Tag Archives: run to the curb

Rekindle: Chief Norm Flanders

Editor’s Note: My apologies to Chief Flanders for the delay in publishing his story. However, it’s only fitting that we publish this feature on our nation’s celebration of Independence Day as Norm Flanders is my favorite kind of two-hatter: a veteran of our US Armed Forces — and a veteran firefighter, and for that — we thank him for his service to his community and our country.

As a young boy, I always ran out to the street to see where the fire trucks were going and always waved as they drove by. I later befriended a firefighter in the city fire department and would stop by on his shift to say hi and visit. His friendliness and willingness to take a few minutes to talk to me impressed me greatly. Unfortunately we had to move out of the city and my weekly visits to the fire station ended.

Future Firefighter Preston

I was about 15 years old when my real passion first got started…so to speak. I helped our local small town FD {not the one I am with now}, at a structure fire that rekindled.

After we moved we lived near a lake. I learned to love to fish and swim. I loved being outdoors every chance I could. Then one afternoon while about five of us friends were swimming, we heard sirens coming up the road. We hurriedly dressed, then went to check out where the fire truck was going and what the excitement was about.

The excitement was at a large farm house that burned the day before, from a lightning strike. It was again on fire. So we followed the fire truck up the road to the house. There was a small amount of smoke showing from the second floor window and the hole in the roof.

At first there were only three firefighters and us kids at the fire scene. Two firefighters were taking a portable pump to the lake to draft water. We stood around watching what was taking place.

Read more of this post

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Long Time Leader: Doc Moltrup

My Story:

PGFD Division Chief Donald "Doc" Moltrup

I first became interested in the fire service when I was three or four years old. We had a very good family friend near our home town of Beaver Falls, PA, who was the Chief of the Chippewa Township (PA) Volunteer Fire Department. We visited them often and I also looked forward to going to the fire station with him.

He also gave me all of his old issues of “Fireman” magazine, then the official magazine of the NFPA (and probably the only real fire service journal in that era). I poured through these magazines and even traced pictures of fire apparatus in advertisements in them and made up my own fictitious fire department with them.

Although my Dad was never in the fire service, he was kind of a fire buff so I went to fires with him often. I lived in State College (PA) for several of my pre-school years and a volunteer with the Alpha Fire Company in State College lived across from our house. I always saw him rushing off to fire calls and wished I could go too. Read more of this post

We call it brotherhood

Photo by Tom Suddath the DCFD band photographer

I stumbled upon this post via Facebook and was enthralled as the author shared the story of a bus ride that stretched from jubilation to sadness and every point in between Washington DC and New York, NY.

The author is a DCFD firefighter who, like most of us, enjoys other passions in his life. His are cycling, music and beer. Doesn’t make him a bad guy, does it? LOL

I won’t ruin the story for you but I just had to share this gem of a quote I found within it that reinforces my theory on the importance of storytelling in the fire service: Read more of this post

Help Out this Run-to-the-Curb Kid

Chiefs and Run-to-the-Curb Kids: Jimmy and Tommy Hook

We’ll share the rest of the story about 11-year old Tommy Hook soon but all you need to know for now is that his Dad, Deputy Chief Jimmy Hook of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department died last week after a brief illness at age 42.

The good folks at HVFD are doing the right thing by him and making sure that Tommy has the financial support to go on to be a great kid after the loss of his dad — and to follow in his father’s footsteps as a great adult and maybe even a firefighter some day too.

I only met Jimmy and Tommy once, and just a few weeks ago during my visit to Hyattsville, but as you can see from this photo I snapped by chance right before they left the firehouse — both of them left an impression on me.

Here’s the link to the education fund that’s been set up for Tommy Hook. I hope you’ll consider helping them take care of this great Run-to-the-Curb kid: http://www.hvfd.com/hvfd/content/view/304/2/

Related Links:

Epic Stories from the Beltway

One week after I bunked and rode with Hyattsville Volunteers, the “white cloud” (as they called me because they didn’t catch any work while I was there) was lifted and HVFD caught all the work they could eat this past weekend.

Here’s a few links to their wild fires and wild times to whet your appetite. I can’t wait to hear the back stories of these adventures.

You could even say that this is the story of my life: A week late and a dozen fires short!

From the Halls of Hyattsville

Nik and Nick (practically twins) - two bunk-ins at Hyattsville Volunteers

It may be a while before I have a chance to share all of the great stories and experiences I heard this weekend during my awesome bunk-in tour-of-duty with Hyattsville Volunteers but I didn’t want to delay in showing you the photos.

While we didn’t catch any real work, I still had a blast and gained a real education on and appreciation for bunk-in programs — especially theirs.

I also had the opportunity to tour College Park Volunteer Fire Department — a class act and great fire-dorm set-up — courtesy of Capt. Matt Machala who is rightly very proud of their program.

All of these young people are pretty impressive.

So until I can find the time to get to the real story, here are some photos — to paint a thousand words.

How I met Billy D. Hayes … and stuff

This story of how I met Billy D. Hayes (and several other great people) was told when Billy called in during the Firefighter Storytellers Internet Radio Show with special guest Janet Wilmoth on February 9, 2011. It was originally printed  in “The Volunteer Firefighter” magazine from www.fasny.com –  August- 2008

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This article is one in a series of toolkits focusing on recruitment, retention, fire service marketing and leadership.

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My best friend: Chief Dennis Allen

Last month I said we’d take the summer off from talking about clearinghouses and trench work to focus on some other aspects of the fire service as they relate to recruitment and retention.

So, I decided we’d talk about an often mentioned but rarely explored principle of the fire service: Brotherhood. For the purposes of this article, the term “brotherhood” is gender-generic, so I hope the feminist revolution doesn’t show up at my doorstep any time soon.

Already you might be asking yourself what brotherhood has to do with recruitment and retention. But think about it. What is one of the greatest if not somewhat intangible assets we have to offer someone thinking about joining our ranks? That’s right; it’s the real brotherhood of the fire service. Read more of this post

Storytellers: Janet Wilmoth

Fire Chief Magazine "Editor-in-Chief" Janet Wilmoth

Janet Wilmoth isn’t just a Run-to-the-Curb Kid, she’s the one who I credit with planting a seed in my mind as to the importance of storytelling in the fire service.

This Wednesday night — February 9th, she gets to tell her side of the story.

Click here for the details of: Not Just a Daddy’s Girl! and listen in to Firefighter Storytellers on the FirefighterNetcast Radio Network.

Stop back on Wednesday night at 9pm and you can listen to the show here.

Mourning the Loss of a Run-to-the-Curb Kid

I didn’t know Chief Auch personally but I am certainly aware of his dedication to his city, the fire service and the instructors’ conference his city has hosted for so long. The following is provided and reprinted courtesy of my good friend Chief Bobby Halton. We share in their loss as we honor Steve’s story:

We Mourn the Loss

Indianapolis Battalion Chief Steven F. Auch, age 56

The staff of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) is sad to report the passing of Battalion Chief Steven F. Auch, age 56, of the Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department (IFD).

Steve was appointed to the IFD in 1978, and his assignments included Station 21, Engine 12, and Engine 11. In 1986, he was promoted to lieutenant. He served in Rescue 19, Rescue 2, Battalion 2 aide, and EMS duty officer until his promotion to captain in 1999. He served on Medic Squad 10, Engine 11, and as chief of EMS. In 2003, Steve was promoted to battalion chief. He has been Battalion Chief 11 A since 2007.

Steve was married to his beloved wife Donna Auch for 12 1/2 years. He was an extraordinary “father” to her three children, Brad, Laura, and Heather. He always asked his grandchildren, “Who’s a genius?” to which they would reply, “Pop-Pop Steve” and give him the thumbs up. When they heard he died, one of his grandchildren said, “God must have needed a genius.” Read more of this post

Fire Nerd: Pat Coghlan

Pat Coghlan reflects on the propane explosion that occurred on December 27, 1983 in downtown Buffalo - claiming the lives of five Buffalo Firefighters

Meet retired Lt. Patrick Coghlan from the Buffalo Fire Department, a 34-year veteran of the fire service. Like many firefighters, Patty, as his friends refer to him, is a real character with a bit of a crusty exterior — but when you peel that away — you find a big guy with an even bigger heart and a very special fondness for telling stories and preserving the rich history of the fire service.

A self-proclaimed “nerd” for the fire service (a real “two-hander” as he says), Pat is the Vice President of the Buffalo Fire Historical Society and a hoarder of fire memorabilia. A buff’s buff, Pat has passed down his love for the fire service to his daughter Margaret, the museum’s secretary.

Pat Coghlan is the son of a Buffalo firefighter and a nurse. Like me, he kept a journal of the calls he responded to – except his log starts even before he was a firefighter, chronicling fires and calls that he buffed and took photos at. He buffed 210 runs in 1964 alone.

Appointed to the Buffalo Fire Department in October 1965, his class was the last class appointed for the creation of a new company: Ladder 16. Fresh out of the academy, Pat was first assigned at Ladder 3 on Spring Street where he served as a tiller man. He served as the driver for Chief Harvey Supple from 1969 to 1976. From there he went to Engine 21 and was appointed lieutenant in 1978. Read more of this post