Retirements, Helmet give away and tornado relief


There are several retirements I want to mention today.

For those of you who didn’t know, yesterday was the last day on the job for FDNY’s Rescue 1 Captain Robert Morris.

Captain Morris came to work back on March 19, 1973 and “aged out” with 40 years on the job at the age of 65!

I’ve had the honor of meeting Captain Morris several times and there’s no doubt that he’s a fireman’s fireman. I’ve always said “you can’t teach heart” and Captain Morris is an example of that.

I hope he’s able to find some peace in his retirement. I wrote several times how firefighters such as Captain Morris have a difficult time “letting go” or stepping away from the job.

Read my previous post “We are all climbing” click HERE

I can only imagine the things this man has seen and done. Maybe he’ll take the time to sit down and write a book…. I hope so. I wanted to take a moment to congratulate and wish him well in retirement. He’s EARNED it! Related links and video below ….

From Backstep Firefighter “Not much more I could ask for” Click HERE

 New York Daily News

View more videos at:

There is another FDNY members retiring this week as well. The most Senior Fireman on the Job, Kenny Ruane is also “aging out” after 43 years of service.

Also serving in Manhattan, Fireman Ruane is retiring from Truck 16.

I’ve also had the honor of meeting Kenny.

Back in “the day” I often stayed at the Quarters of 39/16 and even had the privilege of marching with them in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade following 9/11.

It was evident that Kenny was the “go to guy” for the younger members. It was said that he never aspired for promotion because he LOVED being a fireman.

Combined, these two Brothers (including Captain Morris) equate to 83 years of service to the FDNY and the people of New York. The good news is that they feel as if they’re leaving the job “in good hands”. Congratulations and best wishes to Fireman Kenny Ruane as well…. he too has EARNED it!

Follow on Face Book. Click HERE

A little closer to home, I had the honor of presenting a retirement axe to Lt. Baron “Smurf” Gibson last week.

Smurf retired from the Roanoke Fire/EMS Department (Va) on June 20, 2012 with 28 years of service.

He didn’t attend the Union Banquet to receive his axe and asked if I would get it for him. I wanted to do something a little more formal or fancy but it didn’t work out.

Smurf has and always will be a close friend of mine. He was a “good Jake”.

He was instrumental in helping to spec a fleet of 1991 Gruman rigs the Department purchased. Many still say that they were the best rigs to work off of in the Department’s history (a couple are still in service as reserve pieces today).

For years, Smurf was the Department’s SCBA technician and he carried out that duty with a lot of PRIDE. He also helped to bring PPV and the triple lay hose load to the Department.

He worked for years as my dad’s Lt. out of station #6 on the Southside of town. I grew up in that house. When I made Lieutenant, I was assigned to #6 on C-shift, working opposite of Smurf.  What I will remember him most for is trading shifts with me so dad and I could work the same shift while my step mother fought cancer.

His career didn’t have the “story book ending” I’m sure he hoped for. He retired early but has become a better man because of it.

Read my previous post “Early Retirement” Click HERE

I was honored to have been able to hand him that axe … like the men mentioned above, he too EARNED it. Congratulations and best wishes Smurf …. I love ya Brother!

Photo by Nate Camfiord

OK …. so FREE HELMETS! Yea…. how cool is that?

Most of you know that Rhett and I wear Phenix helmets. We think they are the best helmet on the market and we prove it almost on a daily basis. Not only is the Helmet good, the company is made up of GREAT people as well.

The folks at Phenix have a genuine concern for firefighters and our safety. They truly understand words like TRADITION, PRIDE, HONOR and RESPECT.

Don’t believe me?? Get this…. To celebrate 40 years in business, Phenix teamed up with ESS and The Nation Firefighters Endowment to give away 40 helmets to a Department in need. They ran a photo / video contest on Face Book and narrowed their selection down to ten Departments. At FDIC this year, they announced the winner.

Wait…. they didn’t announce “a” winner, they announced 2 winners! Yea … there were two very deserving Departments in the finals and Phenix decided to outfit them both!

What’s even better is that they will be delivering them in person. On Saturday, July 13th Phenix will be at Wears Valley Fire Department in Sevierville, Tn. Then on Tuesday, July 16th, they will be at the Ozark fire Protection Districts Station #1 in Ozark, Mo.

The times and addresses are in the press release to the right (Click it to enlarge).

What other helmet company does this? NONE! I’d like to personally say “THANK YOU” to Phenix for their continued support of the Fire Service. If you’re not wearing a Phenix…. YOU SHOULD BE! I’ll add all the links you need … check em out.

Phenix Fire Helmet Web Site

Custom build and buy a Phenix helmet HERE.

Phenix on Face Book

National Firefighters Endowment

NFE on Face Book

ESS Eye Pro web site

ESS on Face Book

Link to the winning Video submission


Speaking of The National Firefighters Endowment, I will be heading out to Moore, Oklahoma in the morning on their behalf.

I’ll be meeting up with NFE President Shane Parkins and we will be delivering some much needed relief to our Brother and Sister firefighters down there who were affected by the EF5 Tornado that tore through Moore  back on May 20, 2013.

24 firefighters lost EVERYTHING and another 72 suffered significant loss. 

The NFE has teamed up with the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) to establish a fund dedicated to paying the insurance deductibles for these members. This was the best way we found to assure we could help as many firefighters (and their families) as possible and be assured the money was going where it needed to go.

We will be on the ground for 4 days and have a camera / video crew with us. We will tour the damage and visit with some of those affected. I will try to keep you updated as much as possible.

If you don’t know about or support the NFE (National firefighters Endowment) you SHOULD. It’s YOUR support that makes all our work possible.

Find out more by clicking HERE

Join the NFE’s “Officer Club” by clicking HERE

Thanks for following …. stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines