Drinking from a hydrant was the best way to explain the opening of the 2012 Baltimore Firehouse Expo in Baltimore. You try to get just a sip and instead you have 500 GPM of water flowing full force. Within the first 5 minutes of the show, we had over 30 people in our booth. What was even more impressive was that most people were being told to see our booth from firefighters that bought our illuminating products over the last year.
The Fire Critic (Rhett Fleitz) and The Iron Fireman (Willie Wines) wore their signature matching kilts and leather helmets as they were mobbed by their fans asking for autographs and getting personal demonstrations of how MN8 Foxfire helps firefighters by reducing disorientation, increasing accountability and illuminating search activities.
I was absolutely humbled not only our large crowds and strong sales, but also by hearing the numerous stories about how many firefighters are currently using our products and how much Foxfire has helped them be better and safer firefighters.
We had several very special visitors that first day such as the winner of the MN8 Foxfire FDIC T-Shirt contest, Donnie Wedding and the girls from the greatest bar in the world, PBR Baltimore. They want us to illuminate their shirts and hot pants !!!!
As the first day wrapped up, I changed out of my stuffy jeans and button down shirt and got to break out my new bunker kilt. I could not let Willie and Rhett be the only one to “let it all hang out”. We walked from the convention center to the FOOLS Bash and at Baltimore’s Powerplant Live. We had several people ask to get their picture taken with us. I guess Baltimore is not used to seeing men in kilts and firefighter helmets walking down the street....
The event was awesome complete with cornhole games, a dunk booth with very hot scantly clad women, pipes and drums and a torrential rainstorm. Never the less the firefighters were not about to let it rain on our parade !
The men and women of the Baltimore Fools chapter did a great job and fun was had by all. Especially watching the PBR girls dance on the tables!
The evening would have not been complete without having one of the PBR girls ride the mechanical bull complete with a MN8-Foxfire illuminating helmet !
The next day of the show was the same as the first day with big crowds, brisk sales and an energy unmatched by any other booth. We had several VIP's stop in such as Chief Bashoor of Prince George County FD, Capt. Morris of FDNY's Rescue 1 and even the media mogel himself, Mr. Dave Statter.
I finally had the chance to walk the floor for a few minutes and I had heard that FDNY’s Rescue 2 in Brooklyn had a booth. Visiting their booth was an honor. While there I checked on how all the Foxfire gear was holding up. I was both excited and honored to see FF Rob Weidman shaking hands with everyone.
As I’m sure most of you remember, FF Weidman was critically burned several months ago while battling a very bad fire at a Brooklyn brownstone.
MN8-Foxfire along with the Iron fireman and Fire Critic not only raised money for him, we also presented the check to his captain, Liam Flaherty at their Brooklyn quarters. Meeting with FF Weidman and hearing his heartfelt appreciation was one of the most memorable moments I have had since starting MN8. Our highest calling in the fire service is to help our brothers. These men of FDNY’s Rescue 2 have shown all of us the importance of brotherhood and professionalism that all of us in the fire service should strive to emulate.
I have the honor to visit fire department from all over the US and I can honestly say that it is such a privilege to meet brothers from all over our nation. No matter where I go and who I meet, I still get excited every time I walk in to a new station.
This recent trip brought me back to New York city. I was joined by my dear friends and brothers Willie Wines of http://ironfiremen.com/ and Rhet Fleitz of http://firecritic.com/. On our last visit we had the chance to visit with many of the rescue companies and spent quite a bit of time with the warriors of Rescue 2, led by Capt. Liam Flaherty.
Capt. Flaherty is the youngest rescue captain in the history of the FDNY and one of my personal heroes. We met almost a year ago at Firehouse World in San Diego. He offered to have his elite men of Rescue 2 in Brooklyn evaluate our advanced photo-luminescent products. We all were horrified to see the video of the flash-over a few weeks ago in Brooklyn in which FF’s Gersbeck and Weidman (pictured below)were injured in a flashover at a brownstone fire in Brooklyn.
At MN8-Foxfire our highest calling and most important goal is for us to help our firefighting brothers all over the world. Why? Because we are all brothers. Volunteer, paid on call, full time, union, etc. it doesn’t matter. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. When one of us fall we all stumble. Fire does not differentiate between black or white, volley or full time, big city or small.
We are honored to donate to various firefighter causes throughout the year not because we are asked but because it is the right thing to do. After all, we are our brothers keeper. We could not visit our friends and brothers of Rescue 2 on this trip and not do something for the brave warriors who weree injured. Willie, Rhett, and I, along with many other leaders in the firefighter community like Statter 911, and Firefighter Nation helped promote this opportunity to help both the injured firefighters and their families. We received donations from all over the country, MN8-Foxfire donated 50% of all of our sales that week.
On Tuesday, we had the privilage to join the brave men of Rescue 2 at the their house and present them with a check for over $2,300. Capt. Flaherty and his men could not have been more gracious and appreciative. They wanted us to pass on their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of you that supported their crew with thoughts, prayers and donations. They brewed a fresh pot of coffee for us and even took us on a very special tour of the 6 day old brand new Ferra Rescue truck.
To be continued....
A term used over and over again in the fire industry. There have been many blog posts and discussions about brotherhood. There are probably as many definitions of what brotherhood means as there are firefighters. The term is brotherhood, not friend or acquaintance. I remember my dad once telling me that, "you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family." You don’t have to like your brother, you don’t choose your brother, they are family. Each of us has our own meanings of the word but one thing that needs no interpretation is that when a brother is in need, you help. Firefighting has a long tradition of helping out our brothers when something bad happens.
MN8-Foxfire's mission is “by firefighters for firefighters” and we will never forget our brothers.
Many of you know that I have had the honor and privilege to travel the world meeting firefighters from all over as I represent MN8-Foxfire.
Almost a year ago to the day, I had the privilege to meet Capt. Liam Flaherty of FDNY’s Rescue 2 in Brooklyn. I met Capt. Flaherty as he was representing FDNY’s Emerald Society Pipes and Drums at the Firehouse World trade-show in San Diego, CA. We had the opportunity to spend a bit of time at the trade-show and later at a great Irish bar in downtown San Diego. Over a few pints of Guiness and shots of Jameson, I told him about my vision for MN8-Foxfire and how our advanced photoluminescent products can help our brothers by increasing accountability of tools and each other while also reducing disorientation. He offered to evaluate some of our products and give me his and his crew’s feedback.
For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis you will know that I made a trip out to New York City a few months ago with Rhett Fleitz, aka The Fire Critic and Willie Wines, The Iron Fireman. One of our stops was to visit Rescue 2 and Capt. Flaherty.
They greeted us with open arms and shared with us how much they liked Foxfire products and how it has helped them locate their tools in the dark. Hanging out with these heroes and leaders in the fire service while hearing about how our advanced photoluminescent technology has helped them has been one of the proudest moments I have had since starting MN8-Foxfire.
A few weeks ago many of you heard and saw video of the dramatic bailout in Brooklyn.
It was non-other than two members of Rescue 2 that were critically injured. They survived for several reasons. As you you watch that dramatic video, you can see the events unfold. The firefighter opens the window to find his egress ladder and the ladder operator assists him by extinguishing his flames and assisting him down the stick, and then you can see the engine company make a knockdown. As horrifying as this video is to watch, it is an incredible testament to the importance of training, situational awareness, modern PPE, and brotherhood.
Wille, Rhett and myself will be going back to New York at the end of the month to visit again with the FDNY and specifically Rescue 2. Willie had a great idea that we should try and do something special for these two brave firefighters of Rescue 2 who were injured. After all, thats what brothers do, we help each other. Starting on 1/23/12 at 7:00AM, we are going to donate 50% of everything sold on our web-store to the Rescue 2 May Day fund. You can find our web-store by going www.mn8products.com. If you don’t want to buy anything we will also give you the option to make a donation via credit card or PayPal. This offer will expire on at midnight on Monday 1/30/12 so the three of us can personally present a check when we visit Rescue 2 in person on Feb. 1st.
After all we are all one big family, and when your family needs help, you help.