Our old friend and Brother Firefighter James Sorokac!
Jimmy gave us one hell of a tour back in December 2011 when we were there with the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation. We “hit it off” right from the start … it’s easy to tell that Jimmy is a fireman’s fireman.
I could talk for days about all the facilities at “The Rock” and Jimmy knew every one of em inside and out. The site is nothing short of amazing. They have an entire 3 story New York City Block built inside a massive structure … it’s 3 story buildings, built INSIDE another building to allow their members to train out of the weather! Flashover simulators, a subway mock up, multiple burn buildings, roof simulators, confined space, trench, passenger vehicle and even a bus fire simulator. You name it, they train on it and it can be found at “The Rock”.
Seeing how we’ve already had the tour, this time; Jimmy just told us a few stories and OHHH.. what stories this Brother can tell!
He was actually pretty excited about one in particular. You see, Jimmy services on their Ceremonial Unit. Actually, he’s their Senior member! Click HERE to learn more about the FDNY Ceremonial Unit ! Back at the 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Jimmy had the honor of ringing the bell. A photographer captured and unbelievable shot of James, at attention, hand on the bell, a tear on his cheek and the American flag in the foreground. I can’t describe the emotion I felt seeing the photo … or the emotion it captured.
Roberta Lerch, wife of Honorary Chief of Department Jack Lerch; created a painting from the photograph and presented it to the Ceremonial Unit. They in turn, presented it to the Commissioner and Chief of Department who then deemed it remain on display at the Training center.
That’s the picture hanging above Jimmy’s head (in the photo to the left).
They even had a nice write up and picture in WNYF (With New York Firefighters) 4th/2011.
He was VERY proud and should be ! Rhett and I have also heard rumors of that picture becoming a book cover very soon … VERY COOL !
Thanks again to Jimmy for spending a little time with us out at “The Rock”. Thanks also for the great stories and for caring enough to share them with us … nobody tells em like you do Brother!
So, we got to visit with the Chief of Training as well. Soon, we’d find ourselves in the Captain’s office. Usually, being in the Captain’s office isn’t a good thing but this time … IT WAS AWESOME!
Lt. Galiani has been wearing a MN8-FoxFire Helmet Band for a little while now. Can you see it?? Yea … it’s on there just burnt, blackened and smoked up a bit…. just a little bit.
We always get questions as to how the Helmet Bands hold up … this should leave no doubt in your mind.
Lt. Galiani did say he was a little concerned that it didn’t glow anymore but was very pleased that it hadn’t burned apart. It hadn’t even cracked up like the old inner tubes.
After a little soap and water, she began to clean up nicely… the Lt was impressed.
He just wasn’t aware that you can clean the Bands. So, for all of you out there wearing them ..YES …wash em. Soap and water will do well if washed regularly. If you’ve put em through the ringer as Lt Galiani has .. use something a little stronger .
We took this Band and presented Lt Galiani with a brand new one. Zach wanted to take this one back to the home office so he can show those who doubt just how well they hold up. This band has seen hundreds of fires and who knows how many heat cycles! FIREFIGHTER TESTED BABY!!
So, we left The Rock, and headed to Ground Zero. Of course we dropped in to visit our friends at Ten House and then grabbed a bite to eat. It had been a busy 2 days and we were BEAT so we headed back to the hotel.
Little did we know that Christine Sarracino would have to sneek out of the house to do so…. LOL (just kidding).
Christine fought late buses and trains to finally meet us.
We headed down to a local bar for a few beers and stories. She was very fun to hang out with.
She even made a special gift for each of us. I had mentioned in an earlier post that we were thinking of having a patch designed that Incorporated both Ironfiremen.com and the FireCritic logo. She designed one for us to consider, printed it out, framed it and added a special note with each! It was a GREAT gift!
Visit Fire Hooks Unlimited by clicking HERE
I carry a 6 foot “New York Hook” on every fire. It gives me reach and allows for plenty of leverage. I LOVE IT and these are the folks who make em!
Not only that, the owner; Bob Ferrell is a Retired FDNY Captain (who Retired as an “Acting” Battalion). Captain Ferrell is one of the most famous FDNY Captains and I call tell ya without a doubt … he’s a CAT BIRD!
You can read about some of his exploits in books such as Dennis Smith’s “Report from engine company 82” or “Fire Department of New York – The Bravest 1865-2000” by FF Paul Hashage .
Learn / read more about FDNY Captain Bob Ferrell by clicking HERE
Captain Ferrell is holding the 5 foot version of the tool I carry in the picture shown to the right.
This place was AMAZING .. Rhett, Zach and I were in heaven.
The only thing better than the tour was the Stories Captain Ferrell told ….OMG!
I could have sat and listened to him for days! It was a perfect ending to another great trip! That evening, Rhett and I turned the ol “Blog Mobile” (that’s Rhett’s mini-van) south and headed home.
So, that was our trip in a nut shell … even though it took me 3 posts to get it all out! I want to say THANK YOU again to everyone who supported our effort in raising money for the FDNY Rescue 2 Mayday Fund…. WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!
Thanks also for following the site and sticking with me through these last few lengthy posts. I’ve got to catch ya up on some events that have occurred since we got back home but I really wanted to get the New York trip complete before moving on. I’ve had my new Phenix Helmet blessed and we’re almost ready to put her into service. We also caught a little work today but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for all the updates.
Until I get back…. Stay SAFE and in House!