It’s author, ShilohPowell is a good friend.
Unfortunately, she got involved in a bad deal. I say that but it’s also difficult to explain and maybe even partly my fault.
She got involved with the wrong person…. that may be a more accurate statement. I did too and there was a time where I encouraged others to join me. I learned my lesson, made the separation and tried to warn everyone else ( read THIS post) . Shilo didn’t listen (along with many others) … I think she wishes she had.
Just as I was, she’s now afraid that others will fall for the same ruse …
She’s afraid that hard working, decent folk will continue to spend their hard earned money under the pretense of proceeds supporting firefighters. Instead of putting words in her mouth, I’ll let you read what she wrote. I will say that all you should have to do is look at how many and who the people are that have walked away from this organization feeling like something wasn’t right.
The Dissolution of the Officers Club
“I am about to share a very long, extremely difficult and personal journey. I feel responsibility to share my experience with those of you who have interest in the National Firefighters Endowment and The Officers Club. In order for it to matter though- you must first understand it. Please go read Willie’s blog post “Misplaced and or lost Trust”. Now that you have an idea of what this story is about- I’ll introduce myself. My name is Shiloh Powell. I am not a firefighter. I am a fire service advocate and the wife of a firefighter. I am devoted to giving back to our fire family and put a significant amount of energy into it. I have made some friendships on this journey which I am grateful for, and have had the opportunity to meet some of the people in the fire service who I look up to the most. I have been able to give back in many ways, and for this I am grateful.
I was a member of The Officers Club. I was one of the people that Willie refers to in his post “Misplaced and or lost Trust”. After everything that went down with the previous Advisory Board (Read Willie’s blog about Misplaced Trust) several members were nominated by the Officers Club Membership to be its new Board of Directors. In March of 2014, I was nominated and elected as President of the Board. The newly elected board and I took on the challenge ahead with enthusiasm and tenacity- We signed on to help rebuild trust in the Officers Club. In the end, however, we were never given the tools needed to get the job done. All of the very same questions that went unanswered while Willie, Rhett, Andrew and Bob were the advisory board- still have yet to be answered. However- if you ask Shane- to this day he will still hand out the same old line. Let me tell you- he is a very good actor. He plays the role of victim, plays innocent and excels at pretending to be someone he is not.
I have been affiliated with the Endowment for the last couple of years. I passionately poured my energy into fulfilling the mission of the ‘NFE’ and The Officers Club which was to ‘Put Life saving tools into the hands of first responders’. While in Detroit- I acted as the ‘Logistics Coordinator’. I had the privilege of working beside the Advisory Board and was put in charge of much of the directing that took place on our mission. No doubt we DID accomplish some great things! I was in Detroit and rode on the bus with everyone else. I walked into each firehouse and shook hands with Detroit’s bravest. I will forever treasure that experience and some of the friendships that were made that day. It was (will always be) one of my proudest moments!
I was also there to see Willie and the rest of the Advisory Board walk away from Shane, the NFE and the OC. But before they left- they warned me. Willie, Rhett, Bob and Andrew each told me that we (The new Officers Club Board of Directors) would only get empty promises from Shane. They warned me that we would never see a financial report or have visibility of any donations. No tax returns, audit results, nothing. But I didn’t listen.
Those that know me well- know me as the sort of person who has to be burned by the flame to believe that the fire is truly hot. I knew there was real discord and a lack of organization and detail among the leadership of the NFE and the OC. I was torn: Should I listen to the Board and walk away from the OC and the NFE with them? Or should I trust my gut and give Shane the benefit of the doubt? After all- we were at the tail end of the largest fundraising and outreach campaign that we had ever done. And we rocked it! I still had the afterglow of our monumental Detroit Mutual Aid Campaign in my heart. So- I ignored the guidance offered by the departed Advisory Board. I stayed.
I told Shane Parkins at the time that I decided to stay that he had my trust and my loyalty. But I also told him that I had high expectations of him. And in order to remodel The Officers Club- I was going to need his assurance. He promised to be forthright with me and to give me the tools I needed to take the OC to the next level. Again- I believed he would. I was wrong.
So while this pains me more than I can say to write this, I need to get it off my chest. It is a heavy burden to carry. Nobody likes to make difficult decisions. But at the end of the day- I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I have done the right thing: Last month- the Board of Directors and I walked away from the organization. Suffice it to say- that after months of the same smoke and mirrors that Willie, Rhett, Andrew and Bob were faced with- we had seen enough to know that something wasn’t right- and finally knew enough to understand that it never would be made so. (Remember- that all the while- the membership of the Officers Club INCLUDING the Board of Directors had STILL been making monthly donations to the National Firefighters Endowment. We (The Board of Directors) demanded to know how the donations were being spent and Shane Parkins refused to answer us. In 8 months as president of the Officers Club- I never saw a financial statement or a bank receipt. Where did all that money go, anyway?)
By unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, effective Tuesday November 4th, 2014, ‘The Officers Club’ separated entirely from the National Firefighters Endowment. The Separation was announced to the membership of The Officers Club.
Furthermore, on Wednesday November 5th, the Officers Club Board of Directors voted to DISSOLVE ‘The Officers Club’- immediately ceasing operations. This information was distributed to the membership of the Officers Club, and the decision was mutually supported by everyone who was active in The Officers Club. These are the donors who were making monthly donations to the National Firefighters Endowment through ‘The Officers Club’. The Officers Club at that time was made up of over 100 men and women throughout the fire service and fire service supporters throughout The United States.
Think about this:
While we all did not arrive at this agreement at the same time- collectively we all agreed:
-The Previous Advisory Board (Willie, Rhett, Andrew and Bob)
-The ‘new’ Board of Directors
-The Entire membership of more than 100 people that made up The Officers Club We agreed that it was in the best interest of our nation’s fire service to walk away from anything affiliated with Shane Parkins:
This should send a very strong message to anyone who would consider supporting the National Firefighters Endowment in the future. In addition to advising you against supporting the National Firefighters Endowment- I urge you to ‘Unlike’ the NFE Facebook page. This fact of the matter is that the more followers he has on his page- the bigger his over inflated ego will become.
The nature of social networking is that he picks up “Likes” as he goes- if you ‘like’ his page and ‘like’ his posts- he will reach a larger audience and will have that much more opportunity to take advantage of the next good hearted person who wants to ‘donate to a good cause’, or ‘put lifesaving tools in the hands of our first responders’.
If you need proof for yourself that the NFE is not what it appears- this should do it: I have seen several new t-shirt campaigns launched by the National Firefighters Endowment via Teespring. On December 12th- I saw a new t-shirt campaign: “San Francisco Fire 49 Engine”. This was one of three I have seen Shane Parkins launch since we dissolved the Officers Club.
It saddens me to see a fundraising campaign launched under the National Firefighters Endowment name- knowing that there is no financial accountability.
It seems wrong to let this go on without challenging it- so I asked a question. I asked: “Anyone wonder who is making money off of these shirts besides me?” When Shane Parkins responded (The National Firefighters Endowment) and I read his comment- my jaw flew open. I attempted to reply to his sarcastic and arrogant reply- however I was unable to because Shane immediately deleted the comment. He deleted the comments and removed my ability to comment on any of the posts or comments made by the National Firefighters Endowment Face book page. Here is a screenshot of the question I asked and his reply:
Then- the next day- I looked to see is the t-shirt campaign was still active. It is. Shane has once again shown his character. He has revised the details of the shirt which include a diatribe of sarcasm and mockery as shown here:
It is agonizingly clear that Shane can’t let go of this. This was his dream- so I understand that. But it is not what it should be. He is now using proceeds from t-shirt sales to support his family under the guise of helping first responders. He said it himself in black and white. You’ve seen it here. It is sad to me. He had great visions and I really believed we were going to achieve our mission and continue to help the fire service. Sadly though at this point- he is only hurting the fire service.
After this post- I am closing this chapter for good. I have a heart full of passion and energy to continue doing the right thing- for the benefit of a safer fire service and a stronger sense of brotherhood. I will continue to follow my passion and help those that I can.
I owe a debt of gratitude to the ex Advisory Board, the ex Board of Directors and The ex members of the Officers Club that I can never repay. In you I have seen the true spirit of brotherhood and compassion. At the end of the day- we are all just people helping people. It is who we are. Thank you for trusting me to do the right thing and for supporting the decision to move on. I have learned so much from each of you. It was my honor and privilege to work beside you.
This too, shall pass. The fire service is a vital institution in our country and it will continue to strengthen regardless of the weak and selfish individuals who come and go along the way.
Thank you for your support. -Shiloh Powell”