Tuesday started bright in early as we rushed to the Baltimore Convention Center to get an early start to set our booth up for the Firehouse Expo. I was even able to back up our trailer on the first try to within an inch of our designated booth space!
After getting everything set up, we were off to drive back to Washington DC. We happened across a Baltimore City Fire Department and decided to stop in for a quick visit . We were greeted with open arms and even given a very special tour of the historic house. The firefighters gave us a chance to climb six sets of ladders that made up their old hose closet.
We climbed in darkness to the top of the six plus stories and the firefighter that was giving us the tour was very impressed in how the Foxfire t-shirts photoluminescence illuminated the way. Once at the top we had a scenic view above all the neighborhood’s buildings.
From there we were off to Kentland Volunteer Station 33. These guys are not only the gold standard of volunteer fire departments they are leaders in the way we should fight fire.
Hard, fast, aggressive and take no prisoners. We were met by Tim McClusky of Firehouse Pride.
Like Foxfire, Firehouse Pride is by firefighter’s for firefighters. It was started by DCFD FF Joe Brown who we visted next at his DCFD Truck 17. Joe, like myself, is an entrepreneur but he will always be a firefighter first !
From there it was back to Washington DC, Arlington VA to be more specific, to pay our respects to our fallen heroes. I can never make it to Arlington National Cemetery without a visit next door to the statue of the flag raising of Iwo Jima, the Marine War Memorial. This would be no regular visit to this iconic statue because that night was very special because it was also the sunset parade of the 8th & I Silent Drill Team and Drum and Bugle Corps.
As I watched this special event, I was reminded what a privilege it is to be a American but I’m even more privileged to be a US Marine.
See some footage of the parade here.
Prior to the start of the event, we decided to take a very special and somber walk through the endless rows of white markers of the valiant warriors that stood watch over our great nation. It was so humbling to walk among these heroes from the Civil War to current conflicts. As we walked and walked, I remembered the lyric of one of my favorite CSN & Y songs “Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down.”
The next day we had the chance to visit my brother Adam on Bolling Air Force base. Adam is a member of the elite US Air Force Concert Band. Adam introduced us the federal firefighters of Naval District Washington. We passed out a few helmet bands and discussed our recent big deal with the US Air Force Kirtland AZ Fire Department.
We then drove a few miles away to visit with the elite men of DCFD’s Rescue 3 and specifically FF Oleg Pelekahpy. Oleg is one of the great firefighters that understands the importance of giving back. Read the Ironfireman’s blog about the coast to coast and back motorcycle ride he did to raise money and awareness for ovarian cancer.
Our last stop of the day was to Hyattsville Fire Department in Maryland. Specifically we met with Nick Baily who is one of the founders of FdLiveIn.com. Their station is a model of both brotherhood and how to encourage volunteers to spend time on station. They have impressive apparatus and a great house that is what all fire stations should be complete with a pole, dog, and a great day room.
We finally hit the road to Baltimore and checked in to the hotel. All that was next was the arrival of Boots on the Street rockstar Stephen Allen and Rhett Fleitz and Willie Wines....