Rhett (Lt Rhett Fleitz aka The Fire Critic) and I have been at this for a while now. We share common goals and a direction. We’ve always known that we would eventually “make it” somewhere … we just weren’t sure we’d end up exactly where we wanted to be (or if we even knew where that place was).

This past weekend, we reached a mile stone and I think we’ve found our place!

Rhett and I were honored to have been asked to speak at the Swoope Volunteer Fire Company’s Annual Awards Dinner. This was the first time Rhett and I have spoken together in a setting like this. It’s been a long time coming and, from the feed back we’ve received;  it appears we were a huge success.

Visit the Swoope Volunteer Fire Company on Face Book by clicking HERE

Our talk was basically “motivational” if you will. It was based on our core values .. Brotherhood, Pride, Honor, Respect and Tradition. We talk about these values a lot in our postings but also try to live by them in our day to day lives. We’ve never been quite sure who (if anyone) is listening.

For me, it’s sometimes difficult to articulate. For those of us who “get it”, it doesn’t need a lot of explaining. For others, I’m not sure how to make them understand. Rhett calls it “Owning the Job” while I’ve often used the phrase … wanting to “infect” you.

I think we were able to “infect” a few members in attendance Saturday night (actually, I know we did). With that said, for the most part; the members of the Swoope Volunteer Fire Company already “get it” .  They have a GREAT organization!

So, our talk; was almost a sort of validation as well. VALIDATION for them and us.

I had to have my shift covered. It was Rhett’s Birthday yet neither of us would have missed this opportunity. The opportunity to make and spread a positive image for the Fire Service. It’s worth missing something else for. It’s worth rearranging your schedule.  We’re passionate  about what we do and why we do it. We  hope to spread the feeling. We owe that to the men and women who built the Service we’ve always wanted to be a part of. This is by the way the GREATEST job in the world.

View The Fire Critic’s Face Book album for more pictures. Click HERE 

The members of the Swoope Volunteer Fire Company welcomed us with open arms… we felt very much at ease and “at home”. We were after all with our Brothers and Sisters.

Just being asked was an HONOR for us …later in the ceremony, we would find ourselves once again humbled.

Rhett and I were both presented with custom plaques … THEY WERE AWESOME!

I still don’t have the words to describe it. This is the 1st time I’ve ever received something like this from outside my own Department. THANK YOU!

I’ll go back to the word “validation”. It’s gestures like this that make it all worth while. Maybe …JUST MAYBE .. Rhett and I are on the right track?

Read Rhett’s post by clicking HERE

I have a lot more to say but I’m gonna cut myself short. I’m typing as Rhett is driving (piloting) us up to New York City. We will be meeting up with Zach Green from MN8-FoxFire and have a very busy (and hopefully productive) week scheduled.

I’m most excited to be heading back out to FDNY’s Rescue 2. We have a fantastic gift in a donation towards their Mayday Fund which will directly benefit firefighters Weidmann and Gersbeck. THANKS TO EVERYONE  who purchased product or donated directly to this great cause. Obviously, we will have a lot more detail and pictures for ya over the next few days…. keep a check on both sites for updates.

Until we get back … stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines