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Ben Fleagle's Blog (11)

TAKING CARE OF YOUR LEATHERHEAD

So I decided it was time to either get a new helmet or restore mine to a serviceable condition. Upon close inspection, (this means taking stock of my helmet's grievances) I found the liner worn in several areas although the ratchet was functioning, the attachment points were in a bad way, the earlaps were ripped and heavily soiled, the paint was badly cracked and chipped in multiple places and the exposed leather was beginning to dry out. Time to… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on December 2, 2009 at 1:00am — 10 Comments

BRÁITHEREACHAS THAR GACH NÍ - Brotherhood Above All Else

BRÁITHEREACHAS THAR GACH NÍ

Key Note for October 10th 2009 – Interior Firefighters, Alaska State Firefighter's Association "Fireman’s Ball"



When people ask me about the “Brotherhood”, I often find myself at a loss for words to define it for them. Because for me, the “Brotherhood” we are speaking of is something felt very deeply, something that has taken years to mature and show itself, but which once exposed ran to full throttle, without reservation. I find that it is something… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on October 16, 2009 at 12:00pm — 11 Comments

9/11 "The American Fire Department"

This morning I was preparing to head off to the 9/11 Ceremony the FOOLS were holding at the downtown house. I was heading out with mixed emotions, wondering if what I had written out for opening remarks would be appropriate, would it be taken well? Should I re-write it? My stomach hurt. There are so many things to consider when speaking to a large group and then again, ...sometimes you need to just shoot fromt the hip.



When I was preparing my remarks I was thinking, "What more can be… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on September 11, 2009 at 8:19pm — 8 Comments

"Braithre Thar Gach Ni" Brotherhood Above All

I was asked to speak on Brotherhood at a local department's awards dinner. This is my pre-speech draft:





When I was young, I remember visiting the firehouse my Uncle worked in. The house in Pikesville Maryland, across the street from the Old Confederate Soldiers Home, housed Engine 2. It was a place of massive red trucks, squeezed together between brick walls and dark lighting, and tall men. I was too young to really understand what was going on around me, but there was a sense… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on April 4, 2009 at 9:00am — 5 Comments

The Show Goes On

To My Brothers and Sisters in the Service:



So its been a few months now, and I still miss the Chief. The new guy is good. I like him, together with the other officer on our shift, we are forging a new team and it is working out well. I still miss Phil. I keep expecting him to come into the battalion's office at the big house, ...shouting out his familiar greeting. We all miss him. But as the film says, the show goes on. Rest in Peace, Brother.



Its been a long hard winter,… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on March 13, 2009 at 8:00pm — 2 Comments

The Parting Glass: Goodnight Chief.

I am sitting alone at last. The firehouse is quiet and I can hear the pipes playing in my head. My Chief has fallen. While we ran from tone out to tone out, he slowly let go. As his boys ran the beat, he went to sleep. I miss him, you know. For some silly reason he used to call me "Watash". I think I'll write that on the back of my helmet. He believed in me.

He was our bull dog, our champion. He loved his men. We loved him. You couldn't help it.… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on November 21, 2008 at 2:30am — 39 Comments

For Bobby Halton: "Brother Berg Wants A Story"

Chad Berg, my good friend, wants a story. I have recently read Chief Halton's latest editorial, much on my mind. I take pen in hand,..or keyboard and this is what comes out. Please read it all, the major point is in the end.



So, Brothers, there we were....Hey, I'm not gonna lie to ya, it wasn't the coldest night in Alaska, we've seen much worse. But lend your ear (or eyes) and I'll tell you a tale of frozen fingers, ears and eyelids,… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on November 7, 2008 at 2:12pm — 12 Comments

9-11 "Greater Love Hath No Man"

So I'm sittin' here cogitatin' on things, ....in particular the fact that tomorrow is once again 9-11. In our town, like many towns I imagine, we'll be having a memorial in the morning, I moment of silence, reading the names, the bells, a piper. The crowd gets smaller every year. People drive by the firehouse where it is being held and don't even notice, let alone slow down to pay respects. For many people, 9-11 has been reduced to a memory of cable T.V.…

Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on September 10, 2008 at 9:34pm — 9 Comments

Mentoring: Just ask. We've got your back.

I wrote this in the "Who Are Your Mentors?" Post earlier today. A brother in a small town and difficult situation needed some help and this is what I came up with then and there. The beauty of this site is that we can reach out to each other and make a difference. Back when I was in his shoes, I didn't have this resource. What a difference it would have made! So here's what I wrote to him. I posted it here because just maybe there is someone else out there in the same boat, looking for a…

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Added by Ben Fleagle on August 3, 2008 at 12:49am — 5 Comments

More Convention Thoughts

A few thoughts about the Convention and mentoring. While I was in Seattle, I was really blessed to have time with a former member of my company. This is an upstanding young fireman and just seeing him again was good, but to see him succeeding at being a probie in a large department made me feel really good. In Alaska, so many of the young brothers move on to bigger and better things and we rarely get time to see them as they move into their own.

So we're walking along talkin' about his new… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on July 25, 2008 at 3:27pm — 1 Comment

Warrior Poets

I just got back from the FOOLS Convention in Seattle and I'm still riding high from it, a little wound up, a little melancholy, a bit homesick. Funny, I had never met most of the firemen and women I met down there, yet so many of them have left a mark on me, a h*** in my soul that I cannot fill, now that I am gone from them again. We shared many great moments. Like John and Walt on the Pipes, the helmets stack halfway up the wall, and Gilbert becoming one with the barrier, the Pub crawl and… Continue

Added by Ben Fleagle on July 17, 2008 at 12:25am — 4 Comments

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