has hacked into the Engine’s computer.
I’m not sure how it happened but somehow, they got to our background and screen saver!
Some kind of little dancing elf or leprechaun or something … LMAO!
We’ve been trying to figure out how to change it or get it removed but it’s just beyond our computer skills (wink wink).
That should be enough to hold ya for tonight … I’ll still be here tomorrow for my regular shift (Sun, Tue, Thurs) and will try to get back with another post or two. Don’t forget to VOTE for you favorite Fire & EMS Blog of the year over on The Fire Critic. If you didn’t hit the link at the beginning of the post … CLICK HERE .
We get to “The Rock” ( Randall’s Island .. the FDNY Training center ) and who do we bump into ???
Our old friend and Brother Firefighter James Sorokac!
Jimmy gave us one hell of a tour back in December 2011 when we were there with the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation. We “hit it off” right from the start … it’s easy to tell that Jimmy is a fireman’s fireman.
I could talk for days about all the facilities at “The Rock” and Jimmy knew every one of em inside and out. The site is nothing short of amazing. They have an entire 3 story New York City Block built inside a massive structure … it’s 3 story buildings, built INSIDE another building to allow their members to train out of the weather! Flashover simulators, a subway mock up, multiple burn buildings, roof simulators, confined space, trench, passenger vehicle and even a bus fire simulator. You name it, they train on it and it can be found at “The Rock”.
Seeing how we’ve already had the tour, this time; Jimmy just told us a few stories and OHHH.. what stories this Brother can tell!
He was actually pretty excited about one in particular. You see, Jimmy services on their Ceremonial Unit. Actually, he’s their Senior member! Click HERE to learn more about the FDNY Ceremonial Unit ! Back at the 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Jimmy had the honor of ringing the bell. A photographer captured and unbelievable shot of James, at attention, hand on the bell, a tear on his cheek and the American flag in the foreground. I can’t describe the emotion I felt seeing the photo … or the emotion it captured.
Roberta Lerch, wife of Honorary Chief of Department Jack Lerch; created a painting from the photograph and presented it to the Ceremonial Unit. They in turn, presented it to the Commissioner and Chief of Department who then deemed it remain on display at the Training center.
That’s the picture hanging above Jimmy’s head (in the photo to the left).
They even had a nice write up and picture in WNYF (With New York Firefighters) 4th/2011.
He was VERY proud and should be ! Rhett and I have also heard rumors of that picture becoming a book cover very soon … VERY COOL !
Thanks again to Jimmy for spending a little time with us out at “The Rock”. Thanks also for the great stories and for caring enough to share them with us … nobody tells em like you do Brother!
So, we got to visit with the Chief of Training as well. Soon, we’d find ourselves in the Captain’s office. Usually, being in the Captain’s office isn’t a good thing but this time … IT WAS AWESOME!
Beside every good Captain is a GREAT Lieutenant and we had the honor of meeting Lt. Ed Galiani as well.
Lt. Galiani has been wearing a MN8-FoxFire Helmet Band for a little while now. Can you see it?? Yea … it’s on there just burnt, blackened and smoked up a bit…. just a little bit.
We always get questions as to how the Helmet Bands hold up … this should leave no doubt in your mind.
Lt. Galiani did say he was a little concerned that it didn’t glow anymore but was very pleased that it hadn’t burned apart. It hadn’t even cracked up like the old inner tubes.
Well, Zach took the band off and headed over to the sink.
After a little soap and water, she began to clean up nicely… the Lt was impressed.
He just wasn’t aware that you can clean the Bands. So, for all of you out there wearing them ..YES …wash em. Soap and water will do well if washed regularly. If you’ve put em through the ringer as Lt Galiani has .. use something a little stronger .
We took this Band and presented Lt Galiani with a brand new one. Zach wanted to take this one back to the home office so he can show those who doubt just how well they hold up. This band has seen hundreds of fires and who knows how many heat cycles! FIREFIGHTER TESTED BABY!!
So, we left The Rock, and headed to Ground Zero. Of course we dropped in to visit our friends at Ten House and then grabbed a bite to eat. It had been a busy 2 days and we were BEAT so we headed back to the hotel.
There, we received a call. One of our loyal fans / followers lived not too far away and wanted to come meet us.
Little did we know that Christine Sarracino would have to sneek out of the house to do so…. LOL (just kidding).
Christine fought late buses and trains to finally meet us.
We headed down to a local bar for a few beers and stories. She was very fun to hang out with.
She even made a special gift for each of us. I had mentioned in an earlier post that we were thinking of having a patch designed that Incorporated both Ironfiremen.com and the FireCritic logo. She designed one for us to consider, printed it out, framed it and added a special note with each! It was a GREAT gift!
The next morning, we headed South in Jersey to Fire Hooks Unlimited!
I carry a 6 foot “New York Hook” on every fire. It gives me reach and allows for plenty of leverage. I LOVE IT and these are the folks who make em!
Not only that, the owner; Bob Ferrell is a Retired FDNY Captain (who Retired as an “Acting” Battalion). Captain Ferrell is one of the most famous FDNY Captains and I call tell ya without a doubt … he’s a CAT BIRD!
You can read about some of his exploits in books such as Dennis Smith’s “Report from engine company 82″ or “Fire Department of New York – The Bravest 1865-2000” by FF Paul Hashage .
Learn / read more about FDNY Captain Bob Ferrell by clicking HERE
Captain Ferrell rolled out the red carpet …. we got a first class tour by him personally.
Captain Ferrell is holding the 5 foot version of the tool I carry in the picture shown to the right.
This place was AMAZING .. Rhett, Zach and I were in heaven.
The only thing better than the tour was the Stories Captain Ferrell told ….OMG!
I could have sat and listened to him for days! It was a perfect ending to another great trip! That evening, Rhett and I turned the ol “Blog Mobile” (that’s Rhett’s mini-van) south and headed home.
So, that was our trip in a nut shell … even though it took me 3 posts to get it all out! I want to say THANK YOU again to everyone who supported our effort in raising money for the FDNY Rescue 2 Mayday Fund…. WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!
Thanks also for following the site and sticking with me through these last few lengthy posts. I’ve got to catch ya up on some events that have occurred since we got back home but I really wanted to get the New York trip complete before moving on. I’ve had my new Phenix Helmet blessed and we’re almost ready to put her into service. We also caught a little work today but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for all the updates.