Support Systems

You gotta give it to Victoria Secretions … they make pretty good “support systems”

Who would have ever thought that something as simple as a bra would and could have so many functions?

Not many women today could do without em. Not many would want to. Their a “tool” of sorts. The right one decreases back and shoulder pain (or knee pain for the gals with really long ones..LOL) while increasing appearance. They are a true “support system”.

Sadly, this post will not be about Victoria Secretions or their selection of Bras. I’m thinking of another “support system”… Firefighter support systems.

Yea… even America’s Bravest need a little help sometimes.

When you sit down and think about it, we actually have many. One of our biggest is “the brotherhood”  (each other). I just posted last week about our wives / girlfriends etc ( Behind Every Good Fireman ).  I want to talk about yet another support system that we have here in “The Noke”.  A bank.

Not just any bank mind ya … hell, there’s one of those on every corner. We have our own bank … a Credit Union. The Roanoke Virginia Federal Fireman’s Credit Union.

The idea and story is pretty cool. Back in 1935, our members were required to buy their own uniforms and gear. The cost was approximately $500 which even by today’s standards is a lot of money (especially when you just landed a job). The men got together, put their money “in the hat” and formed the Credit Union. They offer savings accounts and affordable loans to our members and surrounding family still today.

For years, the Credit Union was located inside a fire house and run by off duty members. A Credit Union “from” firemen, “for” firemen and run “by” firemen.

 LOOKING AFTER OUR OWN!  …. is there anything more important?

Sadly, and I guess like most anything; our Credit Union has seen a lot of change over the years. In my mind, not all of it has been positive.

Here just recently, the Credit Union was moved out of the fire station and for the first time that I can remember (and maybe in our history), we don’t have a fireman on the payroll. What’s the most disheartening about this news is that some members had this benchmark as a “goal”. They wanted it this way. They worked towards it, achieved it and now stand proud of their deeds. I understand some of the arguments but I remain on the “other side” of the fence. I wanted the CU in a firehouse and run by firemen.

It’s not all bad news though. We are still running and in operation. After a move to a “not so great” location, the CU has now landed as a tenant of our Union Hall ( IAFF Local 1132). This move and location is a “win / win” for our members.

Our “Board” remains composed of Firefighters but our manager and teller are not. The teller is the wife of a member while the manager has no connection to the Department but you’d never know it.

Susan Hensley started working for the CU several years ago as a teller while we were still located inside station #8. She quickly seen and fell captive to the brotherhood and comradery of the Fire service.

Yea, we are a relatively small department but even still, Susan knows us by name. It’s a true “personal touch” to banking. She understands our lives. In addition to once having been located inside a station, she still has members in and out of her office on a daily basis. We go in and always end up talking “department” and/or “station” business. The Credit Union is “the hub” … all information passes through or ends up there.

I was at the CU today and ran into  retired member Leroy Edwards. We sat for over an hour reminiscing and telling old stories.

When I got hired and was working out of Station #2-A, Leroy was the Lt. on the Engine. He was also the “ring leader” (or one of em anyway) of a lot of the shenanigans that went on in that house. I could tell “Leroy” and “Uncle Robbie” stories for days!

I hold a ton of great memories from that house as well as from those days and reflected for a moment today on how Lucky we are to have a place like the CU to “bump into” old friends and retired members again.

Not just that, but to have the Credit Union at all. Believe it or not, I am NOT a “people” person. There are certain things I simply don’t like to do and interacting with strangers while conducting my personal business is one of them. As always, Susan and our Credit Union made it easy for me today. She knows and understands ME and “handles” me accordingly (as I’m sure she does all members). She CARES …. about the CU and it’s members ..US.

She made today’s business “easy” for and on me and I appreciate that. The last thing those of us on the job need is more STRESS. I know you don’t hear it often or near enough but  THANK YOU SUSAN! You are a true “Support System” for our members !

I’m back on tomorrow (Friday) and will check in as soon as I can.

Until then, stay safe and in house!

Captain Wines