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What kid doesn’t want to be a firefighter? Every time they hear a siren or see a fire engine race by, they run to the curb to see what’s going on. Thus, I call these future firefighters “Run to the Curb” type kids.
I was one of those kids and I bet you were one too. It’s something you never grow out of — and many of us chose to grow into it.
“Run to the Curb!” is a living document and possible online book project too. Here, I’ll share my experiences, my stories that have been writing themselves over my thirty years in the fire service —and my thoughts on our need to be better story tellers.
And, I want to hear your stories too. You can share your childhood experiences and your connections to the fire service and in doing so, share the brotherhood, history and traditions of the fire service with fellow firefighters — and those who wish they were.
Check back often as more stories are added and we build this legacy together.
Originally penned: December 15, 2010. Edited: November 26, 2017
I’ve always been a storyteller. My wife claims that I embellish but I’ve told her a million times: Don’t exaggerate. (Please hold your applause til the end of the article.)
Several years ago, in a corporate world far, far away from where I am now in my career, my boss forced me to strongly recommended that I take a Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage Course as a means of elevating my professional goals to the next level. Read more of this post
I’ve known local WYRK Radio Personality Clay Moden for several years and in different circles, but even I was caught by surprise when he shared this ‘true confession’ about his life long dream to be a firefighter.
Although he hasn’t joined our ranks [yet], his confession does explain a lot about why he’s always been a very vocal supporter of the volunteer fire service (and everything else that is right about America).
I’m proud to know him and call him a friend – even if he only helps us from the sidelines. I hope his story inspires others to step up and join our service.
By at least my definition, Clay Moden is definitely a RuntotheCurb.com kid!
Here’s his story:
And if he ever wants to fulfill his dream, I know a guy…
PS – Clay: Thanks for the plug for our Erie County NY Volunteer Fire & Emergency Services Recruitment Campaign: iVolunteerFIRE.org
As you can see in this photo, being a firefighter was a lifelong dream of mine.
As a child, I went to the fire station with my dad every chance I got. Dad was a volunteer firefighter and EMT in a small Northeast Ohio for 33 years. Read more of this post
This is a story I wrote last year. This is a story about love and friendship, and about the day that Clinton asked me to be his wife, one year ago today:
Our story began long before we met. Shortly after I moved to Alaska, I took a job in aviation at a company called MarkAir. I worked on the ramp, loading cargo and bags on to airplanes- mostly 737’s. Most of my coworkers were male. It was a very physical job, and as a woman- I knew I had to work twice as hard to look half as ‘good’ as the men. So I did. I have never been afraid of hard work. Several of the guys were pretty immature. Many were not. I made some lifelong friendships in the couple of years I worked there (1993-1995). I met one of the greatest men I have ever known during that time. He was my supervisor. He was in charge of making sure we got the airplanes turned around on time and loaded properly. Andy Mullen was his name. Read more of this post
For me and I’m sure many others, February 12, 2009 was one of those moments in your life where you’ll always say “I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing … at the moment I heard of the crash.”
My wife Laurie and I have always had an unwritten rule that we don’t swear in front of our kids and hold to that today, even with them in their twenties. Six years ago tonight I was watching the movie “Eagle Eye” with my then 16-year old son Alex. My pager went off for about the sixth time that day and I immediately let out an involuntary “Ho—ly Sh**!”
Sensing that something obviously wasn’t right, Alex asked me: “What’s wrong Dad?” Read more of this post
“A Good Fireman Retires” – Capt Al Hagan-Beloved Fire Officer & Union Leader (REPRINTED FROM: The Secret List)
An old friend (and one of the original TSL subscribers) Captain Al Hagan has retired from the FDNY. Al was also President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association IAFF Local 854.
www.ufoa.orgMany of you will also know Al as a popular FDIC and Firehouse Expo Instructor-among many other classes and seminars-you are definitely fortunate to have spent time with Al .
He is absolutely one of a kind.
Al retires almost 41 years working as a Firefighter (E-36), Lieutenant (L-44) and Captain (L-43). He retired Saturday morning, August 30th, effective at 0900….Labor Day weekend. He is also retiring as President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. In Al’s words: “Collectively, it was a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world! I’d like to thank all of you that were kind enough to help.”
Take a moment to read and enjoy the below story from The Chief Leader.
Even if you haven’t met Al-take a look at the below for a great lesson in leadership-at the firehouse-and at the political level:
Alexander Hagan last week had already removed all of his personal photos from his office: the many snaps of his family, but also the one that captured himself in a very different time-in gym shorts as a young man who competed in five marathons when he wasn’t fighting fires.
As he got ready to retire on Aug. 30, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association President and Fire Captain, now 64, looked back fondly on a time when on nice days, he sometimes ran the 13 miles to work.
Smoke Took a Toll
Those days have slipped past, ended by a bum knee and the chronic bronchitis and cough that have plagued him for more than a decade. The lung problems recently sparked a diagnosis of reactive airway disease, a condition that can result from exposure to noxious substances and that has been called “occupational asthma.” Mr. Hagan said he might have gotten it even if he hadn’t spent months cleaning up at the World Trade Center site after Sept. 11. Read more of this post
I enjoyed meeting you this morning at Depew’s day drill. I belong to the Depew Fire Department’s Hook & Ladder Co. 1. I am proudly a “Hook” with a Maltese Cross tattoo to prove it too. (Once a Hook, Always a Hook!)
I want to tell you this one story:
My proudest moment in the department came nearly two years ago, February 2011, at my Mom’s wake.
My Mom was a fireman’s wife. My Dad, Vince, died as a life member of the Winchester Volunteer Fire Co. many years ago. Mom was just weeks shy of her 89th birthday. We held the wake at Hoy’s Funeral Home in West Seneca. Read more of this post
Buffalo News Feature Reporter Ann Neville — a volunteer firefighter herself — shares her keen insight into the interesting and interrupted lifestyles that come with being a volunteer firefighter in this two-page feature published on Sunday-December 15, 2013.
We often say that life in the fire service is not a job — it’s a lifestyle — and a very interrupted lifestyle at that. But, the next time the siren sounds we’re ready to run out the door: clothes, keys and equipment in hand; leaving our loved ones behind in a warm bed, at the dinner table, or just as we were all ready to walk out the door for a family gathering. Read more of this post
This will be a shorter version of a much more detailed post to come but for now, I have to share some of the story behind this photo.
A good friend and mentor of mine, Jim Guy just posted this photo of me that dates back almost 20 years.
Two years ago, 2011 was my first year on the social media staff for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and, being my first time attending the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, I said afterwards that I was glad I was so caught up in the technology that I didn’t get caught up in all the emotion of it.
Last year, I wasn’t so lucky. I was tasked with interviewing and capturing the stories of the survivors about their firefighters.
Our goal was to capture 60-90 seconds of video for sharing via the Foundation’s various social media channels. Invariably, even if I talked to a particular survivor for 10 to 15 minutes, it wasn’t until the end or when I asked if they had anything else they’d like to share, if they had anything else they wanted people to know about their loved one — that the real gemstones of insight came out. Read more of this post