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Visionary or Ordinary with Vision

A shakeup happens periodically in every organization. Sometimes it divides and splits the group. Sometimes it unites not only the group but a community or State and Nation.
The EMS services in rural areas is new compared to other Emergency Services.Vienna Volunteer Fire Department formed the Rescue Squad portion of the department and this became the Vienna Fire Department. One mission for all members: Protect Life and Property. No matter the situation or the incident Vienna can respond and be of assistance.
The very act of suggesting medical and rescue response caused some shakeup. It also brought women into the department in roles other than Auxiliary. The next year they brought Cadets in to the department. Man was this the royal shakeup or What. Medical, Youth and Women all in an 18 month period.
This also came with the Chief change of 1974. Supported by many but not without some push back. Youth were treated as Adults and tightly controlled. Rescue met on a different night and ideas were hatched without some of the “pressure” that may have been applied otherwise.Traditions were challenged and many upheld but the changes would resonate for a quarter century and beyond.
The Vienna department was blessed to have hard working members and attracted many members of the community that had education and vision. Men mentored each other and pushed each other to learn and perform. They also pushed the youth of the department to learn the craft but also to live a descent honest life of service and do it with a zest for life. Those men taught us to join, save, and purchase a house and land and raise families. We learned savings including the retirement for Firefighters in NC. We learned to compare and get the best products to make us perform. Motorola,Waterous, Akron, Servus were names we depended on sometimes with our lives.
When it came to Rescue equipment and training we turned to the NC Department of Insurance. New training for the whole department. Ropes, rescue and extrication, and fire attack were requested and taught by State certified instructors. When it came time to purchase a Rescue Tool we learned about a spreadsheet and tables. Our Rescue membership were highly educated and needed to test and compare many tools. WE did demo for several manufacturers and chose Holmatro Rescue Tools. We then embarked on training for extrications by using the hand tools and power equipment in concert.
We started with a spreader. cutter, and rams, with air bags ,and come a longs. This was a great start but we chose ropes and hardware and lots of cribbing.

Cutter

Cutter

Spreaders

Spreaders

We kept training and Vienna had some automobile, and truck, and farm machinery extrications. We went to classes all over Forsyth county and State and even to the Georgia Extrication School! All around us we had departments buying Hurst. Our tools performed and rarely failed. Vienna members became some of the first to attend and attain the ART and BRT certifications. We started teaching the county schools for FF1&2 and Rescue. Several members team taught and we used the Holmatro Rescue tools. Conservatively since Vienna and Mt. Tabor merged in the 90’s and the call volume quadrupled the Holmatro cutter and spreader have responded to 2000  or more accidents andhave been used in over  200 exrications. Those same tools wee used to train members of the Vienna and Mt Tabor departments more than 100 times. The Forsyth County Certification School  rescue portion was taught by members of Vienna Mt. Tabor and Lewisville departments and that same Vienna spreader and cutters were used for more that 30 years. The spreader may have trained over a thousand students in extrication.
The membership and visionaries may never have realized the incredible impact of the decision to bring medical and rescue to Vienna. They certainly made a positive impact in my life and the safety of the motoring public. The decision to purchase the Holmatro tools  was huge. The incredible impact of one set of spreaders being used for training and extrication for such a long lifetime is magnificent. We have upgraded many times and still have our original representative. Steve Idol and Jane continue to bring safety and Extrication Excellence to departments all over North Carolina. Thanks All Y’all

Taking the Pulse

Travel is necessary and always amusing. Two trips over successive weekends and I am ready to stay home some. Can I? Noooo I am Campmaster for CRK and then we launch into outdoor food cooking for the masses.
My family and friends from Brookstown UMC, Vienna Civic Club, and Vienna Fire Department will be cooking fish, steaks, chicken, chicken stew, and BBQ. Man get the grills, cookers, smokers, roasters and ovens ready! We will slide into winter with full bellies at least.
The trip to Las Vegas was business and pleasure. I should have extended for a couple of days but the money needed for food drove me home. WE normally go conventions and have food provided for 3-4 days. We provided our own eats except for one Magnificent meal with Auto Supply Co. Thanks to Charlie and Co. we had a great meal and evening.
Mandalay Bay was the headquarters for Barrett-Jackson. We arrived on Thu. and went over to the arena and watched “a few” cars roll across the stage and get sold for thousands of dollars. We then went Sat to the Chevrolet fan experience- Test drove, Rode in a New Corvette, drifted in same, and wore ourselves out in row after row of the most beautiful vehicles in the world. Then we watched the auctions and a few cars go for over 100,000$.
Vienna Fd had Open House and launches into the fall and winter fire season with over a hundred hours of Public Education. Fire Danger is real and being fire safe and Alerted is Very Important. Vienna installs smoke detectors and teaches about EDITH. Each FF preaches and practices the Exit plan and works to teach family and friends. We then pick the FF, Rescue, Rookie, and Cadet of the Year. We get honored and Honor ourselves. We eat Steak and Party for fellowship and Celebration. We play hard because we work hard keeping our community safe.
Brookstown UMC kicked off the 1st annual Fish Fry using Roy Lewis frying machine… A 3×4 ft fish frying setup. We can keep up frying to the largest crowd. Tested and found magnificent. Frys and Hushpuppies and Fish.. Brookstown has a good fund raiser…Thanks for Bill and Jeffery, We kept 130 folks in fish n fixins… Chip Webb Served it all and washed it all and blistered up chopping slaw. Great job!
Chicken is the meat of choice for Late October… First a 100 half chicken and hotdog lunch. Then a Trunk or Treat at Brookstown UMC with a chicken stew…Gonna bone some Chicken… Yeah
Last we will cook BBQ and Fry some more Fish. Christmas time is coming an We may cook some Shoulders? who knows?
Service to others and Serving ourselves… Aprons or Bibs… We are feeding and being fed. Thanks for the Servers and those needing served.

One Church

I have been involved in many organizations in our community and across the state in my lifetime. The lifeblood of any large organization is the small group or groups. These groups provide the needed intimacy and closeness most desire. The large group provides the structure {often time-honored} , the funding vehicle , and Admin duties.
A disconnect between groups, or between the larger organization can change the direction and focus or just stagnate or destroy the group. Strong willed and strong-minded individuals can create change in the small groups and bring unity or anarchy.
I have been involved in several groups and received corporate level training. Vienna Fire Department, Brookstown UMC, Scout Troop 919, Wahissa Lodge #118, and ACDELCO and Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina all have provided, some with great cost and others with OJT, superb level of training.
Every organization I have been involved with have had recruitment and retention issues. Societal changes have changed the numbers and commitment for each in many different ways. Fire Departments across the country are looking for volunteers and career members.The training required and commitment needed has lowered the numbers we choose from . Those that can attain the hours and pass the tests have dropped. Added duties have added new small groups to the paradigm changing the hierarchy.
My Scout organization is under social pressure to include all and bowing to some changes both externally and internally. Managing the small groups called patrols are youth and Adults lead by example and give responsibility as they learn. Group dynamics change the week to week activities but the Larger group continues to provide the Focus and the Direction.
My church has struggled with community changes, aging , and small group dynamics. We worked ourselves into a caring, vibrant, and older church group. We added Sunday School classes, Youth leaders, and Church services. We have had to pay people to help keep up with the daily activities as our congregation gets more involved in other life’s challenges.
Advertising is now common to get membership and amenities to keep members will be the norm. The church used to be the community focus. Although the Church is not the Focus for some it is a very necessary group.
We added a Morning service and the traditional service lost a few and adding another small group changed the dynamics just by being formed. Subtle changes in group dynamics and changes in the economy forced some administrative changes and cutbacks.
The larger group The United Methodist Church was also struggling with membership and funding issues.
Excellent study and training allowed us to modify and adjust for some and see the others coming. The small groups of the church stepped up and began to drive the larger organization forward and as we worked together we were less separate.
Our focus has never diminished.. Bringing others to the Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ. We had to change both the big group and the small groups. All groups working together and having the same goals is the key. Transition leadership with mentors and give the responsibility and have Faith and the power of Prayer. We are blessed to be led by a trained pastoral minister. Motivation and Scripture coupled with communication for the new millennium will give us success

Brotherhood , Cheerfulness, Service

Wahissa Lodge #118 does the Vigil nomination, Candidate period, and Vigil weekend differently than many other Lodges in not just the SR-7B but nationally as well. Or so I have been told! I have only been in #118.
Honored to have the SR-7B Section Chief participate in the Vigil this Year. We met as I was leaving to get the required sleeping before driving when up overnight. I recognized the cheerfulness of service and zeal to enjoy our Vigil weekend. Honored to have The Chief visit and give his 110%.
Head Guides and Vigil Chief culminate the candidates experience in one long night. Brothers in service participate both in service and honor to the individual but also to the Lodge, and Camp, and Council.
The Vigil honor means so much to the individual that many really look forward to Vigil night again by helping or honoring candidates. As anything in Life you get out what you put into each and every opportunity and experience. Most come and give 110%. It is not unusual to see Members driven to exhaustion participating in the Vigil night.
A tremendous effort by all Lodge leadership and members is required to create the Vigil weekend. Documented and timed down to the minute and still there are very little details quietly handled to make each weekend a success. Individuals giving the most to make Wahissa’s Vigil as special and meaningful as it can be. The Brotherhood coming together to Honor a candidate and giving of themselves is Service.
When in positions of responsibility for events eventually you realize the Event is going according to plans and you can actually begin to enjoy and relax a bit. I saw our Vigil Chief do just that about 10pm. Whatever happened we had a contingency and we had already taken the worst and everyone was still moving forward safely to the required destiny.
I saw the same look of relief and happiness as our Section Chief began to really get into the Wahissa Vigil.I really did not know but when rain moved the first ceremony He sprang into action and became the thoughtful guide. I watched the smile on his face never diminish even as dark of night and physical exertion brought sweat and exhaustion.
Thanks yous and platitudes are not enough for all each of the individuals put into this weekend. Our candidates will never find out until they Give that 110% for a Brother.
Thanks for those just doing their jobs. Thanks for the extra responsibilities shouldered without question. Thanks for the extraordinary efforts many gave for our Newest Vigil Honor Members.Thanks for the leadership our Section has;and the Cheerful Service given to our Lodge and Newest Members.

Life Changes

Making a change in life is extremely difficult. Many years of repetition and just the busy life demands make for difficulty in making even the slightest changes. I have always heard that habits good or bad are hard to make stick. Easy to drop and hard to keep going. Sounds like an addiction…
I have to admit I am addicted to my life, the food I consume and adrenaline. Now my love of family, my God and my Country are a sweet addiction too. It was with the latter in mind that I started the significant change in my life.
55 was not a wakeup call but I was carrying too much weight and fat belly. I had stopped Sweet Tea and French Fries and nothing changed. 10 years ago and I lost 20 lbs and 2 waist inches… Now WTHeck?
A great community leader donated the exercise equipment to our Beloved Vienna Fire Department. It has only been used by our Staff until one of our Board members asked to use the equipment. Open to all members and FF we encourage 1 hour per day of exercise. Lip service and 10k of equipment sitting Idle. Don’t get me wrong it gets used with short blasts and then let idle again. Not what was expected- Full gym and training room covered in good intentions.
Leaders must lead . I was talking a great fitness and stopping heart attacks and doing nothing. I was out of hours and energy. I was full of excuses and getting a bigger belly the older I got. Jay Harmel is an old powerlifter. I lifted batteries and sledgehammers. Never weights. I would be outclassed but needed something.
Jay works nights and days and we could do 0700 or 1900hrs. We got morning for about 10 days and challenges at night. Being a strong community leader means night meetings. Morning is great and nights suck. I have missed several meetings so this young fledgling addiction can take hold. We mix some cardio and aerobic and anaerobic training. Jay is a wealth of weight training information. I have been joined by Mike and Mike and Brendan so far.
I am drinking more water, walking about 3/4 miles per day and lifting for 45 mins about 6 days out of the week. Has it all been great…. Noooo I have been as sore as ever…. My rotater cuff was mad for the first 8 weeks. Seeing body changes and standing more erect. Feeling sore for 2 months but knowing it will be helping. Fat belly shrinking but not gone. All good and if just a few of my FF follow maybe we can have #positivelife and stay alive a few extra years.
Looking for my replacement and hoping to live till we have Gen 3 in the Station… Thanks for the reading and see ya later

Fire and Ice

Opening a new chapter in life’s book is usually filled with excitement and joy. There can be pain and disappointment as well. Summer brings activity and the ability to be outside. Sometimes in the rush to get the gusto of life we rush passed some of the best moments of our lives. Savoring the moments and making a few new ones are what Life is all about! This summer has been about changing and living with the pain and enjoyment.
I had some great vacations and work has been steady and gratifying. I have seen my 2 sons, Jim and Paul ,turn from the children of their youth to Men ready to take on this world. We have had magnificent weather and with our Scout training have not really let the weather impact our lives. We actually embrace the daily conditions. I follow several WX Geeks on twitter and am a pretty good Amateur meteorologist myself.
Summer camp at Camp Raven Knob had a first this year. No ceremonies rained out! Wow all Wed. night and Brotherhood were completed for all 7 weeks of camp. Cool weather and low humidity was in place many weeks and our Thunderstorm chances were low. That all changed this week the middle of August.
I had felt a need to do more physical activity to control my weight and diet. I walked but not regularly and the opportunity to workout with Jay Harmel at my Vienna Fire Dept. came to me the week before we went to summer camp at CRK in July. We set a daily program of mornings at 7 and evening at 7 depending on the day or night work schedule of Jays Job as Water plant Operator.
WE got started and began a program of health maintenance and toning using walking, stretching and lifting weights. Having done little lifting over the years (NONE) I was introduced gently to weight lifting. We have a Smith Free weight machine and have tailored a workout that tones and strengthens many areas that have gone unused… These were what I call New Muscles!!!
With an old rotator cuff injury in my left shoulder I had been favoring that side of my body, left knee was also weak and needed help. Jay helped me stretch and work the muscle groups around both shoulder and knee. We targeted the large muscles and began to tone and actually improve the amount of movement I have in my knee. The fun began when we pushed the muscles to their limits and beyond.. Fire!
Vienna FD started a new season of outdoor training with July focus on Driving and Pumping. Short indoor information sessions and practical instruction coupled with the put it into practice practicals lead by our Lt.s and Capt.s have built our teams and communications as well as the muscle memory needed to retain the exercise.
August has been all Extrication with a Focus on our alternative fueled vehicles. Instructors and crew leaders learn as much as the students making the scenarios and evolutions as real and fun as possible. WE have been blessed to have great tools and techniques as well as many years of practical experience. Members from busier Departments and those with a 4 lane were able to impart their experience with more velocity and multiple accidents. August will finish with a guest instructor and scenarios designed to test our crews.
Putting it all into practice and keeping cool under Fire and Stress is Ice.. We are not there yet but are freezing little by little!

We Deliver

I live!
I can say I am truely living with great enthusiasm and effort. I am exercising and working and volunteering and really enjoying life. I am so proud of our little but Mighty Fire Department. Our Board and Corporation made the decision to be a full service Fire Department in 1974. A Rescue Squad was formed and the building expanded and modified and Vienna got an Advanced First aid class together. Couples and a few individuals joined. We were off and running calls. The call volume has increased and many of the couples have since stopped running calls. All firemen are now EMTs and we have a paid staff that helps us take care of our community.” Neighbors Helping Neighbors” is borrowed from the Old Richmond FD. We are there for all the pain and joys of needing help. Fire, Rescue , or EMS assistance, Vienna can do it all and if we cannot any of our neighbor departments will jump at the chance to come assist.
Politics, Regulations, Standards, and the complications of staying current, certified, and up to date give us a fit. We have found a way to work with our youth and make the job better and more appealing than the bad juju we sometimes have to see and experience.
That bad juju is what caused most of our couples to transition out of the rescue squad. That and the need to continue to improve and attain the EMT. We have looked death and terror in the eyes and for the most part stared it down. I have looked at fear in my patients eyes and seen death there too. I have held hands while loved ones past-on. I have given what almost all Fire Departments do everyday- Give Compassion. Been there Done that. I am proud of Vienna because when we look you in the Eye and say we can help…. WE DELIVER

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