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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

Life’s Transitions

The events of the last few months have been leading up to and culminating in our Beach Vacation. Working was a means to an end and even the fun stuff I do was to move us forward to Vacation. I will have 2 very different weeks off. The family beach vacation and Camp at Raven Knob.
No pampering for this crowd, We prepared every meal and cleaned the cooking area and each morning and afternoon we schlepped down to the beach and played in the ocean and chilled. We fought the intense sun and then the stupid tropical depression that became the Hurricane Arthur.
Family, Good times, Great food and of course “not at work” made this trip memorable… And Jim asking our girl Victoria Reid to marry him… Memories and a Transition
My second Vacation involved going to my Beloved Camp Raven Knob. I prepared with the T919 scouts and adults and loaded the trailers and made the 52 mile journey to Camp via Golden Corral. We got duly health checked and setup and made the 1 mile trek to the dining hall.
I had made the mistake {or had the good fortune} to start a morning workout regimen with Jay Harmel. I was sore and so was Jay… We thought we would work it out while at camp . Work we did- projects for the Ranger Dave and assist Chris with camp fires for Wednesday and oversee the youth Vigil enthusiasm. All was great and we had success in lighting the Happy Trail and building fires and getting enough wood split for the fires for the rest of the summer.
Those daily mile walks helped relieve some soreness and replaced some with new aches and pains. I realized I had almost walked out of my shoes. I was actually looking forward to the coming work weeks and Working out with Jay.
Life is about choices and not without some very intense pain. I am working off some extra food and lazy so I am excited to see what the next few months bring- More fire stuff and teach too… Looking for great stuff… See Yall

Fighting Back with The Smile…

Accusations, mistrust, expectations, and jealousy, coupled with envy are some powerful words and actions. The joy of a life lived and the good life I live is occasionally interrupted by issues. I am saying issues from stuff, people, and the interactive life I lead. I am a polarizing leader. Love or hate usually is the way folks react to my style and person as I have chosen to take a stand in life and how I live that life. I love to smile away most stuff hurled at me with words or deeds. I am not a real fighter. I can if pressed go on the offensive.
Accuse me, imply, trick, or undermine me and I will persevere. I may give just enough rope to hang. I may continue on the correct path knowing my faith and love will overcome. I may use the good and right to be my defense. However I can be offensive and will use the intelligence I possess to look to the future and put events and traps in place to catch and bring those not involved in the good and correct into line or out.
Wise men have told me and still tell me reputation is all we have. Organizations work everyday to put best practices into place to prevent any occurrences or implied suggestion of misjudgment or wrongdoing. Highly moral organizations and those individuals involved have a long way to fall if just accused of impropriety. That being said… Leadership of these groups need to stress the good life, great communications, and a very transparent structure. We cannot hide behind mirrors or walls. Transparency should be the direction and operating principals. Great communication and a clear direction compliments the operating principals. All working together for the same goal cuts down on issues and petty jealousy and envy. Trust in those being lead is also very important.
Accuse me, imply, or Lie, and I will deal with it in a clear and direct manner. Accuse my family and those I lead and I will defend and place my full backing of the individual or organization because we operate on the principals of trust, character, honesty and I have been shown that trust is valued and nurtured over time. I will also deal with personnel issues within the group.
Being prepared is how I live my life. I am prepared with knowledge, wisdom, and equipment for life’s challenges. I am also prepared in my eternal life through the peace and trust in God. I am prepared to Die and live eternally. My question is: Are You prepared to fight the battles of life for good and right? Are you ready for the dirt and filth that can be hurled at you and those you love? Can you smile knowing you can outlast the mean, unjust, and just plain stupid? Will you Fight for Right? Live your life in the upright and transparency required and avoid the pitfalls of greed, jealousy, and lust. I can and Do… Bring it if you dare!

Ridin the Tractor

Having the best friends in the world is amazing. Wayne and Doug are those kind of friends. If it needs digging or piped or concreted they can do it. We had a job to do involving digging and saving 1500 to 2000 dollars. Roberta’s mom had water standing over the septic system every time it rained. We changed the complete slope of the field behind the house and sloped the backyard out to the waterway we dug parially in the field and around the yard. .
I have some practical experience in the Ag Engineering field of my education. I have had to regrade almost every piece of land that I have owned. My little tractor is called Mighty mouse by Wayne… It is a 2530 John Deere with a front loader and belly mower and I have a box scrape that works miracles. I learned from my classes that a wide flat bottom waterway will handle most storm runoff and I have a 100 yr and 24 hr design I keep in my head.
We had to handle the drainage issue first and got finished up and had lots of dirt to move. Wayne had cut a ditch during the winter and I started working flat bottom and sides so we could mow it easily. I was moving dirt to the low spots and filling in the holes while the backhoe helped me out. Doug had used the transit and laser and we identified the high and low spots in the yard. A challenge was to keep the water from the field travelling around the house and not backing up and infiltrating the Septic field.
I got the waterway where I wanted it and started working on the back yard. I had a swale to contend with before I could get the water out of the yard into the new waterway.While I was doing this I was working the dirt left over from repairing the drainage issues. I was able to fill the box scrape and ride around smoothing and resurfacing . Wayne and Doug finished up and took off. I continued to work pulling the scrape and pushing and then walking the ditch-line and eyeing the line.
We had had some storms forecast and it boomed just north and we hurried before lunch. I was content to ride around and smooth and tweak waiting on the rain. I wanted to see enough rain and see what it did. Would it run off the backyard instead of standing and infiltrating the field? Would the waterway work? I finally got the rain and had to race the tractor to the shed. I ran to the garage and got the umbrella. I would check the ditch and backyard while it was raining. Worked Whoop Whoop


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