FDIC Wrap Up: The Fire Critic and Iron Firemen Meetup

This year at FDIC, Captain Wines and I did something we have wanted to do for years. We hosted a party for our friends. The event was Friday night at the Hard Rock Cafe. Our Brother Andrew Catron (Model City Firefighter) put it all together for us and he did a great job. In a mere two weeks we put together a party that far exceeded our expectations. Scroll down for photos

Pictures from the evening are on the Fire Critic Facebook page 

There are additional pictures here (Facebook Event Page)

Willie Wines Jr., Rhett Fleitz, Ryan “Birdman” Parrott

We hear it all the time about how friends, readers, fans, and Brothers love how Wines and I help perpetuate the “Brotherhood”. We really feel as though it is the other way around. The people we surround ourselves with are the ones who charge us up. They are the constant reminders of why we love what we do.

Warning: Name dropping ahead…

The meetup couldn’t have been better. Great friends, great beer, great time. Some of the people in attendance included Shane Parkins and crew from National Firefighters Endowment, Dave Statter (STATter911.com), Lori Mercer (FirefighterWife.com), Andrew and Mary Arnold and crew (Box Alarm Leather), Mike Bish (TenSeventyFive.com), Chris McCorkle and wife (Blackjack Flashlight holder), Rob Schield and wife (Fire Cam – Firevideo.net), Phenix Fire Helmets Crew, KZOO FOOLS Crew, Taylor Goodman (VAFireNews.com)Brian Brush and crew from Fire Service Warrior, Drew from Distant Cellars, Blue Ridge FOOLS crew, Shane Lester and Crew from Tennessee, Brad Hoff from TheBattalion.TV, Kim Fitzsimmons, Tim Estes and entourage from VA, Robert Kramer, Jill Boden, Trae Wright and Crew, Chris Naum (CompanyOfficer.com), Stephen and Erin (Ayden’s Gifts), Sons of the Flag Burn Foundation Crew, and many others of our great friends and Brothers.

Thanks for the shots Beefcake!

Captain Wines and I did our best to get around the room and see and talk to everyone. We appreciate all who took the time to come out to to the meetup. We probably had 100-150 in attendance.

We are already talking about planning a party at Firehouse Expo and FDIC next year. We will be talking to potential sponsors for the event in the coming months.

Special thanks to Fire Cam (Firevideo.net) and Blackjack Flashlight holder for offering some prizes to give away. Special thanks also to Stephen and Erin Foster of Ayden’s Gifts for making a plate for Willie in memory of his brother Jack. I am sure Willie will have more on that in the future at IronFiremen.com.

National Firefighters EndowmentShane Parkins from the National Firefighters Endowment (NFE) helped sponsor the event. I think we were able to raise awareness of the NFE cause and might have even got some more guys signed up for the Officers Club.

The NFE is also funded by sales of Phenix Fire Helmets via RescueSwag.com. The site is owned and operated by the NFE, and profits from the sales of Phenix helmets go directly back to funding the NFE. If you have been paying attention, Captain Wines and I wear the Phenix TL2 leather helmet. We love them. If you are in the market for a leather lid, check out the TL2. Phenix has plenty of other helmets as well.

One highlight of the night was having Rob Wiedmann (Rescue 2 FDNY) in attendance. Rob was joined by Ryan “Birdman” Parrott, Zane, and Nathan. Rob was severely burned in a fire in Brooklyn in 2011. Ryan  is the founder of Sons of the Flag Burn Foundation. Rob served eight years as a U.S. Navy SEAL completing multiple combat tours to Iraq and several other deployments to areas around the world. “My own experience and the experiences of others keeps me emotionally involved and motivated to achieve the goals of the Sons of the Flag. Still being able to put forth the fight, I know it is my duty to successfully carry out this mission with honor and integrity for those who have survived traumatic burn injuries.”

We let Ryan say a few words about the Foundation and then we passed the boot to raise a few dollars for them. We raised $730 for them in about 10 minutes.

Did you read that? $730 in about 10 minutes.

You guys did that. I don’t even know how many people were in attendance, but you guys really stepped up.