Alive and Well

Alive and Well

Don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see.! I have been told this for years by my mentors and parents. I can tell you that the Rural fire service is alive and well in North Carolina. Yes volunteer numbers are down. Yes call volumes are swamping many departments. Yes we are requiring way too many hours to Certify and Qualify our first responders. There is still a palpable passion to our JOB! Witnessed by the intense interest in my last structural burn.

Training is frequent and intense. Our training process is better than ever. We have available every screw up on video to view. We have instant on the scene critics. We have the social media roaring  the proper thing to do… I think we can perform properly and respond perfectly to all situations if we were not humans. That human factor has millions of variables.

The Mission is simple. Save lives, Protect property. We are here for them! We must however protect ourselves to properly continue the service. I am the Safest I have ever been in 44 years of service. I am at a High level of Situational awareness. I drive slower, work out more and eat better than I ever did in the first 30 years. I have preached from the training pulpit the ways to stay alive till age 25 and beyond.

I have kept fire in my life. Carrying my turnout gear with me for 40 years to be ready at a moments notice. As soon as I became an EMT I have carried a jump bag too. I have taught the Structural Burn for the last 30 years. Taking crews and finding the best of the best and bringing those FF to additional burns to develop their skills. We burned with 10 Instructors and helpers keeping 35 -40 in crews of 4 n 5 busy all night.

The Command Staff, Water Supply and Instructor support worked tirelessly during the burn. The Whole incident had been pre-set. Lines, Tool Staging, Sets in all rooms all were ready to keep crews busy. Instructors rotated with the air supply and crews rotated as they got Fire. FF were rehabbed and fed as Crews and the burning continued. No Complaints from over 100 FF. Firefighting is alive and well in Rural NC.

 

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Computers, Phones and Keeping in Touch

Life is Flying by…. The Garage is rocking along and the Heat sets in…Windows 7 computers are attacked by Microsoft… Phone breakage….Computer quits when the cable is updated… Roberta has to Stay with Her Mom…Twitter changes the feed and we lose some contact with our Tweeters…Weekend Warrior resumes after a brief respite…Paul goes back to School… Doves are eminent

I have lost touch with some of my friends. My home desktop will not communicate with the new cable modems… I am relegated to using the smart phone and no keyboard…More tweets and likes and less WordPress and Facebook…Pouring myself out of my clothing and cold showering helps after the hot and humid day in the shop. Flop into a chair and figure out what to Eat…Meetings have resumed and I am busy now more than ever before.

Chiefs Meet at the end of the month… New Chiefs are appointed… Others hired… New members come to Vienna… Rescue is in full swing… Auto Extrication is Hot and Fun…Raven Knob Cranks up for the Fall Camping Season…Patio is calling “Wait till it cools Down” …Outdoor fireplace is stacked and ready…Some Garage wood is cut and split and stacked… Thanks Paul…Jim is fixin up the Fixer upper…

We have and will keep on keepin on… I will get another computer and be able to type when it’s not 92 in the building… The temps will moderate and soon it will be my Anniversary 09-3… Hard to believe it’s been 34 years since Roberta said Yes…I will see everyone in the Fall and get back to camping and slow down a little…

My Phone is getting old and has some quirks… Watch out…

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.

Tim

 

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

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

Thanks Ya’ll

Thanks Ya’ll

A simple thank you note. It lifts your spirit and causes that moment in time of remembrance. The simple note acknowledges and affirms that someone else got what was sent and appreciates you enough to give of their time in return. A Thank you. No matter if it is hastily written or long thought out letter of gratitude, the note matters. Some come quickly and others longer or never arrive. These are some of the Notes of my Life and Times of a simple community Man.

The memory is aided by some notes I have made and interviews to gain perspective and others tales that coincide with my stories.This is a Thank You to all who have served and assisted me in my Life in Vienna.

My Thanks will include Men n Women of our community and beyond. Fire Department Friends and Brothers n Sisters. Family. Close knit leaders in community and business. Some Thank Yous will be broad and far reaching. Others will be direct and very personal.  Roberta, Jim, Paul, Brian, Annette, John, Benjamin, Walt and Kathy, Alex , Bolton, Mom, Rowena, James n John. Richard and Billy, JD and Clara, Marvin n Annie Mae, My Whole Scouting family, and Brookstown UMC, Vienna Civic Club, IGONC…

Tonight I want to start with Rick Goins.

Early memories of Rick are fun to think about and enjoy. We joined the Fire Department about the same time. We hung out at the station . We were youth members of nearby churches. We rode together to school on the bus and when Rick drove and Mom let me ride. We double dated, We cruised. We trained and trained and trained together. We were mentored by the same group of men. We learned about life and death… a lot of Death. We survived together. We are very different and very alike in many ways. Strong love of our Lord, Wives, Children, Community and Churches. We have pulled together as a group and as a Pair. (Pair of Niceuns).

I want to formally Thank You for the friendship, unity, commiseration, and happiness we have shared through the Years. I want you to know that I have seen with you the terrible things that humans do to each other and we have been called to help with. I thank you for standing with me as we buried many of our retired members of Vienna and Mt. Tabor. Thanks for being the friend I needed when we buried our friends and contemporaries. Thanks for making our community safer and a better place.

I remember following John Shore down a hallway with my nose to the wood floor. Vienna’s newest cadets were under the smoke layer pushing and pulling the hose toward the glow. Quickly we were patted on the shoulder and told to flow the line into the room. Rick cracked open the nozzle and cool fresh air was sucked past my nose as I struggled to hold the line so he could attack the fire. I took a deep breath and the heat and smoke dropped down on us . We were ready holding our breath waiting for the lift. Someone hollared and Rich shut down. The smoke layer rose slightly and the heat was replaced by warm smoky air. We backed out on command and spitting and sputtering arrived outside. We had attacked our first Fire. Training fire. I have followed Rick and he has followed me over the years.

I have many stories of our friendship but I cannot tell them all. I do know that if I need help I can Call Rick.

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.