If you didn’t attend FDIC 2014, you missed one HECK of an event!
As FDIC continues to grow, hopefully so do we (as individuals and the Fire Service as a whole).
I know that The Fire Critic (Rhett Fleitz) and I have and that made FDIC 2014 our best yet!
As good as it went this year, I know that we’ll return to make our FDIC 2015 experience even bigger and better and I’m already looking forward to and excited about it! To catch up on and read more about our FDIC 2014 experiences, click the links below ….
If you were at FDIC this year, I wonder if you noticed all the “youth” in attendance.
Rhett and I sure did. Back here at home, some of the guys even laugh and make fun of us (just not to our faces). They make comments about us going to these trade shows to “shake hands and kiss babies”.
Well guess what???? We do both of those things and a LOT more!
Engaging our youth is just as important to us as telling tales by the tail board with some of the crustiest old Jakes.
These young and potential members are our replacements …. the NEXT generation of Firefighters. Is it not our duty as Senior members to engage them in a positive manner? We think it is and try our best to do so with every opportunity given us!
At FDIC 2014, we were HONORED when Brother Corey Breese brought by the Greenfield (IL) FD Cadets!
This was a group of 13 High School Students enrolled in a firefighting program.
Corey wanted to bring them by to meet us. I think we were just as excited (if not more so) than they were.
We had a little notice but didn’t have anything “prepared” to talk about…. we just “shot from the hip”.
It wasn’t a big deal…. Rhett and I often speak unscripted and, once again; I think we delivered a positive message.
We were able to briefly touch on several topics. We spoke about what we consider to be the “staples” of the Fire Service… Brotherhood, Tradition, Pride, Honor and Respect.
We asked what their expectations were. What they wanted from the Fire Service. What they hoped to get out of FDIC.
We talked about taking in the experience of FDIC but reminded them NOT to get “tunnel vision” and key in on all the red lights and sirens, all the big fancy fire trucks, the cool tee-shirts etc. We reminded them that the TOP instructors from around the world was in that building. We invited them to stop these instructors, shake their hands and ask them questions.
We reminded them that beyond all the big red trucks, sirens etc was some of the latest technologies and innovations in the Fire Service (SCBAs, TICs, Turnout Gear etc). Technologies and innovations that THEY will be using when they enter our ranks. I think (and hope) they understood our message. THANKS AGAIN to Corey Breese for bringing them by.
Not all the “youth” we met were high school age.
Some were much younger but they too were absorbing what was hopefully a positive image of the Fire Service.
I’m not sure how many kids we met this year but it was several. We got photographs with most of them and remember them all.
We were able to talk with them for a minute or two and made sure each left with an Ironfiremen / FireCritic Challenge Coin or Patch.
Again, they seemed just as excited as we were!
These little fellas often times stand out in my mind more so than anyone else I meet throughout the week.
This year, however; one child in particular stood out more than the others.
Mychal is 10 years old and the son of Scott and Randi Scharf.
Scott is a Captain in DeSoto Missouri which is about 45 minutes South of St. Louis.
Scott grew up in New Jersey. He and Randi planned their wedding and a Honey Moon in New York City because she had never been.
The wedding date was October 2001 and their Honey Moon was booked at the World Trade Center Marriott.
Did ya catch the dates? 2001?
Well, obviously, the wedding and Honey Moon didn’t happen as planned due to the attacks on the WTC. They did go to the City but spent their time visiting firehouses and supporting the members of the FDNY.
A few years later, their son, Mychal Patrick Scharf was born.Did ya catch the name?
He was named after FDNY’s Father Mychal Judge and their most decorated member Captain Patrick “Paddy” Brown. Both members were murdered in the World Trade Center attacks.
Scott passed on his love of the Fire Service on to Mychal and he soon developed a love of his own.
At just 10 years old, Mychal Patrick has completed 5 NFFF Memorial Stair Climbs!
That’s AMAZING to me …. at just 10 years old, this kid already “GETS IT”!!!
He climbed again this year at FDIC. He carried the names of Father Judge and Paddy Brown … WHAT AN HONOR!
While at FDIC, Mychal wanted to meet as many firefighters as possible. He wanted to see and do as much as he could possibly take in. I think he accomplished his goal.
He stopped by both the Demers and Black Diamond booth to meet me and the Fire Critic.
He also made his way around the exhibits and class rooms where he got to meet some well known (famous) firefighters / Fire Service Leaders.
Every time we turned around, we spotted Mychal …. he was EVERYWHERE! He even helped Chief Billy Goldfeder run the auction at the NFFF Stop Drop and Rock & Roll event (We’ve never even gotten to do that)!!!
We invited Mychal (and his family) to our 2014 Firefighter Turnout Event on Friday night.
There were several sponsors set up at the event. We had just as many VIP areas as well. Beyond that, there was approx 850 people in attendance! It was a HUGE event and Mychal was right in the middle of it all!
Actually, I mean that literally. When the Renagade Pipes and Drums arrived, Mychal was right in the middle. Inside the circle …. standing beside Drum Major Bob Welch!
I don’t know if this has EVER happened. I’m not sure but I don’t think anyone is supposed to be inside that circle other than the Drum Majors. I’ve never seen it.
That’s another thing that makes Bobby Welch stand out as a TRUE Brother … we welcomed little Mychal Patrick inside that circle with open arms. He let him assist in leading the band through The Rakes of Mallow!
THE CROWD WENT WILD!!!!
How much of an impact do you think that simple gesture made on little Mychal’s life? What kind of impact (as a Fire Service member) have you made on the life of a child?
It’s not that difficult. It’s like Rhett and I told the kids from Greenfield. Look past all the glitz and glimmer. Find that place or person where you can make a positive impact (seen or unseen) and go for it! We even have a term for it … it’s called “Doing the right thing”!
View the complete album of pictures from the 2014 FireFirghter Turnout in the link below…..
Stay Safe and in House!