FDIC 2013 Ironfiremen & Fire Critic Style!


FDIC 2013 was a HUGE success!

Despite having to drive 8 hours in the pouring rain, we made it home safely. I hope everyone else did as well.

I’m worn out … mentally and physically. Spent some time with the Buckaroo and my beautiful bride before heading out to the hot tub for a little “unwind” time while thinking over everything we experienced this week.

Can you tell by the pic? You can take the fireman out of FDIC but you can’t take FDIC out of the fireman! LOL

What I mean by that is FDIC is so huge and all encompassing that there’s no way you can attend and not come away with something. A full week of training and Brotherhood shared by the absolute BEST in our business! I’ll share with ya a little of what I experienced and brought home …

Unfortunately, Rhett and I did not attend any of the training this year. Our schedule simply wouldn’t allow it.

This year, we represented 2 GREAT companies and friends of the Fire Service while working their booths on the exhibit floor.

Black Diamond Boots asked us to be in their booth this year and we couldn’t have been more pleased. Rhett and I are both big fans of Black Diamond and the X2 Boot. We wear them in our gear and have for years.

That’s what makes it easy for us to be in a booth like Black Diamonds (that and the “Booth Babes”) …. it’s a great product and we use it daily. We believe in it and can talk to potential buyers in an up front and honest manner.

When we’re standing there selling these boots, we are WEARING them. We wear them ALL DAY LONG … 3 days in a row! We work in them, we climb in them. We can do this because they are a great boot …. they fit well and they’re comfortable.

Would you trust a fire boot salesman wearing Nike tennis shoes? I didn’t think so. Anyway, we got to meet a lot of great Brothers and Sisters shopping for boots. We (Black Diamond) even gave a pair away each day. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to try on a pair. It was GREAT meeting you all. We know you’re gonna love this boot so be sure to visit their web site or find them on Face Book to locate your local dealer.

Black Diamond Boots Dealer locator     Black Diamond on Face Book

We only spent 4 hours with Black Diamond. The rest of our time on the floor was spent with Zach Green in the MN8 FoxFire  booth.

Rhett and I have been part of the FoxFire Family for several years now. We’re a natural fit!

It’s another product that we use every day on the job. It’s a product geared toward firefighter safety and accountability …. AND IT WORKS!

By firefighters for firefighters … who understands us better?

This year was VERY exciting for Zach and our team as we unveiled several NEW PRODUCTS at the show. One of those products is a SCBA Identifier Tag. Another GREAT “Illuminating” product to aid us in visibility and accountability.

We also had our good friends from Box Alarm Leather in the booth to help promote our Illuminating Radio Straps.

That’s right …. made right here in the USA by Box Alarm Leather,  they come with a lifetime warranty and THEY GLOW!

Rhett and I have been big fans of Box Alarm for years as well. GREAT quality with quick and reliable service. They are the company who made our custom fronts as well.

You can purchase the Radio Strap, a universal radio case and anti-sway strap as a complete kit or purchase them separately (they ALL “Illuminate”!!!). Be sure to visit these links to learn more and order yours today!

Find MN8 FoxFire on the Web  or on Face Book

Find Box Alarm on the Web or on Face Book

I guess I should back up just a little an say that we arrived to FDIC on Wednesday.

We parked the “Blog Mobile”, ran our bags up to the room and headed out to the F.O.O.L.S Bash.

The Bash is ALWAYS a good time and we haven’t missed one yet!

The only thing we enjoy more than meeting all the Brothers and Sisters at the Bash is when the Pipes and Drums start to play!

I posted a short video of them playing in a previous post this week … CLICK HERE to see it.

Like I mentioned above, beyond the training events at FDIC, there are PLENTY of “Brotherhood” related events.

Another one that we NEVER miss is the Stop Drop and Rock and Roll event put on to benefit the NFFF (National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation) .

It’s a GREAT event!  Over the past ten years, Stop, Drop, Rock ‘n’ Roll has played an important part in helping us honor America’s fallen firefighters. It is a chance for firefighters to give back to the fire service and have fun at the same time. Through a small donation at the door you have all helped the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation honor and support the families of firefighters who have died in the line of duty.”

This years entertainment was none other than Darryl Worley and he did ONE HELL OF A JOB!

He played acoustic and sounded GREAT and even took the time to sign autographs and pose for pictures afterwards. He ended the show with one of his hits, “Have you forgotten?”

The only thing better than listening to Darryl sing was getting to dance to his music with the CEO of Phenix Helmets, Nicole Clesceri ! I’m not sure of the final numbers but I think the auction went ok as well this year. I do know that everyone in attendance had a good time and we can only hope we raised a LOT of money for the NFFF and our surviving families.

Another event we attended was the Fire Rescue, Fire / EMS Blog Network and Firefighter Nation “Meet Up”.

For those of you who don’t know, Rhett, Dave Statter and I (along with SEVERAL others) have our sites hosted by the Fire / EMS Blog Network. The Network is FULL of many great writers providing us all with a variety of resources related to the job.

Fire Rescue Magazine Editor in Chief, Tim Sendelbach recognized several of our writers  for their contributions this year. I was honored to have been one of those recognized. It was totally unexpected … I was humbled and HONORED.

Afterwards, we headed over to dinner with our MN8 FoxFire family.

Every year at FDIC, Zach treats the team to dinner on Friday night.

It amazed me to think back over the past few years and realize just how much (and quickly) our team / family has grown.

Maybe that explains why Zach and MN8 FoxFire was presented  the Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award earlier this month.  This year, there were at least 20 people at our dinner!  next year, we just may have to rent out the entire building!

Speaking of renting out an entire Building …. later that evening, Rhett and I also hosted our very own “Meet-Up” at the Hard Rock Cafe and it too was a HUGE success!

WOW! There were 100-150 people who came out to share a few drinks and some Brotherhood with us. We have always wanted to do something like this but for one reason or another haven’t been able to pull it off.

Our good friend and Brother Andrew Catron, from the blog The Model City Firefighter took the lead for us and put the event together. We couldn’t have done it without him! Shane Parkins, another great friend, Brother and President of the National Firefighter’s Endowment was also a huge contributor in that he helped sponsor the event. We should also mention (and THANK) Rob Schield from Fire Cam and Chris McCorkle form Blackjack Flashlight Holders for providing some great gifts for us to give away at the event!

For me, beyond the attendance; there were several highlights of the evening. The first, was a special presentation made to me by Erin and Stephen Foster of Ayden’s Gifts .

“Our missions are to bring handmade memorials to those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. Our goal is to paint something for you to cherish for years to come! Whether it is a plate, mug or figurine!”

This presentation was totally unexpected and caught me off guard. HONORED and HUMBLED doesn’t even begin to define what (or how) I felt. I’ve spoken here on the site many times of late about showing and sharing emotions (despite the outer appearance of being “tough” firefighters) …. Erin and Stephen brought me to tears that night and it happened in front of a huge crowd.

Im still not quite sure what to say.

The quote above is from their site and as far as I’m concerned, they have succeeded in accomplishing their mission! Just look at the detail here.

It’s in Carolina Blue … Jackson’s favorite team / color. It has the Carolina logo.  The foot, to me; symbolizes all the “foot prints” Jackson left in my life and on my heart. The quote on the outer rim is from an Allison Krauss song that I posted about just a few weeks back in a post called “Positional Awareness … Where the Hell am I ??” .

PLEASE …. take the time to check out their site. Read the story of why they do what they do and look at some of their art work. Be sure to like and follow them as well.

Adyden’s Gifts Blog   Ayden’s Gifts on Face Book

Another highlight for the night was having FDNY’s Rescue 2 member Rob Wiedmann stop by.

You may remember Rob (and Firefighter Gersbeck) was seriously burned in a December 19, 2011 Crown Heights fire in Brooklyn, Ny. It was an unimaginable event that was caught on video.  Dave Statter still has it up over on Statter911.com  CLICK HERE for the video .

Rhett, Zach(MN8 FoxFire) and I teamed up to collect money for Rescue 2’s MayDay Fund which supported the families of Rob and James. Our reader support for the fund raiser was nothing short of amazing AMAZING and we soon hand delivered a check to Captain Flaherty and the members of rescue 2.

Read about it in a previous post of mine  “Money WELL Spent!” .

Rob actually dropped by our booth on the exhibit floor of FDIC. We said he simply wanted to stop by to say hello and thanks us once again for our efforts following his injury.

He also wanted to assure his gratitude was passed along to all of you who gave support (including thoughts, prayers etc).

Rob is a GREAT guy who for me, defines the meaning of HEART. I have a saying I use often … “You can’t teach heart” and Rob is a prime example.

His training and instinct played a huge role in getting him out of that building BUT … it was also “HEART”. Heart has kept him going throughout his healing process (28 months now with more surgeries scheduled). Heart drives him to continue to get out and promote the Fire Service and our Brotherhood. I’ll have more on “Heart” in an upcoming post ….
Rob was there with a few Brothers from Sons of the Flag Burn Foundation ,   Ryan “Birdman” Parrott, Zane, and Nathan.

You’re going to start hearing a lot about these guys and their efforts here on Ironfiremen.com in the future. We asked Ryan (the group’s founder) to say a few words at the Meet-Up and then we passed my boot around for their cause. We raised $730.00 in about 10 minutes! Be sure to check out the links below to learn more about these guys …

Sons of the Flag Web Site   Sons of the Flag on Face Book

Again I’ll add that what really “made” the meet-up was everyone who attended. We got (and continue to get) so many comments about how much we (Rhett and I) are doing for the Brotherhood. I explained to several of the folks there that night …. we didn’t do anything. We rented a room and bought some beer. YOU GUYS … you Brothers and Sisters are the ones who showed up. You’re the ones who sacrificed your time and made the decision to attend. YOU are the the ones who “made” the event …. THAT Brothers and Sisters was the display of Brotherhood that night! Thanks again for attending!

Rhett did a little “name dropping” and shared his views on our Meet-Up and FDIC in general over on the Fire Critic. He also has links to some great pictures … read that post in the link below

FDIC Wrap Up: The FireCritic and Ironfiremen Meetup

There is so much more I want to share about our Meet-Up but I think I’m going to work it into one of my next posts. All in all, FDIC was a huge success for us and we can’t wait until our next event.

Thanks to EVERYONE who took the time to come up and speak to us.  Be sure to follow us on Face Book to find more pictures and info on FDIC and more! Be sure to keep check back and THANKS for following …

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Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines