Bicycling, Photography? Ultimately, No. Like a lot of other people, I'd like to find a "cure for cancer," or some other meaningful contribution to society. In the '70s, though, I figured the best way of warming up for disease-fighting was to have a good hobby. What? "One all-consuming hobby is better than lots of separate ones." That was my motto,...or could have been. In college it was, first, bicycles. I loved bikes, raced bikes (admittedly, not real successfully), rode every day, everywhere; they were everything. Then, photography was everything. Although I was studying something else altogether at the University of Missouri, I fell in love with Mizzou's School of Journalism. I sat in every year on the National Press Photographer of the Year judging. My best friends were "J-School" students-- photojournalists. My own studies went along alright, but my true love was photocommunication; it was everything.
Bikes were everything; documentary photography was everything-- back-and-forth. But, after I literally blundered into firefighting, the greatest mystery of my life (other than marriage and a few million other things) was revealed. Although the incidence of cancers among firefighters is astronomical(!), my "cure for cancer" wasn't going to involve cancer. It was going to evolve around the fire service.
Photos. Top left-- Patches of my favorite fire companies: symbols of people who have taught me a Iot. Thanks to every one of you!!! Top center-- Nothing is more symbolic of fire department projects I've been involved with than tools-- I'm fascinated by them, love to talk about them and work with them. The collection, analysis, design and use of tools drives my approach to emergency services and most of the courses I teach. Top right-- On a given day, I'm not that crazy about heights, but when I put on protective gear, WOW, I can't get enough of it. My most enjoyable training moments have involved helping troops learn to love roof work-- that is waaaayyyy over the line. Bottom left-- My first good "job" as Nevada IC was a fire deep down on "B" Avenue, with water problems. I love to debate this one with the Blockheads, because it so clearly differentiates my approach to tactics from theirs. Bottom center-- Tools staged for a "FIreground Support Operations" class in Sioux City (IA), March 2002. Again, tools represent my biggest and longest running fire department project; learn all I can about them, tell others, never be without 'em. There's one old fire service saying about tools that goes, "Without a tool, you're JAFO (just another observer!). I buy that and try to remember it. (Just as an aside, though, I favor another tool-related axiom of my own origination: "People with the biggest 'axes to grind' seldom help with the cutting." Get it?) Bottom right-- Ventilation tools: the best blending of fire service tradition and innovation. I owe Tom Ruzich of Cutter's Edge saws a TREMENDOUS vote of thanks for having supported so many of my training ventures over the years (which, of course, provided the best training for ME!)