North Carolina Brotherhood

I’m back from Raleigh, NC where I attended the Wake County Firefighters Association’s Brotherhood Bash . It was another GREAT trip despite how it started.

To begin with, Rhett had to back out at the last minute so I was forced to travel alone. Now don’t panic … Rhett’s just fine. I stopped by the drug store before I left and picked him up some Monistat 7 …. he sould be just fine in a week or so (LMAO…just don’t tell him they make a Monistat 1..LOL).

I also messed up on the hotel. You see, Rhett or Zach always handles our accommodations ( we most always stay in a suite ). Since I was alone and on my own, I just looked up affordable hotels in the Raleigh area. I checked out the pictures and found something that seemed clean and affordable … I mean I was just going to be there for one night..right?

When I arrived, I knew I was in trouble. The hotel I choose was on Capital Blvd. and was located behind a “check cashing” store and a pawn shop. The “office” had hours of operation, a sliding window and a ton of video surveillance. Again, I figured, how bad can it be?

I had a few farm chores to accomplish before I left home, so I was in jeans, a button up shirt and my cowboy hat ( I obviously didn’t “fit in”..LOL). I was hot, tired and dirty. All I wanted was a tottie and shower before heading out for the Bash. After checking in, I get out of the car and I’m immediately approached by a young fella asking to borrow some money. I politely said no and went about my business.

There were a few steps up to a landing and my room was just down the way. On the way up, I noticed my new friend was following. When I got to my door and sat my bags down, I realized he now had a friend. Apparently, he (the friend) thought he knew me because he called me “Tex”. He also must have thought I was deaf because he asked if I hadn’t heard his friend needed some money.

How unthoughtful of me! I apologized for the inconvenience of them having to walk all the way to my room and paid the “friend”. Apparently, the original kid didn’t want his half of the payment and just up and ran off. Anyway, I went back to the vault office and got a refund on the room. I was lucky and found a nice room in the downtown area. I also got that tottie and shower I was after.


After cleaning up and jumping into my Alt Kilt, I headed around the corner to Napper Tandy’s  for the Wake County Firefighter’s Association’s 2nd Annual Brotherhood Bash.


The Brothers and Sisters in North Carolina really made me feel at home …. it’s obvious they “get it”.

The Brotherhood was EVERYWHERE. I met and talked to so many great folks. Some of them even recognized me from the site!

The beer was cold, they had a GREAT band plus, Pipe and Drums! Although I don’t believe they called themselves “renegades”, I do think that the player in attendance were from Pipe and Drum groups from all across the state. Whatever they call themselves, these Brothers and Sisters did an AWESOME job. To me, a Fire Department function just isn’t complete without the Pipes and Drums ….. I LOVE EM!

I wish I could remember the names of everyone I met but I can’t.  If you see yourself (or someone you know) and I didn’t name them, please “tag” the photo. Along those same lines, if you use a photo of me ( and we took a ton of em ) please “tag” me as well.

And, while we’re speaking of “tagging”, if you haven’t already, follow me on Face Book. We are almost at  3,000 “likes” !

Follow Ironfiremen on Face Book .. click HERE

One of the things Rhett and love the most about these type of events is getting to talk with Brothers and Sisters from all across the Country. It really seems like we all share the same problems / issues. It’s not all bad either. I had a great conversation about “leadership” with a newly promoted Captain. We talked about how to EARN respect instead of demanding or expecting it. We talked about team building and securing the confidence of those you mean to lead. Of course strategy, tactics and training were also hot topics for the night.

I also had the honor of meeting Battalion Chief Don Crafford of the Thomasville Fire Department. That was another GREAT conversation. The Chief even says that he’ll be wearing an Alt Kilt at next years Expo … I can’t wait to take that picture!

The Chief was very impressed that I made the trip from Va just to attend their Bash. I explained to him that it’s simply part of what Rhett and I do, that the Brotherhood knows no boundaries…. there are no borders, County or  State lines.

He even tried to give me gas money! Obviously, I couldn’t accept it so we both decided to put it into “the hat” for the Bash. A GREAT conversation and an even better gesture! THANKS Chief .

I also got to spend some time with our good friend Jeff Harkey of

You guys may remember Jeff from a post of mine last August when I was going to kill him and Rhett. Take the time to read this one … you’ll laugh your ass off .

Read Funeral Arrangements for Rhett Fleitz and Jeff Harkey by clicking HERE

The Bash was held in conjunction with the South Atlantic Fire-Rescue Expo  and Jeff plays a huge role in putting it on. It looked like a GREAT show! Rhett and I will definitely be back next year …. maybe even teaching… we’ll see.

They showcased a lot of the Tradition, Honor and Pride held by the North Carolina Firefighters. They had several pieces of antique apparatus on hand including hand pumpers and steam engines. These were not old run down pieces either … they were immaculate and in working order! How do I know they worked??? THEY PUMPED EM! Yea … THEY PUMPED EM!

Dave Statter’s #1 Fan, Mike Legeros has some video of them in use on his Face Book page HERE . He also has some GREAT photo albums of the Expo and Bash in the links below …

Mike Legeros Expo 2012 album HERE

Mike Legeros Brotherhood Bash 2012 album HERE  

Again I’ll ask you to share any phots or video you might have of the Expo / Bash and I’ll do my best to get em up. I also want to say THANKS for the invite and all the Brotherhood shown to me while in Raleigh … it was an HONOR meeting each and every one of you!

Stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines