My posts have been few and far between lately and the ones that I have managed to get up have dealt with what Rhett and I call "Professional Health and Wellness". I tend to speak more about the mental health aspects of the topic because that's what has consumed my life for the past year.
Those of you who know me, or who have followed this site for any length of time know the struggles I've faced this year. You will also know that this Holiday season is a very difficult time for me. There are days here lately where I feel as if I'm slipping back into that dark place again but, thankfully; I've been able to catch myself and keep my head above water.
The honest answer is that it's been a huge struggle and I just haven't felt like writing. So,tonight; I'm going make myself sit here write something, even if it make no sense. I'm going to give ya a break by not talking about Mental Health / Wellness and try to catch ya up and fill ya in on a lot of the other things that's been going on around Ironfiremen.com World Headquarters.
If you haven't heard … the "2013 Fire Critic / Ironfiremen 12 Days of Christmas Give-away" has already started!
We are giving away 72 awesome prizes (worth THOUSANDS) over the 12 Days of Christmas! We have over 20 GREAT companies who donated to the event this year … it's our way of saying THANK YOU for the support! It's EASY and FREE to enter but best of all …. IT'S NOT TOO LATE!
Rhett, along with over 130 other members from our area shaved their heads in support of 4 year old Tyler Shannon last Sunday.
Tyler is the son of Trevor Shannon who is a member of our Department and works on my shift for our South Battalion. His son, Tyler; was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma (cancer of the eyes) and recently started Chemo treatments.
Knowing that little Tyler would soon loose his hair (and possibly already started) his dad decided to just shave both of their heads (supporting his son). When our members heard about it, they quickly organized "Trims For Tyler" (Face Book link) where they could shave their heads in an effort to support both Tyler and his entire family while bringing some much needed attention to childhood cancer and Tyler's battle.
It was refreshing to see the Brotherhood at work so openly and close to home.
Apparently, many others felt the same way. Rhett and I talk about it when we present / speak on "Improving Morale" or "Motivating Firefighters". The Brotherhood can be (and is) contagious!
The "Trims For Tyler" event "infected" more than just our Department / members…. it spread throughout the valley! It spread out into the public and even to places you'd never suspect … our own children!
There were a couple of our member's sons who got their heads shaved as well. Rhett's son, Preston (aka "Big P") was one of them! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
Everyone asked if I shaved my head. The answer is no … I didn't. Respecting his wishes, I haven't talked about it a lot but my Senior Firefighter (Boots) has been battling cancer himself for over a year now. The day of the event for Tyler, I was actually in Charlottesville, Va at UVA Medical Center with Boots as he started his Chemo.
Boots just finished up his first round and we should get to bring him home on Monday. We talked about Tyler, chemo and the associated hair loss and decided we will shave ours as soon as he (Boots) is well enough. SO … all you firefighter hat companies out there take notice … I WILL BE NEEDING A HAT VERY SOON! My head will surely look like one of John Daily's golf balls plus I'm liable to get frost bite! LOL
We were looking at an extended stay last week (10 days) and hotels in the area are expensive. In an effort to keep the cost down, I reached out to Robert Bragg, The Charlottesville IAFF- Local 2363 Secretary / Treasurer to see if they could help.
Within minutes, I had a bed secured at the Headquarters station which is just blocks away from the hospital.
When I arrived, I was met by L-2363 President Jess Rodzinka and Brother Scott "Sparky" Parkinson. These Brothers, along with Battalion Chief Hogsten; took excellent care of me! They had even included me in their meals. Again I found myself humbled in the presence of the Brotherhood at work! THANKS AGAIN BROTHERS …. I wont forget it!
You've all heard me talk (or have read) about Hunter Mosley here on Ironfiremen.com
He's fighting Cerebral Palsy and making great progress.
Hunter, who is also 4 years old; is what my good friend Tiger Schmittendorf would call a "Run to the curb Kid" (link) . He LOVES every aspect of our job … the firefighters, the rigs, the firehouses etc.
His dad started a group call "Team Hunter" (link) to raise support for Hunter and the daily battles he faces.
Now, Team Hunter will have their very own Challenge Coin.
The coins are available for pre-orders exclusively through First Due: Fire / EMS Gear (link) located in Salem, Va.
The coins look AWESOME and I can't wait to get mine!
Use the links above to check out Team Hunter as well as First Due and pre-order your coin today. The first Brother or Sister (out of town) to drop one on the bar in front of me will receive a special gift!
I'll catch ya up a little more tomorrow night. Rhett and I have a TON of exciting news coming up that I can't wait to share with ya. I hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday season. If you're not already, use the link below to "Like" and Follow ironfiremen.com on Face Book and be sure to send me some pics of your rig or firehouse decorated for Christmas.
Stay SAFE and in House!