A bunch of FOOLS

I posted last night on the 2 LODD’s (Line Of Duty Death) and funerals here in Virginia.

Again I’ll say that I truly feel as if both Brothers Weissman and Whitacre received a fine send off.

I was able to attend the Weissman service but was on duty yesterday during Whitacre’s Funeral. Both were well attended and those in attendance should be proud that our Brotherhood was well represented. Yes… our “Brotherhood”. These families got to see first hand over the past few days and week what all the “hype” and Brotherhood “talk” is about. They experienced it first hand. If you attended one of the services…. you did too.

I know I did. I did in several ways actually and have received several calls, e-mails, texts etc of the Brotherhood at work at both services.

I rode up to Alexandria on Thursday with two Brothers. Mike Elston (Lt. with Salem Fire/EMS) and Andrew Murray (Rookie firefighter at Station #1-B for Roanoke Fire/EMS). Mike pulled double duty by not only attending to pay his respects but by playing with the Pipes and Drums for both the Weissman funeral and wake. This was Murray’s first Fire Department Line Of Duty Death Funeral.

That was one of the places I found the “Brotherhood” at work. Andrew had read here on the site  that I would be attending and had extra room if anyone wanted a ride. He also read how I felt that every new (Rookie) member should attend a LODD  is possible.

I’m sure Andrew didn’t know what to expect. As it turned out, he stood in the cold and rain for several hours. He did not have a good view of the services and couldn’t hear everything that was said about the fallen. All of that didn’t matter …. HE WAS THERE.

Later, he messaged me how he was glad he attended. He said  “The funeral, oddly, was one of the best experiences of my life so far”.

A couple people have quoted or commented on something I said in last night’s post…

“We attend these services for the survivors. The fallen are already in a better place. You attend for the family. The wives (or husbands), children , parents etc as well as for their extended family…. the Brothers and Sisters of their Department. You attend to let them know (and see) that they are not alone, their grief is shared and their support system endless”. 

See that entire post by clicking HERE

I hope Andrew understands that now …. I think he does. I hope he will pass what he found along to other members. I bet he will and that my friends is Brotherhood.

I also mentioned in last night’s post that after the funeral, we ended up at Murphy’s Pub in “Old Town” Alexandria. The event was hosted by the Northern Virginia F.O.O.L.S .

For those of you who don’t know,  FOOLS stands for  Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society …. ( as in those of us who wear leather helmets).  They stand for a lot of what Rhett and I believe and strive to live by. In part, it says ….

“The Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society (FOOLS) is an organization that was started in 1995 by a group of Central Florida Firemen. This group, known today as the Founding Fools, had a passion for not only the camaraderie and brotherhood that is forged between firefighters, but the rich tradition and heritage of the Fire Service”.

Read the FOOLS International Mission Statement HERE

 Visit Northern Va. Fools HERE 

The Wake was also well attended and saturated in Brotherhood and cold beer!

It’s a much needed part of firefighter funerals.

It offers a chance for the members to gather somewhere away from the station, funeral, church or family’s home. It’s the chance and time for them to share their memories / stories and to “vent” their grief.

It’s where the fallen would want and expect to find us …. at an Irish Pub toasting the memory of our Brothers / Sisters. It’s where Josh Weissman would have been!

It was a GREAT event and I’d like to THANKS the Northern Va FOOLS once again for putting it on.


Like I said, It was very well attended. The Weissman family even made it out!

Paid, volunteer, rookie, veteran, Brother and Sister … I met em all !

This is where I learned about Josh. Hearing stories being told of how this member or that knew him.

I got to watch the slide show of Josh. I saw an everyday firefighter / medic. Home shots. Pictures at the beach…. on a cruise…. or at the station. Goofing off… dancing and drinking a beer. That’s where the reality sets in … Josh Weissman was no different than any of us.

Other than the “Josh stories” …. there was plenty more to discuss….

It was a building full of firefighters and beer after all …. LOL !

Ploitics, staffing, pay,  benifits etc… we solved all of the Fire Service’s problems that night.

Well …. maybe we didn’t solve em but we certainly realized that most of us are facing the same issues and fighting the same battles.

We “relate” to each other.

We share a bond that not many other professions can know … again I’ll say … Brotherhood.


Me, I mingled with em all. I think I talked to and spoke with most members there.

Some I approached…. others came to me.

The Sister with me pictured right came up to ask for her Fire Critic / Ironfiremen.com Brotherhood Chip.

She had met and remembered me and Rhett from the Greenbelt, Md 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. She was part of the medical team / staff.

For me, this is an honor very humbling and somewhat embarrassing. It’s hard for me to get used to folks coming up to and knowing me. I post so much about my life that anyone who follows the site (yea…both readers) knows what I am and have been doing. I’m honored that people take the time to notice, show interest and follow. The embarrassing part come in that Rhett and I meet so many people that I often times can’t remember their names.

Anyway, it was GREAT to see her again and AWESOME that of all those climbers, she remembered us. I proudly gave her the Chip.

Get your FireCritic / Ironfiremen.com Brotherhood Chip HERE 

Like always, I got a ton of conversations struck over and about my mustache.

I get the same questions comments …

“That’s the coolest fireman’s mustache I’ve ever seen !” …. Have you ever heard of Chief Billy Goldfeder?

“How do you eat with that thing?” … I don’t. I eat just like you… with my mouth and teeth.. LOL


“How long did it take you to grow that thing?” …. 43 years.

“I want one JUST LIKE THAT !” …. you can’t have THIS one but I will kiss you with it if you buy me a beer… LMAO

I see all kinds of variations as well.

I call the one pictured above left a “starter stache” ….

This one… to the right… I call a waxer.

I had a really good time meeting and talking with everyone. I felt at home and again …. this is what the Brotherhood is all about.

There were a few  highlights of the evening  for me …. 1st. The family attended.

2nd… the Pipes and Drums were asked not only to attend but to play…. AND PLAY THEY DID !

3rd. The family was there for our toast to Josh following the Pipes and Drums rendition of Amazing Grace. I shot a little video of it and included it in last night’s post. If you haven’t see it yet…. hit the link above… IT WAS AWESOME !

Special THANKS to the Northern Va FOOLS and all the members of the Pipes and Drums for one hell of a send off!

For those of you unable to attend, you missed something special.

I hope I never have to attend another but if I do, I will do my best to talk you into going with me. I hope you will bring a few Brothers and Sisters along as well.

It’s snowing pretty good right now and I’m back on duty tomorrow. I’ll try to get another post up detailing what happened yesterday while I was covering Rhett’s shift.

For those of you on duty tonight, pay some extra attention. Watch you footing. Throw a shovel on the tail board and a cold weather bag in the rig. Until I get back to ya …. stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines