Not too bad for "hell week" ….


We work 24 hour shifts and this week, we pulled Monday, Wednesday, Friday before starting our 4-day break this morning. I HATE THIS CYCLE….. and typically refer to it as "hell week".

As much as I hate Mon, Wed, Fri, I have to admit that this week wasn't so bad. To begin with, I've had a decent past couple of weeks personally and mentally. I'm slowly finding my way to a "new normal".

Click HERE to read a previous post "Searching for a New Normal"

It's also been a pretty good week as far as my writing / web site / blog is concerned in that I've actually been able to bang out a few posts. Despite being therapeutic for me, writing hasn't been easy of late.

Andre Kelley shirtSo Monday, I wrote a post titled "Heart" Click for the link) . Because of the Sons of the Flag (link), a couple of Brother firefighters had been on my mind and I wanted to tell ya about them.

The first was FDNY's Rescue 2 member Rob Weidmann and the other was Lt. Andre Kelley from the Lancaster Bureau of Fire in Lancaster, Pa. Both of these Brothers were severely burned in the line of duty and have displayed unbelievable courage and "HEART" in their recovery efforts.

Well yesterday, Rhett ( and I received one of the shirts that were made and sold to raise money and support for Lt. Kelley. This (pictured right) is the logo on the back of the shirt.

I have to tell ya even though I was not directly involved in the effort, I get an overwhelming sense of Pride in seeing Brothers and Sisters from across the Country pull together for a worthy cause. It's a sign … a glimmer of hope and reassurance that "the Brotherhood" is indeed alive and well. Having spoken with a member from Lancaster, I know that Lt Kelley continues to make great progress and is looking forward to returning to the job…. I can't wait to post THAT picture for ya!

ARFF simulator by KiddeOur middle day, Wednesday; was a heavy training day but we welcome those with open arms.

After having just spent several days in Nashville Tn (at the CMA's) with Kidde (link), it was pretty cool to come home and see another line of their products at work for us.

We spent the morning utilizing the Va Department of Fire Programs ARFF simulators.

Click HERE to read that post "Bringing in the Big Guns"

The remainder of the day was mostly "smells and bells" but it made for a good tour. What I didn't get to do in that post was thank Chief Peters and the ARFF crew for inviting us out. So here it is…. THANKS for having us out guys and for taking the time to work with us on something we don't get our hands on everyday.

WheezyYesterday (Friday) was a good day as well. We are a "Single Engine" house at Lucky #13 with 4 members assigned per shift. I have one firefighter off with an extended illness and the other out on vacation due to hunting season here in Va. 

We can (and do) run with a min of 3 on the Engine and because of my boys being off / out, we've needed a fill-in each day of the cycle. 

Yesterday, we had Travis Meador …. also known as "WHEEZY" from our "Melrose Misfits" days at Station #9.

Wheezy, and that entire crew; will always occupy a special place in my mind and heart. We were "squared away" and put in some solid work over the years. Of course we played as hard as we worked and that made it even more enjoyable. Wheezy was usually in the middle of all the shenanigans … or at least he was standing next to (and prodding) Tyrone…LMAO.

Step back in time for a moment and read a post from those days where I introduced "Wheezy" to our readers….

Click HERE to read "Busy day for the Southies and Meet our Members Part 3"

LMAO… you've GOT TO use that link above and see some of the pictures I used in the post….. man do I miss those days!

Rookie Randy returns to Station 13So we also had some training yesterday and in between had to do a little personnel swapping due to conflicting classes. Although he wasn't around for the "Melrose Misfits" days, I did swap Wheezy out for another one of my "lost boys"….

Rookie Randy got to come out and ride for a while yesterday!

Many of you will remember "Rookie Randy" from the pages right here on

He was assigned to us straight out of Rookie School and we pretty much documented everything he did between that time and the day he "left the nest". It was quite the adventure!

Click HERE to read a previous post "WTF!! Rookie Randy Leaving Lucky #13"

We also had several "civilian" visitors yesterday. Our doors are ALWAYS open and we LOVE IT when folks stop by for a visit!

Philip Hatter (Lil' beards from presents Captain Willie Wines Jr (of with a personalized, custom finger puppetAbout mid-morning, Philip Hatter from "Lil' Beards" (link) and (link) stopped by bearing gifts!.

The first gift was that he brought his two sons along with him. Like most young boys, Titus and Veke LOVE fire trucks and this was their chance to get to see one up close and VERY personal. ANYTIME you have a chance to make a positive impression / impact on a child … TAKE IT!

I'm not sure who has the most fun when we have kids in the station … us or them but I do know that everyone that visits #13-C will remember the day!

The 2nd gift Philip brought was my very own personalized and custom finger puppet! It looked JUST LIKE ME! …. my very own "mini-me" LMAO!

Philip is a huge fan / advocate of facial hair as well as puppet making. 

Lil Beard finger puppet of Captain Willie Wines Jr by Philip Hatter of thistledownpuppets comPhilip says ..."I combined my love of puppets with my enjoyment of beard growing  and created Lil' Beards, a place where the beard and mustache can be immortalized in a funny way… specifically with finger puppets. I plan to fill the shop with all kinds of puppets of famous bearded men through history, but my favorite aspect of the shop is my custom Lil Beard where I make finger puppet versions of clients' beards and staches. It's been quite a hit so far and I'm having the time of my life".

This little fella is AWESOME!!! Just look at the detail!

The fabric of the coat is actual PBI. The helmet is real leather! It has bourkes and  includes my #13 front as well as the MN8 FoxFire Helmet Band! I LOVE IT!!! 

Philip has some other pretty cool ones in his collection. I think my favorite one is "Si" from Duck Dynasty.

Check out some of Philips other creations by clicking HERE

More on Philip and by clicking HERE

Mandy Slish and Jon Monahen Latham FDLater in the shift (last night), Mandy Slish and Jon Monahen dropped by.

I met Mandy and Jon back in September when Rhett and I presented for the Capitol Region FOOLS in Albany, New York.

After our presentation, we visited several stations, one of which was the Latham FD where we met Mandy and Jon.

As it turns out, Jon has applied to work for our Department and is in town to participate in the CPAT (link) portion of our hiring process.

It was a great visit and I'm glad they stopped by.

I'm also proud in that although we never mention it directly, Rhett and I always represent our Department very well and in a professional manner. The highest compliment for us is when someone sees what were are doing and it influences them to want to work where we do. 

It's too bad that many of the Brothers and Sisters here don't (can't or wont) see the benefit in that (as well as exactly what and why we do what we do). It's sad (and I know why it happens) but, more times than not; we're often the butt of jokes and/or smart ass comments here at home.

The "word" got back to us just the other day where we were referred to as a "has been" and a "wanna be" …LMAO!

Now had that comment have came from someone whom we (or anyone else for that matter) respect, it may have hurt a little. In all honesty though, having came from a "never will be" ….. not so much!

Good luck to Jon and all the others participating in our hiring process and the CPAT today. Keep up to date with by following us on Face Book (use the link below and be sure to "Like" and "Get Notifications")

Follow on Face Book.. Click HERE!

Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines