Best of the Rest – Helmet Giveaway, VB Union Pushes for Better Pay, Broke Cookie Cutter, Mutual Aid, Invincible?, and Much More!

Here is another installment of “Best of the Rest”. These are some of the best links I have collected from stories across the internet. Typically, they include stories I have not shared anywhere else and I believe they are worth checking out!

Tomorrow, I am giving away a brand new Phenix Fire Helmets TL-2 Miller 1884 helmet. I am giving it away as a way of saying “thank you” for reaching 100k fans, friends, Brothers, and Sisters on Facebook. I am purchasing the helmet myself because I think that you all deserve the chance at winning it. I am certain that whoever wins will be very happy!

phenix giveaway

Mother of boy with cancer seeks cards from his heroes. Tyler Seddon diagnosed with leukemia for second time

The mother of a little boy with leukemia said she wants his seventh birthday to be special, and is looking to first responders for help.

A website, “Tyler’s Troops,” is currently being set up for more information. In the meantime a GoFundMe account was also started to help with donations for Tyler.

Any first responders who would like to send Tyler a birthday card can send them to 96 South Main St., Pascoag, R.I. 02859.

VB firefighters union pushes for better pay scale

A local union claims Virginia Beach firefighters are not getting paid fairly for their merit or experience, and now they are taking to the radio waves to get your help.

The Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters (VBPF) union says the current pay scale is not paying senior firefighters enough or giving newer firefighters incentives to stay. The group’s president, Bill Bailey, said the Virginia Beach Fire Department has what’s called a “pay compression problem.”

“For example, employees that were hired six years ago are making starting salary. Employees that get hired today — six years later are also making the starting salary,” Bailey said. “It’s the same amount of money.”

HFD captain fights to recover after heroic rescue attempt

Houston Fire Captain Bill Dowling, also known as “Iron Bill,” is fighting to recover his strength following a heroic rescue attempt last May that nearly took his life.

Dowling was injured on May 31, 2013 — the deadliest day in Houston Fire Department history. Believing people were trapped in a fire that engulfed the Southwest Inn along the Southwest Freeway, Captain Dowling led a rescue attempt during which four fellow firefighters died and 13 others were injured.

If you would like to help, you can make a donation to Operation Oorah or send money to the address below:

Laura Archibald with Firefighter Support Network
Attn: Captain Archibald
600 Jefferson 6th floor
Houston, TX 77002

High Point Firefighter Killed

Investigators have made an arrest in the case, of the High Point firefighter that was killed in a hit and run. High Point firefighter Todd Martinez died after authorities say he was hit by a car driven by Andrew Barham. Talitha Vickers has more on how the victim is being remembered.

Don’t Look Know, But Someone Broke The Cookie Cutter

We are in a fascinating period of time for the fire service.  Never before have the resources (financial, physical and mental) been greater.  We are finally looking at fires, how they burn, how conditions change.  We are looking a fuel packages, flow paths.  We are discussing heat release rates and polar vortexes.  Oh wait, the polar vortex is the weather people.   The information from these studies is very interesting.  It has proven to us some things we have always known, but it has quantified them scientifically – versus them being based on theory from experience.  I guess you could say input the math into our gut feelings.

Detroit Mutual Aid Mission Attack

This weekend I was honored and blessed to be a fly on the wall at many of  Detroit’s Fire Houses, by being a tiny part of something huge. I got to tag along with’s Lori Mercer and help with her Detroit Care Pack Mission. We all know no one throws a party like a Firefighterwife party, right? I mean just check us out with these extraction tools! Makes you want to pitch right in!

Our firefighters and paramedics are there at a moments notice when we call for help. But Monday those same brave first responders are in need of a shoulder to lean on after losing one of their own.

After sudden illness forced Master Firefighter Paramedic Greg Brundage into a hospital bed in January, the man that so many people referred to as a big Teddy Bear, passed away Saturday.

Firehouse vs. Fire Station

I came to work in a FIREHOUSE much like this one. An older house, full of history, tradition and PRIDE. Hardwood floors, wooden lockers, brass knobs and poles. Plenty of pictures on the wall. These type houses are small and keep a company together. The kitchen table or tailboard is usually the “gathering” area and the bunk rooms are wide open, dormitory style. In this house, they don’t even have doors on the bathroom stalls.

Toledo LODD Remembrance/Fundraiser

Recently, while in Detroit, I heard news out of Toledo, Ohio, that there had been a MAYDAY. As we rode around delivering donated equipment to the firehouses across the city, further details started to emerge about those involved. The reports eventually confirmed that there had been two Line of Duty Deaths.  The names were finally released, and they were: Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman. Even though I had never met either of the two brothers, I soon found out that we did have mutual friends.

Bernese Mountain Dog House Fire Relief Fund

“We are raising money to pay for veterinary fees and care for 3 Bernese Mountain Dogs and 1 Corgi injured in the January 27th house fire in Fairfax County.”

Fallen firefighter’s family makes generous move in wake of tragedy

As two broken-hearted families prepare to say goodbye to their heroes in coming days, others are stepping up to make sure they have help getting by in the future.  The family of fallen Toledo firefighter Stephen Machcinski has decided to give all donations they receive on his behalf to the family of Private James Dickman. Both men died in a north Toledo fire Sunday.

Providing Mutual Aid –

The term “Mutual Aid” is one we use within the Fire Service but it’s also pretty self  explanatory. Mutual Aid is about opening a “network” of help (aid) between one another and that’s exactly what Rhett Fleitz( and I (along with MANY others) have been doing this past weekend.

Detroit Mutual Aid Mission Attack

This weekend I was honored and blessed to be a fly on the wall at many of  Detroit’s Fire Houses, by being a tiny part of something huge. I got to tag along with’s Lori Mercer and help with her Detroit Care Pack Mission. We all know no one throws a party like a Firefighterwife party, right? I mean just check us out with these extraction tools! Makes you want to pitch right in!

Positive Attitudes: Detroit Mutual Aid

How often can you stop at 9 firehouses and get all positive attitudes? I know one place you can…Detroit, Michigan. From the Fire Commissioners to the guys on the rig, every single one of them had such a positive attitude. They are doing so much with so little, but they still enjoy showing up for work every single day. Over worked and underpaid, these guys are thankful to have each other and are all looking at the better times that are to come.

Chesterfield paramedic, 19, dies from heart complications

The Chesterfield community is mourning the sudden loss of 19-year-old Jordan Kuzik, a Chesterfield paramedic and son of a Chesterfield County Police Sergeant. Jordan died Thursday unexpectedly from heart complications. He was a graduate from Chesterfield Fire and EMS Volunteer Recruit School #27, and seven months after graduating he received an EMS Lifesave Award for treating a patient who was in cardiac arrest. He was set to marry his high school sweetheart, Monica, in March.


Brothers and Sisters – I am giving up my words with this post to those who know how to write them – and write them well. Sarah Gura, Chief Kenny, and Lt. Olson have agreed to co-conspire with this post regarding our mentality of invincibility. Please read…

Celebrity chef brings meal to Toledo firefighters

The Zac Brown Band brought an audience to the Huntington Center for a concert on Wednesday, but his visit to Toledo became about more than just a performance when he sent his personal chef over to feed some Toledo firefighters.Thanks to a member of a neighboring fire department reaching out to the fan club, Chef Rusty and some friends showed up with a meal to warm the hearts and bellies of a fire department that’s been through a lot lately after the deaths of Privates Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman.

Red Hot Chilli Pipers cover Avicii’s Wake Me Up (video below)