FDIC is a tradition for many in the fire service. When I make the drive down from the Detroit area next month it will be my 3rd time. The first time I was there I shared a few beers with Rhett Fleitz (aka the Fire Critic) and Willie Wines (aka the Iron Fireman) while we were waiting for the Fire Rescue, Firefighter Nation, and FireEMSBlogs.com network meetup to start. Other than a few emails I had never met either of them. Rhett and Willie were a blast to hang out with and a tradition we try to maintain is a stop at the Wild Beaver.
FDIC is the one place that you can meet almost everyone who makes something that is used in the Fire Service. Thursday is going to be a busy day trying to meet up with new and old friends. I hope the third time is the charm, because for the last two years I have not be able to meet up with Ann-Marie Knegt from Fire and Rescue magazine and I think she owes me a beer! I’ll be stopping by the booths of our supporters. On the short list is Fox Fury, HexArmor, Hi-Lift, TNT Rescue, Amkus, Packexe, HAIX, TECGEN, Packexe, and many more! I also have a huge list of people to track down, hopefully finally get to meet Randy Schmitz (Owner of Schmitz Mitts) and a West Coast Brother, Jeff Pugh from the Puyallup Extrication Team. Too many to list!
Last year, Paul from First Due Tackle and I ended meeting up with Rhett and Willie at the National Fallen Firefighters Rock and Roll fundraiser. There I met Brain Bush from the Fire Service Warrior, Christopher Huston from Fire Training Toolbox and John Shafer from the Green Maltese. Earlier, Brain had given his speech about the 9/11 stair climb not being completely sold out. (Video here) He stated with 30k plus firefighters here for FDIC it was pitiable that the event had not sold out. Paul and I answered the call and signed up. However, there was a bunch of liquid courage on board by that point and I wasn’t too sure what I had signed up for. Memories from the 2012 American Lung Association’s Detroit Fight for Air Climb started to come to mind. Let me just say, that stair climb was a wakeup call for me. Finishing second to last.
Fast forward to 2013, after close to a year of working with a cross fit trainer I’m in better shape. I trained hard for this year’s Detroit Fight for Air Climb and cut my time from last year’s 58 minutes to 31 minutes this year. My goal for the FDIC 9/11 stair climb is to keep with Paul, Rhett, and Willie. Keeping pace with Mr. Bush may be a bit off of this year’s goal but training is something I will never stop doing! Can’t wait to see everyone next month!