Stamina, Grit, Determination

Stamina, Grit, Determination

Vienna Fire Department is managed by the Chief Officers. Each Chief Level Officer has integrated responsibilities. My Assistant Chief Walter Beroth manages our combination department personnel and integrations with the Forsyth County FD.  Walter schedules the Full and part time staff. He makes sure the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly checkoffs are done promptly and efficiently. He manages his own business and family life while putting Vienna Fire and EMS response as a priority to serve his community. Walter was the Chief of Department for 15 years. He stepped down to further  his education, and participate very heavily in the GNCC motorcycle racing. Both of his young men have raced and excelled. Bolton is still racing and Alex had a magnificent career.

Strong church, community and family ties are the motivator behind the Grit and determination that Walter shows in every aspect of his life. He speaks with every employee about the commitment required to be Staff of a Combination department. He lives the physical aspect  with stamina and a history of interior firefighting. Walter has been found observing the firefighting effort for way longer that most can stretch their air bottles. He has the ability to turn every moment into a teachable moment.

Vienna has had a large number of fires that progressed or started in the attic. Using the tactics learned many years before Walt can assist each crew in getting with it up in that attic. Of course to be able to stretch the air, hold the hose, and fight the fire you must have stayed hydrated, done daily and weekly workouts,and  conditioned the body for the stress of fighting the heat and smoke. Preparation is the key.

At Vienna we are blessed to have members of all types and skills. We have many that work everyday in the heat and humidity. While Hot and tired all have listened and heed the need to stay hydrated. Getting water on the fireground is too late. You must be ready for that time when the coat and helmet go on and the Heat stress begins.

Walt is not the only Vienna Officer pushing grit and determination. We hold ourselves to a higher standard. Work-out, Work, Hydrate, Prepare the skill-set, Use the knowledge and Mentor our volunteers and Full time Fire Fighters. I am proud to see our guys standing calmly re-hydrating while others need to be told to remove gear and sit out because of dehydration.

Passing the Grit is tough. Watching those coming up from above is tough too. Teaching, Mentoring, and letting go is required to really make a FF. Responsibility is born from excelling at task and command levels jobs. Stay Fit to Stay in there. That where the rubber meets the Road.



Involved or Committed

Involved or Committed

100% is all you have. Sports talks about 110% . I have seen 150 or 200% in emergencies and special situations. I try to put my all into everything I am a part of. Over the Years the stuff has grown and compounded. Family x 3, Church, Business, Community, and physical self and Fun…

I have been involved, committed and an integral part of Fire and Rescue, Automotive repair, Church life , and community since I was a Youth. I have sat in on meetings, been a lively part,and lead those meetings. Together we have kept the organizations managed, motivated, and liquid. Fund raising has been a tremendous part of many of these organizations history. I have sold nearly everything imaginable. Food has been the best because we all EAT 3 times a Day…

Roberta has been committed since we started dating. I tricked her into marrying me. I failed to tell her she would work in a garage, become an EMT, and Boy Scout leader, Serve Thousands of Meals to everyone imaginable, and live with the Lasley boys… Her smile is ever present. Her magnificent attitude causes others to help when asked. Roberta is the spark plug behind all things Lasley at 6355 and 6395…

Roberta began putting together our “How did we do that?” manuals. Grocery lists, main helpers, food quantities and turnouts. We can now come up with an idea, find out quantities, who to serve and how long it took for logistics and setup/cleanup.  She of course is helped by Mom Rowena. They are most important to my Family and my sanity. We are a Family when we all get together. Vienna knows when we are away.

Love you Berta… Thanks

Father’s reflection


Surrounded by family, not smothered but wrapped in some loving arms. Camping with thousands is very intimate at times. Long walks on the beach, sitting n reflecting, and quiet time after all have gone to bed.

I am blessed with a Mom that let community men help raise me. My dad’s were many. To those still alive… JD Beroth, Bob May ,Tom Wright… Thanks. N I think you would be proud at your Grandsons n Family

Train up a child…. Proverbs… Thanks

That Feeling … Some may never Understand

That Feeling … Some may never Understand

There was nobody in 12 counties that did not know a Tornado was on the ground in Iredell, Davie, Yadkin, and Stokes counties. The system and Social media worked as planned. Devastation and Chaos spread through the 4 counties. Wx networks tracked the Tornados every move. Reporters sped to the source of the damage reports fast enough to warn others in adjacent counties.  Fire, Police, and EMS along with Emergency Management responded to help. Old fire dogs called in their locations in case of standby or Help Needed.

The urge to help your neighbor gets stronger as you gain experience. Proper knowledge and Equipment coupled with training causes even more readiness. Knowing past history or past experience when “All Hands were Working” makes it even harder to stay put and wait for the CAll.

The Storm had many busy. Wx folks were filled with the need to warn others. Especially after the storm reports started coming to the newsrooms. Many stopped what they were doing just to get ready. I personally got my house in order to have to leave. My family was getting together to Eat. Perfect timing. FF always leave during meals. I don’t know Why but thats when calls come in.

If you have answered the Call you know the pull to answer the next. Adrenaline junkies or just extremely valuable assets or cannon fodder it does not matter. We all get that FEELING.


Richard retired from the Forsyth County Fire Department. He had gotten married and was asked to stay home and comfort his New Wife when the Storms rolled through Vienna and Forsyth county.  He laughed as he told it … Ha He said “Honey I’m a Fireman and when it Storms we are always out in it”.  Truer words are never spoken. We are always out in it!

Vienna is blessed to have 2 brush trucks, multiple command level individuals, and very “wood” talented chainsaw masters. Down trees are not like any other wood that need cutting. Felling and sawing up trees is a simple task compared to the bent, twisted and pressure packed trees that fall on the roads. Asphalt waiting to kill the chain, power,cable,and phone lines add serious pressure to the simple task of cutting trees out of the road.

Clearing the road includes watching out for Traffic, More falling trees, the storm that caused the damage, and the tree(s) itself. The chain-sawyer and brush pullers have to work in harmony. Sometimes the obstacle prevents getting around even on foot . When that is the case we usually send someone around so traffic does not crash into us from that direction. We then can also work on two sides of the stuff. Trees, lines, vines, poison oak and ivy, piles of ice or snow all block the road. When its just a leaner or super large we call in DOT. Its magnificent to see the backhoe!!!

Storm Mode occurs once every 4-5 years. The term came into being because the Communications center receives more calls than they can dispatch. Usually it is a particular area of the county. Geographically departments share a common talk around channel put into use because the Emergency and Tactical channels get busy. Life safety emergencies are still dispatched on F1 and E1 but all Public service and non -life threatening are called into the stations. All stations set-up a call taker and dispatcher and divide into work crews. Call are received and handled according to priority.

We usually get a couple of  summer like storms each season and spring May storms roll through every Year. Just remember that there are Thousands of us out across the State when the Thunder Rolls. Working to save a life includes access to the areas of our district. Many are risking their lives so You will not be inconvenienced too long. Thanks for the support and as always- When you need help Call 911. Lots of Times you will be calling out a Firefighter into the Storm….



Vienna Fire Department is very blessed with excellent training and staff for responding to automobile accidents. Little district with big city call volumes in the 90’s and 2000’s. Vienna had a mutual aid agreements and eventually merged with Mt. Tabor VFD in the Early 90’s. Vienna was on its way to being a great Extrication resource for the Forsyth County area. Capt. and then Asst. Chief Dennis Reneau was relentless on training and equipping the “new squad”. Vienna was a pioneer in lighter and safer Rescue Equipment.

Holmatro equipment was purchased and the training began. I did not know the difference in the equipment until I started teaching the rescue section of FFI&II using both Rescue 721 and Lewisville’s Rescue 611. Lewisville has Hurst… IE The Jaws of Life tm. Vienna pursued the Holmatro brand and eventually also bought the same brand. Hundreds of students cycled through the rescue classes and Vienna benefitted by having multiple Instructors teaching but also all the classes were open to Vienna membership to come on extrication Saturday and practice and help guide students.Of course Rescue on the West side benefited from Instructors at Vienna, Old Richmond, Lewisville and Forbush. Putting those tools to work on cars, trucks,busses and farm equipment.

Experience is a fickle teaching tool. Great jobs and learning experiences are magnificent. Bad experiences and bad habits can produce good results. The Bad can be learned and used over and over until the time comes when something catastrophic occurs and someone is injured or killed. IE. Using tools without safety glasses. Glass may never get in your eye or a hydraulic hose may never burst but if YOU ALWAYS WEAR YOUR ISSUED SAFETY GLASSES you will be fine.

Vienna and Mt. Tabor combined to run over 1200 calls per year. This is more than twice as many as most volunteers and even staff can run. This is a learning experience in itself. Wrecks totaled about 10 percent of the calls. Pin-ins were a bi-weekly occurrence. Extrications come at all hours in all kinds of weather. For 10 years we went to wrecks all around the old MT. Tabor district and assisted in the Station 6 area. This was in addition to the Vienna area. Accidents included Motor Vehicle accidents, Light truck and trailer, Heavy trucks and Tractor Trailers. Industrial and Farm accidents did happen. Experience piled up and knowledge was distributed to all that would listen and practice

Multiple jurisdictions, past bad experiences, Unified Command and getting to know all the players helped make the incidents run much more smoothly. The Police, Sheriffs office, WS City Fire and FCEMS found a consistent command structure, Strong Command and clear direction as to roles and responsibilities. Often times Vienna responded,   extricated the patients , helped package the  patients, and packed up to leave before the Police got the road blocked. Good for all involved. The Rescue incident with high loss of life and critical injuries produced adrenaline junkies with all they could handle. These calls flowed so fast that control and direction of incoming units was difficult. The need to get the patients into surgery ramped DOWN in time from the Golden Hour to the Platinum 10. We tried to extricate in 10 have 10 to drive or fly and 10 to assess in ED… National extrication averages were 30-40 minutes. Pressure, Pressure, Pressure… More on that later

Those that have gone before…

Those that have gone before…

I am surrounded by History and tradition. I am an Automobile Mechanic in a small hometown shop that is almost 100 years old. The floor was poured in 1918 for a North Carolina State highway garage on the then US 421. I have been here physically 44 years. The walls have stuff on them from the 50’s or 60’s. Auto repair is all about what you remember from your history. Remember cool stuff and you will fix cars faster.

I am also in the Fire Service… 200+ years of Tradition unhampered by progress. To say we have always done it that way is REAL. WE HAVE!… Worked then Works Now.  Well I have OLD stuff and New stuff. Fire Service and Automotive. Cool old trucks, cars and machines. I also have been a Boy Scout, Leader, and Supporter for 40 official years and really 50 years unofficial.

I am a book reader and have a great imagination. I can stand and look across a vista and imagine the settlers walking and pulling wagons across our magnificent landscape.I have stood imagining the others that have come before me standing exactly where I am standing and looking out. I had one of those moments this past Wed. I had the opportunity to visit the Vade-Meccum/Camp Sertoma/Hanging Rock State Park property.

There are multiple buildings and lots of Explored land. There is an old hotel built in 1904. A large gymnasium and Chapel are on the property. There are hiking trails dating back to the original land tracts and old springs, dams and bridges. I stood in the downstairs of the old hotel reflecting on a room full of guests being served. I looked out the rear window at the old incinerator. I could imagine the loads of trash being dumped in then burned. We then looked at the gymnasium. Old exposed wood and steel beams with the wood floor.

Homer Dearmin told about a dance he attended during his CRK  staff years at the property. I could almost hear the music and feel the energy coming out of the building. Groups of teens standing on the porch and near the snack bar seemed almost too real.

We then took a trail to the open fields and area behind the property. Used most recently as a high ropes course. We had to traverse the creek and a few deadfalls but came upon the old bridge and spring house when the “Mineral Springs” were most sought after in the early 1900’s. The trails begged us to follow to the old lake and dam. We took a short time to lean against the bridge and Our Park Ranger Robin told us about pictures and historical facts from the area we were visiting. The Creek bearing the name of the property owners flowed gently under the bridge with minnows already visible in the clear pools. I could imagine the children slipping away and coming down to chase the crawdads and salamanders in this very creek.

I love to stand and reflect on those that have been before me. I hope that one day as we pass through this life I too will leave something that will cause reflection and wonder. I hope its not just the Dash between the Years on my headstone.