Food,Fellowship, Decompression and Release

Busy has been described to me as “Being Under Satans Yoke”. Time Flies. Life is passing by at a prodigious rate. I have a wonderful workplace and am lucky enough to work with Family. Our Employees are family too. Billy says there is no drama… We all get along and respect each other. However Work is WORK. If it were easy anyone could do it. At times I need to get away and do something different. Scouting has been my release. Did I mention I am Fire Chief? More Work! I have never dreaded going to either “Work”. Calls are no problem. Someone needs help! Training and administration are some work. Again Deputy Chief, Assistant Chiefs and Officers keep the load off me except for the BIG decisions. Again Scouting.

Scouting puts me in the outdoors and in places I may never see if I did not volunteer. I get to see the light come on in a youth that”yes ” even in the worst WX we can survive and even thrive. Let it rain and you don’t deal with the big crowds. Our youth are preparing to cook over only wood fires ways. They have researched and identified 8 methods to cook. Teaching to cook and preparing to cook are 2 very different things. We are splitting wood tonight. More than the scouts realize… Ha

Simple pleasures of just sitting and watching “Cowboy TV” as the fire burns low. Stories are shared and as more and more slip off to bed the fire circle tightens and joys,worries,  and cares are shared. As others share their wants and needs many times mine pale in comparison. True friendship can be found around the evening campfire. These bonds of friendship are tightened with work and shared experiences. Respect is noted and also the lack thereof.

Adult men make very few real true friends. Scouting and the Fire Service have forged my friendships kindled by Church or Community organizations. The work involved whether leader or follower binds men together. The quiet sharing of experiences give release to many issues that seemingly were overwhelming until sitting quietly around a common fire resting before bed. Shared experiences also shoulder the burden of each other’s needs. This makes the group and individual stronger and better able to face the work days and weeks ahead.

Thanks to all the Leaders and Mentors that have gone before me. Let me not go quietly into that good night. I want to share and shoulder for each of You that journey along with me. I will carry my burden and gladly show you how you have made each day a blessing to me.



Get What You Pay for?

Get What You Pay for?

Everyday potential customers call or just show up at my Auto Repair shop with parts and a story. Today was no different. 5 either called and asked to get a phone diagnostic and provide parts “Just to make it Easier on ME” or brought the part from Major retailers. Two wanted to bring the parts so the bill would not be so High!. Hello… This is a business that needs to make money on parts and labor. We also provide a tremendous Nationwide Warranty and Roadside assistance when Tim or Jim or Roberta or Richard OR Billy  cannot possibly help you.

In some special situations we allow the customer to supply the needed part. We will try our hardest to make the repair process as painless as possible. We stand by our warranties and will stretch the mileage or time if “Fairness” of either is an issue. ACDELCO will provide the Roadside assistance even with a competitor part. Price of Services is what we have refined for 40 years. Rising cost of living and parts have caused a rising labor rate since the 1970’s.

Today’s technician is required to train and learn continuously. Computer guided systems and complex issues require purchase of the needed Management System and Data Information from each manufacturer. Just to keep the doors OPEN much less up to date on the modern automobile have pushed Owners and Technicians into owning Thousands or Hundreds of Thousands of dollars of equipment and tools.

Stop at any parts store and they will sell you a part!. Thats their job. Ask the opinion and you will get as many as stars in the sky. Or parts in the Store…Go to the Internet and type in your make an model. Death and destruction have come and gone riding your vehicle. Get a Youtube video and strike out into my world. Disable the only ride you have and need that other part or God Forbid you were sold the wrong part… “OH I guess it does have Air?”…. Vehicles change mid year and even skip years.

Simple jobs now need to tell the computer they are done. All drivability needs to interface the computer. Light bulbs still burn out… Even led’s…Today’s customer is Beta testing their New Ride. Vehicles are 11 years old AVERAGE. Stuff will wear out. Do what you can but don’t be surprised if what you got sold is not what you really needed. WE CAN FIX IT!

Call and ask. Come in and get a diagnostic. Drop it off and wait for the call. Just remember I Sell Time and Parts for a living. Learning is a hidden cost and must be repaid. We will fix almost all problems presented to us. Some we cannot.


Guru’s, Owners and Technicians

Guru’s, Owners and Technicians

For the past 30 years I have been a member of IGONC. Mr Wilson was not a joiner so although we knew about IGO we never joined and benefitted from the group. I have attended conventions by closing for the week. My whole family has attended and grown up in the IGO. Our convention is now the ASTE trade show and IGONC convention. This year we Sold out the Trade Show, Sold out the Room book, Packed the rooms for classes and in a special report had over 150 in attendance for the OEM Information update by Chris Chesney.

Independant is First in the name of our organization. All mechanics and owners are very independent. Building a business based on the needs of our customers is tough. We were branded grease monkeys. Dullards were put in Auto Shop in High school to get them through. THINGS HAVE CHANGED!

Transportation is critical to the very infrastructure of our nation. Over 70% of vehicle owners would rather have an Independent mechanic service their automobiles. Trust is a key component. Competence is expected with perfection close at hand. The vehicle platform is complex and going to get even more as the years go by. Safety systems can take control of the vehicle and autonomous vehicle are logging thousands of miles today.

Our industry is grey. Lots of OLD GUYS are the current programmers and subscription members to the OEM’s. Manufacturing and other lower tech work is paying more than Auto Repair. Vehicles are more complicated and there are fewer service intervals. Sounds like just what was being said when I got involved in 1975.

If you missed our ASTE convention you missed out. Great social atmosphere, Great Information, Great tools, and a good kick in the Pants. If My Shop is the Best- Why do I  let customers go other places?…. My Goal for this coming Year- Advertise Greatness, Prepare for New Customers, Work our Ass off to be the Best Automotive Repair Shop period.

Thanks to the Best customers and Friends ever along with Magnificent Employees

Thanks Tim and Roberta Lasley, Jim and Victoria Lasley, Richard and Sandy Lewis, Billy and Jennifer Green, Paul and Connor. JoJo and Patches


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.


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.



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