Tag Archives: tiger schmittendorf

Death, Taxes and the Brotherhood

Depew Hook & Ladder Co PatchDear Tiger:

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

News Article Offers Insight into Interesting Lives of Volunteer Firefighters

The Boys and their boys: Pat Davis and Zach, John Latimore and Kyle, Alex and I, and Bruce with Keegan on his lap.

The Boys and their boys: Pat Davis and Zach, John Latimore and Kyle, Alex and I, and Bruce with Keegan on his lap.

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

The Midnight Express

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.

DCFD IRON MIKE

JIM GUY: Just found this photo of Tiger (when he was just a cub) and Iron Mike- DCFD

A good friend and mentor of mine, Jim Guy just posted this photo of me that dates back almost 20 years.

I’ll never forget my first trip to Washington, DC and visiting the “Midnight Express” — home to 16 Engine, 3 Truck and the 6th Battalion Chief. Despite being my first trip, accompanied by Jim, Dave Sherman and Ric Dimpfl, they made me drive on the Beltway around DC — just perfect.
We were traveling as the management team of The Fire Fighter Newspaper, a publication just three years in existence at the time, to the annual National Fire & Emergency Services Congressional Caucus dinner hosted by the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI.org) at the famous Washington Hilton. As the dinner cost something like $250 a plate, we were honored to be the guests of Volunteer Firemens Insurance Services (VFIS.com). (Why the Washington Hilton is famous is fodder for the longer version of this story!) Read more of this post

The most important stories of all

6255977082_80989e7d2a_bTwo 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

Three Decades and One New Sidewalk.

I just came home from responding to my third second-alarm fire of the week in my role as Deputy Fire Coordinator in the Erie County Department of Emergency Services and have a narrow window of opportunity to write this post. I’ve got about two hours to shower, shave, eat and then report to a law enforcement detail I’m assigned to until 3am. So here goes:

Earlier today I responded to an EMS call for a person with chest pains. Being assigned as Fire/Rescue only, I don’t typically respond to a ton of house calls but I try to help out at my fair share. Today, I was glad I did.

Two of my all-time favorites at the fire station: Angelo Rizzuto and Denny Allen+ at a drill in 2010.

Upon returning to the station I went around to the administrative side of our building to check on the progress of our large parking lot paving project (large, as in square feet and dollars!). The contractors were just finishing the last section of new sidewalk around the perimeter of our assembly hall. Standing there with our President Geordie Sinclair and 53-year active member Angelo Rizzuto, I asked Geordie if I could write my initials in the corner of the concrete, just as I had done when the assembly hall and original sidewalk were built, in 1971.

I remember that event as if it were yesterday, recalling how the contractors paid a few of us neighborhood kids 25 or 50 cents a day to help them pick up materials and debris. I was 8-years old.

I thought that initialing the new sidewalk would only be appropriate, seeing as I’m still here, so many years later. It was then that Geordie reminded me that I have an important anniversary coming up this week. Read more of this post

#MyFireStory Runs-to-the-Curb @FireRescue1

FireRescue1 — a leading fire service news portal has caught on to the importance of storytelling with a Twitter based story-sharing campaign. Using the hashtag #myfirestory, @FireRescue1 entices firefighters to share their story of why they got started in our business with the chance of winning a free FireRescue1 t-shirt.

Taking great interest in their campaign that mirrors the motivation behind @RuntotheCurb, I shared my own story of how “It was in the cards” that I would become a firefighter.

@FireRescue1 retweeted my story, which I assume means that I won an awesome free t-shirt [#canneverhaveenoughfiretshirts], according to the contest rules on their web site.

That also means I’m in the running for the grand prize. I hope I win as it will offer me the opportunity to showcase the importance of storytelling in the fire service by having at www.RuntotheCurb.com and www.FirefighterStorytellers.com mentioned in their online newsletter.

Wish me luck!

Running to the Curb — and then the Engine!

I stumbled upon these videos while searching for another fire service related piece and thought they were cute. The first shows two twin boys running to the engine and gearing up for the big one while the second video shows an older boy waiting for his turn to really ride the big rig.

While neither video is certainly “professional grade,” they are both good reminders of what made each of us come to the fire service as Run-to-the-Curb kids and hopefully serve to motivate us to keep doing what we love to do.

I’m sure there are plenty more videos just like this out there on the web. Do you have a photo or video of your future firefighter gearing up to be a Run-to-the-Curb kid? We’d love to share it here.

Twins:

Gear Up:

Tremendous loss of a talented storyteller

Firefighter, Journalist Hal Bruno

Today, as we mourn the loss of fire service and journalistic leader Hal Bruno, it’s important to remember what an important part he was of our fire service, our communities and our world.

His depiction of the 1958 Our Lady of the Angels School fire that claimed 95 innocent lives is a classic example of his impact on our industry and the news world.

Rest in peace fine sir. You will be sorely missed but your contributions live on.

Salute to Veterans

UPDATED: 11/7/11
Please join me for a special Veterans Day tribute show on FirefighterStorytellers.com on Wednesday-November 9, 2011 at 9pm EST.

We’ll be joined by a few very special guests who are veterans of both the armed forces and the fire service — my favorite kind of two-hatter — including Vince Pupo Jr., a Marine, Fire Investigator and retired Fire Chief and Sheriffs Department Detective.

In addition to being a well-known fire service “character” — Vince has written and shared his experiences of his military service during the Vietnam War and now writes short stories and poems related to military life and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affecting veterans.

Tribute to Soldier/Volunteer Firefighter: SSG Matthew Kreiger

The show will be dedicated to Matt Kreiger, a fine young man from my volunteer fire company (Evans Center) who is recovering from being shot in the head while serving in Afghanistan earlier this year. We will also recognize the efforts of WNYHeroes.org — a local organization dedicated to elevating the status of our veterans from desperate back to decorated.

Please help us spread the news of this very special show by downloading, printing and distributing the show flyer and/or sharing a link on your Facebook page or other social network. We hope that you can join us.

Here’s a link to last year’s Veterans Day Special with Citizen-Soldier-Firefighgter Dan Frontera.

RttC Kids: Following in their Father’s Footsteps

These two Run-to-the-Curb kids are obviously destined to follow in their father’s footsteps as the children of Lt. John Shafer from Greencastle Indiana. John is the editor of the popular blog “Green Maltese” and is a rising star on the subject of building construction and firefighter safety. Six year old Jade refers to herself as Daddy’s “Little Fire Girl.”