Firefighter gatherings, a Priest and leaving the nest …

I started my day off yesterday by joining the Brothers and Sisters of the Salem Fire – EMS Department and IAFF Local 3478’s for their 1st Annual Retiree’s Breakfast.

It was a GREAT event and very well attended.

The retirees LOVE these types of events.

It gives them the opportunity to spend some time with and visit members that they once worked with but may not have seen in a while.

It also gives them the chance to interact with the Brothers and Sisters still on the job and lets them know that they are still a part of the Department (family).

There were a lot of young members from L-3478 working, cooking and serving …. I was impressed. It’s a true display of BROTHERHOOD.

I tell every young member I can that if they ever get the chance to sit down with a retiree and chat … DO IT. All you have to do is ask a simple question and sit back listen. They’ll talk for hours! The stories you’ll hear are priceless and in cases like this, are part of your history. I recently wrote a post about Fire Department History here on If you haven’t already, click the title below to read it ..

“Fire Department History … it’s where we came from”

I know there were plenty of stories flying around yesterday. The Brothers had a ton of old photos, books and even slide show to bring back some old memories.

We’ve done several of these types of breakfasts here in my Local (L-1132) over the years. Rhett actually came up with the idea several years back and we made it happen. The most memorable one for me was about 3 years back. We captured several pictures and even some video of Retired Captain Pete Price. He died just 3 days later. Rhett covered the event on in the link below…

IAFF Local 1132 Retirees Breakfast

Thanks to the Brothers and Sisters of Salem’s L-3478 for inviting me to be a part of their special event…. I wish you many more successful ones. WELL DONE!

Yesterday (last night) was also the date of my Local’s Annual Banquet. It’s always a GREAT time with plenty Brotherhood, eating, dancing and yea … drinking.

It’s kind of a formal event as in the men always clean up and dress nice while the gals wear jaw dropping dinner dresses, high heels etc. With that said, by 11pm most of the men’s ties are off and around their heads like sweat bands. I’ve even been to a few where the dresses were over their heads too …LMAO.

Anyway, I decided to do something a little different this year (can you believe it…ME do something different??). I thought about wearing one of my kilts.

I wasn’t sure how it’d go so I asked the question on my Face Book Fan Page. The response was overwhelming to wear it … and I did. Shirt and tie, kilt and Black Diamond X2 Boots!


I’m not certain but I’d bet that it was the first time a member has worn a kilt to a Local 1132 Banquet. I’ve got to tell ya … Rhett and I LOVE wearing our kilts. They’re a huge success everywhere we go.

The one I wore last night is new and came from Bunker Kilts. It’s an AWESOME kilt that looks, fits and feels great. Rhett and I will have a full review of the Bunker Kilts up soon over on our Firefighter Product Review site. We’ve already completed a review for our other kilt (Alt . See that review by clicking the link below ..

Fire Product / Alt Kilt review

I made it through the night and into work this morning. Today was our vacation sign up day where every member of the Battalion signs up for the vacation (days off) they will need for 2013.

Chief Adkins pulls all the Captains down to his office to assist with sign ups so I just took my entire crew. After the sign up was complete, we ate breakfast with the Brothers and Sisters from Station #5 and had a special guest.

Chief invited our Department Chaplin, Father Sandy Webb to stop by … we had a special surprise waiting.

The North Battalion (C-Shift) purchased a “Fire Department” Bible for Father Sandy. We even had his name printed on it.

Father Sandy always talks about how much we mean to him and we wanted to make sure that he knows how much he means to us.

Father Sandy is our first “real” Department Chaplin and I can’t imagine having one any better.

I’m not sure if we (or Father Sandy for that matter) knew exactly what his “duties” would be but I can tell ya that he’s far exceeded our expectations.

He’s always there when we need him … even when we don’t know that we do.

I’m his biggest fan and have posted about him on several occasions. Like the time I first met him click HERE . When he blessed my new helmet click HERE or when he arrived on scene just when all hell broke loose .. click HERE .

Father Sandy loved his gift and I’m sure it will be put to good use.

I’m not a good Christian nor do I push my (or any) religion on others. I will say that if your Department doesn’t have a Chaplin, IT SHOULD.  Father Sandy has been a great comfort.

I grabbed this picture by #5’s Christmas tree before we left.

Pictured from L-R (standing) Lt. Kenny Shelton, Capt. R.T. Flora, Father Sandy Webb, Chief Teddy Adkins, Lt. Rob Reid, FF James Gish, FF Randy Armbrister and Lt. Cortney Price (fill in from station #8). Kneeling L-R is FF Todd Harris, FF Travis Meador and FF Jason Anuszkiewicz .

Ok … and now for the BIG NEWS……  WE’RE LOOSING RANDY!

Yep, our favorite little Rookie Firefighter, Randy Armbrister is being transferred out. Tonight will be his last assigned here with us. Starting next cycle, Randy will be at Station #5 C-Shift.

He’s leaving “the nest” and we’re gonna miss him. Randy has been a joy to live and work with.

I’m also very proud of him. He’s accomplished a lot in just under a year and a half.

The ones of you who have followed the site for a while have watched Randy develop into a great young firefighter.

Although it saddens me, the move will be a good one for Randy. He’ll do well at #5 and will only be stronger, more experienced and better trained because of it.

I’m going to do a “stand alone” post on his leaving over 4-day break. I can’t wait to look back through all those posts and pictures. Be sure to keep checking back and look for it … it’s gonna be a good one!

Apparently the word about his move is out because the folks down around Station #5 were dancing in the streets this morning … here’s the video

LMAO .. ok, so I’ll get back with that post ASAP but until I do, stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines