Trial by Fire
I am currently a Captain with Norfolk Fire Rescue in Norfolk VA. I live in Chesapeake with my amazing wife and two sons. My wife is my biggest fan and I am grateful for her love and support.
I have been in the Fire Service for close to 18 years now. I have served in one of the city’s busiest Engine Companies and have also served a tour in the Training Division as a Fire Academy Coordinator. I am currently assigned to an Engine Company. I have been a part of, and assisted in the development of several department wide and regional training programs that included both Engine and Ladder company operations and Fire Dynamics.
I am a State Instructor for both the Virginia Department of Fire Programs and the National Fire Academy focusing on MAYDAY and Strategy/Tactics. I am also an instructor with Real Fire Training LLC. (www.realfiretraining.net). Prior to working for the City of Norfolk, I served 6 years in the United States Navy as a Damage Controlman (shipboard firefighter) and a Search and Rescue Swimmer. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Fire Science and am a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program. I am a contributor to Fire Engineering Magazine, and a Fire Engineering blogger.
One day we will all leave this profession and have to look back on a career spent in service to others. Are you going to leave a legacy? Are you going to leave your fire department better than you found it? When you are long gone, people may not remember the rank you held, certificates you had, or degrees earned. Though these are important, what they will remember the most is the way you made them feel and what you taught them. This will have a lasting impression on their career and in the careers of many to follow. Let all of us be the leaders we are obligated to be for the people we are privileged to serve.
I love everything about our fire service. I love what it represents and I love what it has allowed me to do. I am very passionate about teaching and mentoring others and feel that if we are not doing this, we are not doing our jobs. I wouldn't be where I am today without the solid mentors I was fortunate to learn from. I enjoy every opportunity I get to be surrounded by like-minded firefighters who want nothing more than to improve themselves and those around them.
I believe strongly in the need for good leadership up and down our ranks, but especially at the company level. I feel officers who don't invest time into their crews professional development and welfare are flat out negligent in their duties and should be ashamed of themselves.
I want nothing more than to see a fire service full of committed professionals focused on reaching for excellence. Nothing makes me happier than seeing those I have helped along the way succeed. I make mistakes, I fail, and I am not immune to complacency. I do however work hard to make myself better today than I was yesterday.