Amazing Grace… FDIC 2014 was a HUGE success!


Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

FDIC 2014 is “in the books” and for The Fire Critic (link) and myself, it was a HUGE success!

Every year, we try to “turn it up a notch” and make it bigger and better than the last. Sometimes, that means taking chances and, once again; we pulled it off!

It’s a long story so hang with me … I’ll give ya plenty of photos to keep ya interested along the way.

We arrived on Wednesday and went straight to a scheduled meeting at 3pm. As usual, we made the 7 hour drive packed nice and snugly in a mini-van (one of these days, we will have our own bus!). Andrew Catron of The Model City Firefighter (link) joined us again as well as first time attendee Preston Wiley from Valley Of The Fools (link). There’s a reason why we always bring Brothers and Sisters along with us to FDIC and I’ll explain that to you in a future post (it’s a cool story).

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

After our meeting, we checked in to our hotel and headed out for a quick dinner / meet and greet with our fellow bloggers from The First Arriving Network (link). From there, we made our way over to the FOOLS BASH.

This is an event at FDIC that we NEVER miss and also one that NEVER disappoints!

In trying to describe our love of the FOOLS (link), Rhett said it best … “What I love most about the FOOLS is that their are NO lines drawn in the sand. Training and Fellowship…it is as simple as that”.

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

That what the Bash is about as well. Although there is no training at the Indy Bash, there is plenty of fellowship (Brotherhood). There are however many FOOLS Chapters set up inside the tent selling shirts, coins, stickers etc to raise money for their training efforts back home.

And, how could I forget the pipes and drum?? I CAN’T.

Although there is always a live concert at the FOOLS BASH, the Pipes and Drums “steal the show”. They call themselves the “Renegades” because they’re made up of members from all across the Country. It’s hard to believe that these Brothers and Sisters don’t practice together on a regular basis …. they always preform flawlessly!

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

So I mentioned that Preston Wiley made the trip with us. Preston is the VP of the Chapter the Fire Critic and I belong to here in SW Virginia… Valley Of The Fools (link).

Our Chapter is new. We are only a few months old now but growing strong. Thanks to International President Rich Stack (who is pictured between me and Rhett in the first picture of this post) and The Indy Metro FOOLS, we were given the space to set up and sell some of our tee-shirts and challenge coins.

This allowed us to raise some money to help get us “on our feet” and going. Preston set up and ran the table. It was a huge success and we were able to sell quite a bit! Thanks to everyone who purchased from us. Send us a pic of you in the shirt or holding the coin and we’ll get it up here or over on The Fire Critic!

13861369154_28aa7e4920_zSomeone I haven’t mentioned yet is Matt Schimmel. You may remember reading about Matt in previous posts as he is with the KZOO FOOLS and has taken care of me and Rhett on more than one occasion.

This time, we took Matt along as our photographer. Most of the pictures you’ll see in this post were taken by him. He does GREAT work and having him took a lot of burden off of me and Rhett.

As the saying goes …. There’s nothing wrong with kissing another man as long as you love him and if you can’t tell by the photo, we LOVE this Brother… LMAO.

MORE FOOLS BASH pics from Schimmel HERE

FDIC Wrap-Up Part II – The Indy Metro FOOLS Brotherhood Bash (From The Fire Critic)

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Thursday, the exhibits were open and it was time for me and Rhett to “earn our keep”.

This is another part of FDIC that we simply love … walking the floor, working the booths and meeting Brothers and Sisters from all over the world!

We started off our morning by stopping in at the MN8 FoxFire Booth for our traditional picture.

I didn’t get to spend the amount of time that I usually do in their booth but they stayed PACKED anyway! Lori Mercer, from Firefighter (link) as well as The Fire Geezer (link) were also set up in the booth.

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

We moved on to spend the first part of the day working in the Black Diamond booth.

The Fire Critic and I have been working with Black Diamond for several years now. We have a great relationship!

Not only have we worked for and with them, we also wear their products. Even at shows where we are not in their booth, you’ll see us wearing their boot. As far as that goes, you can also find us wearing them every day on the job.

It’s the best damn fire boot on the market and that’s why we were in their booth!

Of course with models like Claudia and Mary sharing the space, it wasn’t a difficult decision….LOL

The booth was PACKED as always and once again Rhett and I enjoyed meeting all the Brothers and Sisters who stopped by to talk, try on a pair of the boots and / or to take a photo.

Black Diamond Web Site HERE 

Black Diamond on Face Book HERE

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

From there, we headed over to the Demers Ambulance (link) booth for the remainder of the day. Yea… I said AMBULANCE!

Demers Ambulance is a GREAT company who has been working for the past few months to get me and Rhett into their booth for FDIC 2014.

They are already world leaders in the ambulance industry and are now looking to focus on units designed specifically for “Fire Based EMS”.

The MXP-170 (pictured above right or found in more detail HERE)  is a fire-based unit they produced to display at FDIC. It was a GREAT looking unit!

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Here’s the thing….. the folks at Demers “GET IT”. They are wanting to get into the “Fire-Based EMS” industry and they were smart enough to ask and enlist the help, opinions and recommendations of those who will be using their units … FIREFIGHTERS!

That’s why they asked me and Rhett to be in their booth. They wanted us to see the quality built into their units. They wanted us to know why they were moving in the direction they are. They wanted us to understand the “gap” Demers is trying to fill in the ambulance industry. Then, they wanted us to share it with all of you.

They knew our “reach” and the trust many of you put into what we do and say so they elected us to represent you. It was an HONOR for us to work with these folks and even more so to be ale to introduce you to them. If you’ve never heard of Demers Ambulance, NOW YOU HAVE!

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth… it was PACKED!

I think everyone liked what they found in the MXP-170 as we didn’t receive a single negative comment.

Rhett and I were able to give a few demos as to what stood out to us. Then, the Demers staff was able to step in and answer the more detailed questions etc.

We also had the opportunity to meet and take several more photos with Brothers and Sisters from all across the world.

Again, it was an honor to have the opportunity and I’d like to once again THANK Demers for allowing us to have it.

Be sure to use the links below to learn more about Demers and the MXP-170 Fire-Based EMS Unit. Take the time to “like” and “Follow” them on Face Book but more so to leave a comment. If you took a picture with us in the Demers booth at FDIC, be sure to post it and “tag” us.

Demers Ambulance Web Site

Demers on Face Book

MORE photos from FDIC by Matt Schimmel

Friday photos from the booths at FDIC by Schimmel HERE

 FDIC Wrap-Up Part I – Making a Splash with Demers (from The Fire Critic)

ffturnout1 by Model City FirefighterSo Friday night was the “big night” for us. It was the night of our party … The 2014 Firefighter Turnout!

With over 850 in attendance, IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!

After a very successful party in 2013, this year; we teamed up with the likes of The first Arriving Network, Fire Cam, Black Diamond, Paratech, Amkus, TecGen, to make the 2014 Firefighter Turnout even bigger and better!

We had a little something for everyone and seemed to have kept our guests engaged throughout the event.

ffturnout4 by Model City FirefighterWe used a “casino night” theme with several tables set up inside the large venue!

Our gamblers were able to ‘cash in” the play money in exchange for raffle tickets.

We gave away THOUSANDS of dollars worth prizes / swag! I’m not sure of the final numbers yet but I believe it was something like around $8,000 worth of give-a-ways. Every 30 minutes we gave away tons of swag!

In addition, there was great music provided the entire night by our DJ / MC. Plenty of good food and cold beverages.  Several VIP areas, a photo booth and more!

1520732_10152155777487054_2466672876171596816_n Dave IannoneThe Renegade Pipes and Drums, along with the FDIC Color Guard presented “The Colors” and played us a few songs!

Special thanks to Bob Welch and The Renegades as well as to Glen Busch and the the FDIC Color Guard for making it out. It was one of the highlights of the night!

Matt Schimmel is still editing the pics from the party but I’ll include them in a follow up post as well as in an updated link in this one.

You can view some of the photos taken at the TecGen Photo Booth. You’ll find those pics by clicking HERE !

10176023_847574095259329_2500529747838947036_n Andrew CatronAs long as this post is getting, I still haven’t touched on everything.

We stopped by to visit many more booths that I want to tell ya about. We got some AWESOME new coats as well as several new challenge coins, patches etc.

We attended events such as the NFFF Stop, Drop and Rock & Roll concert and I haven’t even mentioned the 5k run or the NFFF 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. The Model City Firefighter, Andrew Catron was with us again and he completed BOTH!

Read the Model City Firefighter’s FDIC 2014 wrap-up, Part 1 and Part 2

Photo by Matt Schimmel

Photo by Matt Schimmel

So, look for a follow up post from me which will hopefully fill in all the gaps and share a few hundred more pics!

Again, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to come up and say hello, shake our hand and pose for pictures.

Thanks to everyone who supported and attended the 2014 Firefighter Turnout!

Thanks to The Renegades and the FDIC Color Guard.

Thanks  to Andrew and Preston for making the trip with us.

Thanks as well to Demers and Black Diamond for having us in their booth.

And last but not least, THANK YOU for following along (I know this was a long post). If you’re not already, please like and follow us on Face Book as well…. it’s the easiest way to keep up with on Face Book HERE

Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines