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Brothers from Other Mothers

We came together in this group… ? How we finish this sentence depends on the group. I am in many great groups and several foster relationships that make me feel like family. I love my co-workers several of which are family and With Richard and Billy we are brothers from other mothers.
My Scouting group brought me together with other scouts and we became family. My Troop now brought together a group of Dads that have become my Best Friends. We are constantly in touch through the Troop news or now Social media. We interact as scout Dads and then we move on. Our time together binds us forever. Scouting is timeless and a few have found ways to serve beyond the Troop level. This keeps us in touch and visiting our Favorite places. For Mac and a few others it’s those great outdoors. Camping as a means to its own end. Joy and beauty. Add a little pain and discomfort and its all worth it to see the Nature our God planned for us.
For a few others it is the Camp Raven Knob that is timeless. The place where God reached down and touched the Earth. We stay in touch and go work just to enjoy the serenity of a night’s camping on Our Reservation. We bonded with our Brothers and for my whole family its Wahissa 118. Scouting service and honor camping society lets us serve Scouting, The CRK, and the Youth. Brothers working with Brothers for the greater good.

If you follow my Blog at all you know that I write what is in my head at the time. I write to preserve history and my history and hopefully to save someone from some of the stupid mistakes I have made. I am writing today because I did get to say goodbye to one of my Brothers Tom Hardin. Tom had an accident and died as the result of his injuries. I learned so much about his family and his spirit from the funeral. Tom Loved God, Family, and his Country. He was a pig cooker. He fit right into our Scout family.
One of my other Scout Dad’s missed the notification and almost missed the funeral. We talked about the loss of a brother and how much we did not know. I am saddened by my loss and proud to have been in service to my fellow-man and My God with TOM
Love ya gonna miss Ya

Watch what you Say!!!

Life is on Autopilot…. Wonderful marriage, Home in magnificent community, and the best 2 jobs I will ever love. I am Fire Chief of Vienna Fire Department starting my 11th year as Chief and 41 serving my community. My for pay occupation is Auto mechanic. That too started for me 41 years ago. My arrangement for living is next door to the Shop and across the street from the Fire Department. Maybe too close for some but for me; I am able and willing to assist my community in many ways.
I am blessed to be able to articulate my thoughts and depending on the audience report on the outstanding performance of my Fire department or the Achievements of our Scout Troop 919. By the way I am an Eagle Scout from T919 and have 2 Eagle Scout Sons. I still am very active as Assistant Scoutmaster. I report to my Fire Department Corporation yearly as Chief. I report to my Church and to our Scout Troop yearly also and Vice-versa. All in all I get to keep up with hours donated and served. This is for the 50+ members of my Fire Department, The 300+ members of our Church, and the 50-75 members of our Scout Troop.
Recording and Calculating all the time, talents, and gifts received by the organizations is both time-consuming and interesting. Mandatory reporting has helped me with our Fire reports and Church. Scouting is harder to get a grip on but being involved and Committed for numerous years has helped me compile the data. Scouting and Fire Department each have been running upwards of 1100 hours/yr each by myself and several adults and youth that are active. Between the three organizations I have donated time equal to 1&1/2 FULL-TIME positions. I am also blessed to work about 2200 hrs/yr at Wilson’s Garage.
Vienna had finished off the recorded year 2014 with very few incidents with fire loss. The District has about .5 Billion property values and I think we only lost about 30,000$ in actual losses. We had almost 600 Fire, Rescue, and Medical calls in all of Vienna FD. WE assisted about 90 times and so out of 500 Calls we lost only 30k out of 1/2 Billion$. Amazing, Luck, Fortunate or Excellent Fire Prevention. Whatever it is I am all for it.
Now I get to being careful what you say! We started 2015 off by me Saying yes to the Chief position at Vienna, Board Chair at Brookstown UMC, and Chartered Organization Representative and Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 919. God, Family, and Community are large and in charge of my Life.
Next Vienna started out with 2 burn injury fires and several woods and grass fires. February has given us cold temperatures and snowfall. Exciting time ahead for all organizations but we started 2015 off with a bang… Here we go… Be careful what you wish for… and Watch what you say!!!

Blessed and Amazed

I am a part of many organizations and longevity fits into my lifestyle. I have been a member of the Vienna Fire Department and worked for my business Wilson’s Garage 40 years. In that time I have participated in Scouting for nearly 40 yrs, and attended many events for nearly 50 yrs.
The Piedmont Fire Expo held the 40th Anniversary show at Benton Convention Center. As a young fireman my mentors sent me to the first Seminar and I have continued every year since. I missed a few in college and started helping early on. I got onto the training committee in 1984 or 5 and have been helping load the buildings with trucks and tabletops since the middle 80’s.
Vendors and guests have been the backbone of one of the largest displays in the state. We have had top national and leading training available for the attendees to educate and inform as needed. Major incidents and motivational Speakers along with trends and basic info. When certification became the trend we held special certifications.
The Expo has changed and moved locations over the years. We have outgrown several venues. We currently can fill almost any floor space in the Winston-Salem Area. Attendees again this year had the chance to be more social. Tabletops and trucks on one floor. Breakout classes were well attended and a Keynote for the first time in 8 years challenged all departments attendance to remember Why we are Doing What we Do!
Men, Women, and Children are the reason we respond period. Not for the Service, Beautiful Trucks, Tradition, or Ego’s. We respond, Prevent, Educate, and investigate simply to Save the lives of those in our districts. We get it! Sometimes we need reminding and it takes getting out of our element. At home we are Hero’s! We are busy, service oriented , and very important to the community. Not having the big head but big fish in the little pond… Going to the Expo and walking among hundreds of heroes puts you in a different perspective. You become a big fish in the larger body of water. Maybe even walking among the leaders of the County, City , and State and this weekend National Fire Service we seem like a smaller hero. It is a feeling we all need at times. The ability to truly interact with Giants of our Fire Service is amazing. One on one time with Authors of the books and periodicals we read. Trainers with thousands of hours of time using and testing the tools of our trade are available. Finding how you match-up with knowledge and tactics and SOG’s is sometimes enlightening.
Blessed and Amazed at the evolution of our business and the Wonderful reinforcement of your own personal goals and levels of achievement. I get to walk among Giants of the Fire Service and Serve with Pride my Little Vienna Fire Department. Uplifted and reinforced to continue the weekly training and call volume is the What my Expo does.
Thanks to all who helped and planned and carried out the 40th Annual Piedmont Fire Expo!!!

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 670 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Strong Words, Opinions and Coping with loss

Smiling on the outside and struggling to keep from worrying about the insignificant little things that pop up everyday. I have a great amount to be very grateful for this season. Business was bleak in November and looking like Christmas was gonna be water and soda crackers. Prayers and customers will make a great turnaround every time.
I started reflecting on the seemingly copious amounts of death during the Holidays. My condolences for the losses of loved ones or the disappointment that comes with a failure or breakdown of someone you love. My #2 job as Fire Chief puts me in front of the community for good and bad. CPR, Bad Wrecks, Drunks and just plain luck caused many of the issues I got to respond to try to help. Moderate temperatures kept the fire calls from jumping but the medical side kept our crews running.
December brought much-needed customers to the repair shop and another chance to help out. Catastrophic failures are fewer on todays modern automobile. Mostly maintenance and small repairs. We had a few head scratchers but by and large we just keep those vehicles maintained and running.
Little problems and mounting issues can cause a loss of focus. Add the natural deaths that occur during seeming happy times and we get the woe is me syndrome. Next step is usually chemical or alcohol. That factor adds extreme circumstances. Suicide and wrecks by this group impact those not currently using but now hit with huge loss. Family just barely getting by crashed by drunks… Now they are out of the only automobile they had. Spiral down and without excellent support may just start the cycle over again.
Hard to watch and even harder to find a way to help . Frustrating for those of us that want to fix things with action.Sometimes just the offer to help is met with pride and no help is able to be given.
Blessed is my family and hope Ya’ll stay the same.

Proper Application of Force

Given the proper fulcrum and lever I can move anything. I have been taught and have taught that there is a time for finesse and the same opportunity for a big hammer. Working in 2 fields of skill is normal for a mechanic. The analytical and the mechanical skills are required for a speedy conclusion and repair. You first try to visualize the rational for the system in jeopardy and take what the owner says and piece it with your experience. The next step is estimating time and costs and options for both. Then finally put the wrenches to work.
Wrenching is a whole skill set in itself. Proper sizing, knowledge of the manufacturer, and proper application of Force and torque are required. Using the wrong type of wrench, improper size, or wrong brand can cause failure of the nut or bolt or set up the next mechanic. Honda fasteners are super tight and once broken turn easily by hand. Flare nut fittings are easy to get misshapen and rounded if you do not use a flare nut wrench. Tight is measured in Ft/LBs of torque. All fasteners when properly seated and tightened have a torque amount to reach. Wrong or Gorilla work will cause distress to the fastener and seizing the next time.
Technique of the mechanic is imperative. Using the proper lever, good solid dependable tools and the muscle needed for a steady pull or snap pull is required. My Uncle Sam was a smart man with numerous patents. He had a series of strokes that wracked his body but his mind was sharp. He used to joke about the PT guy named Wedge. We didn’t find out that was not his real name until after Sam’s death. You see A wedge is the simplest tool known to man!
Applying the muscle is many time futile without a little assistance and a force multiplier. Pulling and pushing require body position and a firm foundation. Striking an object requires another learning curve. This usually requires sweat equity and a few bruises. I was taught by the great Marvin Wilson that to properly apply the hammer, ax, or sledge you must first have your Ass behind you. Position of Power is a term I use frequently. Using the large muscles and not damaging the others and varying the motion keeps working longer.
The wheel, the ramp or wedge, and the lever are the simple tools my Uncle Sam was referring to. I found in my work as a farm hand and yard man the use of these tools very important to actually be able to work. I have been blessed to be a mechanic,Fireman, wood butcher, and handyman. I have used the ramp , lever and wedge. I have driven a wedge for wood and in auto extrication. I use the lever for wrenched and bolts. A torque wrench and variations of the torque wrench are extremely critical in precise fastening of engine components and other automotive applications.
Using force and having leverage is applied to words and actions not using tools. The use of leverage can influence how and what gets done. Force and leverage can be misused or made to put someone in a bad light. Wise use of leverage helps overcome many roadblocks to positive movements.Good deeds are leverage and can be used for improving relationships. Living the life of good and moral character will prevent someone having leverage or force that can be used against you.
Proper application of force requires tools, knowledge and patience. Whether it is mechanical or medical or intellectual practice and training is required. A mentor that allows the student to try and fail is also required. Thanks to my mentors and family I have had the training and practice necessary to use my leverage and apply the proper amount of Force.

We Help

We Help!   Written in 2001

Emergency service workers respond to thousands of emergencies every day. Each response makes the responder form thousands of thoughts and opinions as well as make hundreds of decisions. The decision process causes choices affecting the outcome of the emergency that are good, bad and unchanged. Each choice or decision is retained in the memory(s) of all responders, communicators, administrators, Drs and Family and friends.
I will attempt to analyze and examine from the volunteer fireman and Emt’s perspective the cumulative effect of decisions that affect the community and friends of each firefighter. These decisions affect each firefighter differently. Some responders work tirelessly year after year while others “burn out” after a short period of time. Stress of the response is too much from the moral standpoint for some firefighters. The communities “needs” are greater than the time available for some firefighters and Emt’s. The firefighter picks and chooses the calls to respond to and sometimes quits as a defense. What are we doing to ourselves when WE HELP?

I joined the fire department in the 70’s as a teenager. It was a natural extension of my upbringing to do something for others. I had already been trained in the basics of my moral and formative character by my church, Boy Scouts, community and parents. My neighbors and peers fathers were firefighters. I never really thought about it as helping others until many years later. The Fire department was just that, a place where we could go and do something exciting and dangerous, but still just the local volunteer fire department. As the years went by and I thought about a career the volunteer job took on a new significance. Firefighting for me was exciting, special, and fulfilling in ways I did not even know at the time.

Looking back I found that many of my decisions I made in my life have revolved around the Vienna Fire Department. I chose my career, place of residence, and even vacation times and locations all to maximize the time or opportunities available to the fire department. I drove with care because of the wrecks we had responded to, and the possibility of losing my status in the fire department if word of a ticket or worse were to make it back to the Chief. We dated with one ear on the radio and then pager. We consumed less alcohol so we could be ready if a call came. I still carry my turnout gear everywhere in response radius. This has gone on for 30 + years. My wife became an EMT and my children want to volunteer when they grow up. How have I been able to absorb and even thrive on the stress and others fall by the wayside or worse consume drugs and alcohol, get divorces and generally get used up by the services?

I have admired many members of my community and have asked for their input and ideas. Each member of emergency services has a perspective and outlook on life and this affects the effect of stress, grief, and shock on the member. Communication skills and social skills often seem to put the “outgoing” members in a better position than the membership that cannot talk or is ashamed of the feeling(s) they have. Sometimes we hesitate to talk about the bad calls when we need to open up. Other times we don’t need to expose too many of the responders to the gruesomeness of human nature.

How do we define the pressure that is applied to the emergency responder and what is the nature of the pressure. Pressure to perform is the first known stressor to the initial responder. Performance requirements are the training, response, and knowledge that are required to bring any emergency response to a safe and timely conclusion. This pressure is applied by the responder to themselves or by their officers if their performance is lower than expected. This pressure is totally stress if the knowledge or training is lacking and real world calls occur. This pressure can be completely removed through training and drills with confidence building techniques.

The next pressure is the pressure of duty to act and moral responsibilities. This can become a legal and moral quagmire. Clear standard procedures and knowledge of the current laws will help the responder to avoid the stress of making the decision dealing with resuscitation or not and the dilemma that comes with the odipus complex.
Making the responder realize the gravity of showing on a call that is beyond their capabilities is difficult in the early stages of the career. Overcoming the moral responsibilities and the letting go quandary is again training and clear procedures. The training required to become proficient can be time-consuming and longer than anticipated. Instant success and gratification are difficult to attain depending on the perspective of the outcome of the call. People die and lifesaving measures with advanced disease processes are not effective. This is a lifelong training process.


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