Sunday, December 28, 2008

Belated Happy Birthday Wishes to Lori Pooser!

Happy Birthday, Lori! We apologize for being a day late. Hope you had a great day!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just a Thought......

This week completed another chapter in the story of this department with the release of the ISO report changing the rating from a Class 1 to a Class 3. We know that all of you expected a change and hopefully see it as necessary to continue the progress of this department. It reminded me of my days as a firefighter when ISO would come to inspect us. While the ISO rating was an important part of determining insurance premiums, we never used it as a measure of our ability to do our jobs or the effectiveness of our department and neither should you. Don’t ever forget that the history of this department is being rewritten daily and that your spirit and determination to move this fire department forward, in the face of just another moment of adversity, is what will truly define this department. Keep the faith, my friends, for there is much good ahead for all of you. Our Team is excited to be here with you to watch it happen!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chrissy's Gift!

Chrissy Welsch with Team members Richie, Jim, Gerald and Amanda.

Several months ago, I posted here about a young lady who had decided to save and donate her allowance to the "Raising Engine 11" restoration. She and her mother had watched by the highway as the procession for the Charleston 9 traveled from downtown to the Coliseum on June 22, 2007. When she heard of the project to restore Engine 11, she decided she wanted to help. Yesterday, Chrissy Welsch and her mother, Diane, came to the Team office so Chrissy could bring in her donation. Thank you Chrissy for your generous contribution!

"Smokin' Mack" Comes to Town!

Yesterday, we received a package at the Team office from the office of the President of Mack Trucks, Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Apparently, they had seen our website and the story of "Raising Engine 11". The card read, "To the Charleston Firefighter Support Team, Good luck in your endeavors. We are sending our corporate icon for luck."

"Smokin Mack" came with his own turnout gear and helmet and will reside on the dash of Engine 11 when it is completed. What a great gesture on the part of Mack Trucks! We appreciate their kindness in thinking of us.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dealing with Anger

What can you do when you are so consumed with outrage at another that your own quality of life is negatively impacted? How do you stop a behavior that you know is unhealthy but has infiltrated your personality and has taken over the controls?

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Does your anger change the past?
2) Are you willing to forgo your happiness for someone who is insensitive, greedy, oblivious, or dishonest?
3) Do you believe your anger will change how others view this person?
4) Are you prepared to allow another to define your mood?
5) Are you ready to recognize people are not held to your values and that to wait for such will be fruitless?

Remember what defines you as a loving spouse and parent, as a dedicated worker, as a positive role model for your children, as a productive member of the community, as a true friend, as an honest person. Regardless of the transgression of another vow to be the better person- admit fault, acknowledge flaws, recognize imperfections, learn from your own life choices and pledge to not make the same mistakes. Refocus on your abilities to make this world better for yourself and those around you. Do not waste precious time fuming over one who is not worthy of your respect. Each time a negative thought comes to mind about this person do not dwell on it but instead make a conscious effort to give a well deserved compliment, do a favor , remember a person who has positively impacted your life, laugh out loud, help when it is not expected, appreciate what you have in your life. Never forget that you are the one in control of your emotional well being!

Amanda Custer

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Salisbury Fire Department at Work!

Richie Denninger and I visited our friends at the Salisbury, North Carolina Fire Dept. this week.  As you know, they lost two of their own in March. Our Team has been honored to visit them on several occasions to represent you and to lend our assistance. They always ask how all of you are doing and send their best wishes. While in Salisbury on Tuesday, we responded to a fire with them in a duplex residential structure. The first-in companies encountered heavy smoke conditions with fire blowing out of the rear of the structure. They quickly made entry, with RIT teams in place, and made short work of this one.  Since we first met the Salisbury firefighters and their command officers, we have been always impressed with their spirit and professionalism and today was no different. Our hats are off to the men and women of the department for keeping the faith and moving their department forward in the most difficult of times for them.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

CFD Family Day a Success!

The second annual CFD Family Day was held today at the North Charleston Fire Museum with a large group in attendance.  As has become the norm, the CFD Wives' Club did an outstanding job with providing good food and a great time for all.  Thanks ladies for your hard work to make this day a success!
Wonder what Robbie's getting for Christmas??!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What a Night!

The second meeting of the CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" program was held tonight at the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum with 50 people in attendance.  We were pleased to have Chief Carr attend to welcome our retirees as we were entertained with two beautiful songs by Ms. Peggy Sineath. Peggy has long been a great supporter of Charleston Firefighters and has participated for many years with us in the March of Dimes and Carolina Children's Charity telethons with her beautiful music and voice.  We also enjoyed a wonderful holiday meal provided by A & M Brown's Restaurant in Moncks Corner.

We would also like to thank Smokey Bones Restaurant, Long Horn's Steakhouse, T-Bones Restaurant, the Olive Garden Restaurant, Charleston Silhouettes and A Little Bit of Everything for some great door prizes as well as Frederick's Florist for the beautiful flower arrangements for the tables.  Please remember all of these businesses for their support of this program. Nancy and Ted Jones, Chief Wilmot Guthke's daughter and son-in-law, worked very diligently with all of these businesses in gathering these door prizes.  Many thanks to them and to Grant Mishoe and Ray Bennett, of the Museum, who gave their time to be our hosts.

Last, but certainly not least, thanks to all of our retirees and their spouses or guests for attending and making this such an enjoyable event.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

CFD Family Day At Fire Museum Reminder!

THe CFD Wives' Club will present the second annual CFD Family Day at the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum, beginning at 1:00 p.m., this coming Sunday, December 14, 2008. This event is for all Charleston firefighters and their families. Food will be served and Santa will be there for the children. Please make plans to join us for a great afternoon of fun!

Happy Birthday, Lauren Mulkey & Jackie Tillman!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Remembering the Worchester 6

Today we remember the Worchester 6. Our thoughts go out to the brothers and sisters of the Worchester Fire Department on the ninth anniversary of their loss.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Excitement is in the Air!

This is the time of year to enjoy our friends and families and to celebrate the season. We have visited many stations this week and it is obvious there is much more to celebrate this year. The days of anger, mistrust and grief have been replaced with enthusiasm, optimism and hope. Chief Carr is at the helm of a department filled with renewed spirits and attitudes. While the Chief has provided the catalyst for this change, each of you is contributing your part to truly making this a great organization. Our Team is constantly amazed at your resilience and determination to overcome the loss of the Charleston 9 and to move this department forward. We have witnessed your work, both in training and on the fire ground. We have heard you speak and we have listened carefully. While the journey is long, you have all taken ownership in the mission ahead and we are excited for you. I can think of no better way to honor the memories of your fallen brothers.

Stay safe, my friends,


Monday, December 1, 2008

Charleston 9 Wooden Carving Tribute

This beautiful tribute, carved by Capt. Ricky Koger, from 200 year old heart pine, shows an eagle with its' head bowed to the Charleston 9.
It is available for sale by contacting Capt. Koger at As you can see, this is a very unique, one of a kind piece. Thanks, Capt. Ricky, for sharing it with us.

Home of Vinegar Hill Gang Burns!

Most of you know Ralph Esposito, one of our New York firefighter peers, who has given unselfishly of his time to help us since June 18, 2007. He rode to Charleston on his Harley and into the hearts of most of us during very difficult times. He has visited us several times since then to help in our program. Last Friday, while they were out on another call, the firehouse where Ralph works, known as the home of the Vinegar Hill Gang, 23 Ladder and 80 Engine, in the Harlem section, caught fire and sustained heavy damage to the second and third floors. Eight firefighters were injured while battling the blaze that saw 25 FDNY units respond. Thankfully, all firefighters, are okay. Last fall, our Team visited FDNY's counseling unit and the Harlem firehouse. The entire crew made us feel right at home. Our thoughts go out to all of them and wish them the very best during the reconstruction of their quarters. Click on the title above to read the story.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Day of Thanksgiving...

As we prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this week, l realized how thankful I am that you have allowed our Team to be a part of the Charleston Fire Department family.  We have been honored to work with each of you this year, whether in RIT or recruit training, at picnics, ball games, or special events or during your personal involvement in our program.  Thank you for your support of our efforts as we look forward to the future and the New Year.   I would like to extend a special thanks to all of my teammates, Chris Wells, Amanda Custer, Richie Denninger, Jim Zukauskas, Mark Cowell, Leann Blanche, Dr. Roxane Scott and Dr. Pat Nnadi as well as Debbie Blalock and Kirby Bond, who provide the administrative support and leadership to our mission.  I feel that I am truly blessed to work with all of them and with each of you. I wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Stay safe!


CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder to our retirees and their guest that the next meeting of the CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" program will be on Wednesday, December 10, 2008, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the North Charleston Fire Museum. We will have a great holiday meal and some surprise entertainment for you to enjoy. It was very heart warming to see many of my old friends at the last meeting and I hope that all of you will come.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Congratulations Recruits!

Twenty-two recruits will graduate on Monday, November 24, 2008 in ceremonies at the Gaillard Auditorium and take their places in their assigned companies throughout the department. Congratulations to Joseph Adams, Matt Alix, Grant Belleau, Thomas Brennan, Andy Brown, Isaiah Draper, Jeb Gersey, Brent Gunn, Christian Hallock, Ryan Henderson, Chris Jackson, George Justice, Devin Keber, Jason Ligon, Thad Morgan, Michael Pack, Matt Pileggi, James Rose, Christopher Shaw, Chad Smith, Matt Thomson, and Mike VanHorn on a job well done!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CFD Family Day at Fire Museum

The CFD Wives' Club will be hosting the second annual CFD Family Day at the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum in North Charleston on Sunday, December 14, 2008, beginning at 1:00 p.m., for all Charleston firefighters and their families. Food and drinks will be provided as well as other activities and Santa will be there for the children. We had a great turnout and wonderful time last year and hope that all of you will come to celebrate the holiday season with us.

Please Share Your Thoughts with Us.......

As all of you know, the Team has been working on the restoration of Engine 11 as a tribute to the Charleston 9 and to all Charleston firefighters. We hope that this truck will be a symbol of remembrance for the Charleston 9 and will also serve as a lasting tribute to the men and women of the Charleston Fire Department who have dedicated their lives to making this a safer community.

It has been suggested that when the truck is completed, the number on it be changed to "9". While we certainly don't have any objection, it is important to us that you share your thoughts with us. Please feel free to do so by leaving a comment here or by calling me at (843) 609-8300.

Stay safe,


Monday, November 17, 2008

"Raising Engine 11" Update!

The seats have been completed for Engine 11 and we would like to thank Mike Kornahrens, Louis Mulkey's uncle, of Grady's Upholstery in North Charleston for his time, talent and materials donated to this project.  Here are photos of one the seat backs.  This logo is on the driver's and Captain's seats and both jump seats. Engine 11 is next in line for the paint shop and will be in as soon as the truck in front of it is done. The running boards and other treadplates are going to the sandblast shop on Wednesday and will be powdercoated mirror silver before being reinstalled on the truck.  All is coming together but this has been quite a project to date!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Sympathy

It is with deep regret that we report that the Reverend William Franklin, Chaplain of the Sumter Fire Department, was fatally injured in a motorcycle-auto accident yesterday in Sumter County. Reverend Franklin was on his way to a local hospital to visit with a firefighter who was hospitalized. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Reverend Franklin's family and to our brothers and sisters of the Sumter Fire Department. Funeral services are tentatively set for 2:30 p.m. on Friday in Sumter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Important Day for the Future

Today, 23 new recruits visited the Sofa Super Store site along with several members of the Department. The purpose of the visit was to give the recruits an opportunity to understand the sacrifices of the Charleston 9 and to impress upon them the importance of the efforts to see that this never happens again. Capt. Chris Villareal and Capt. Mark Davis were on hand to share their experiences of June 18, 2007 with the recruits and all others in attendance. Both of these men are true professionals in every sense and, while we know that it was difficult for them to speak, they both reinforced the need for these recruits to prepare themselves to be a part of the future of this department. Thank you Capt. Villareal and Capt. Davis for providing the leadership that will be so important to that future and to the safety of these young men. I know that the Charleston 9 would be proud of you and so are we.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tricounty Fire Chiefs' Firefighter Fun Day set for November 22nd

The Tri-County Fire Chiefs' Association has rescheduled the Firefighter Family Fun Day at the Fire Museum for November 22, 2008. This event was originally scheduled in October but was rained out. A cook-off, tent theme contest, jump castle and popcorn stand will all be a part of the event. Set up begins a 7:00 a.m. with the start of the event set for 10:00 a.m. Anyone desiring more information can contact Scott Luedtke at (843) 693-6847.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Tribute to the Charleston 9

On Monday, November 3rd, the South Carolina State Department of Transportation will formally rename a section of Savannah Highway the “Charleston 9 Memorial Highway”. While this is certainly an appropriate gesture on the part of the State, it brings to mind what we can do to perpetuate the memory of these heroes.

First, let me say that as we visit the fire stations and participate in various meetings and events with all of you, we have noticed how many new faces we see on a daily basis. There have been many firefighters join the department since June 18, 2007. Most of these personnel never had the opportunity to know any of the Charleston 9. Actually, I only knew Capt. Billy Hutchinson personally myself. Billy and I became friends many years ago when he was a firefighter on Capt. Phil Hawkins’ crew at Station 12. I was a young Assistant Chief at North Charleston District Fire Department back then and I drove across the North Bridge to Station 12 to have supper with them regularly. I was fortunate to enjoy Billy’s cooking and his friendship for many years and I have been able to share my memories of him with his family and many other people in the last sixteen months. I’m sure many of you also have a great deal of memories of Billy, Mike, Louis, Brad, Mark, Earl, Melvin, Brandon and Frenchie that would be of great interest to the folks that have joined your ranks in the last year. What a fitting tribute to these great men to have their stories told by the friends closest to them. Our Team has worked with you and the Charleston 9 families in the last sixteen months and we have been fortunate to get to know all of the Charleston 9 through your words and memories. Thank you for sharing with us and continue to honor these men each day with sharing your memories of them with our new firefighters and to others around us.

Stay safe my friends,


Friday, October 31, 2008

Firefighters' Land & Sea Holiday (F.L.A.S.H.) Scheduled for Myrtle Beach

A vacation and golf package to benefit the families of the Charleston 9 and the Charleston Fire Department is set for November 12-16, 2008. This is going to become an annual event to benefit a firefighter cause. For more information, check out the following link:

Memories of the Past - Visions for the Future

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Walter Smalls, a gentleman who was attending a reception for the seven finalists for our Chief’s position.  He appeared to have a great interest in the fire department and as he and I talked, he shared stories of the Charleston Fire Department many years ago.  As it turns out, his father had been a Charleston firefighter in the 1920s, assigned to the truck house, which was located on John Street in those days.   He was particularly interested to know if I had ever seen a photograph taken of the firefighters lined up in the front of the truck house back during that era.  I told him that I would do some research to see what I could find.  One call to my son at the fire museum produced the photograph above. 

I met with Mr. Smalls again to share the photo with him and he was able to name each of the firefighters in the picture and explained to me what each of them did to influence him.   He was a young boy back then and his father would take him to the truck house where he got to know the firefighters there.  As we all think back over our past, I’m sure we can remember people in the fire department that were important to us.  I am also sure that the John Street “truckies” were just as proud of being a Charleston firefighter as you are.  This department has endured much over the years with the loss of our nine firefighters last year being the most difficult.  Next week, all of you will embark on a new course to take this department into the future.  The arrival of Chief Carr will be the catalyst to make this department one of which we can be proud.  However, Chief Carr cannot do this alone.  His reputation precedes him as a true leader but I am sure he would, and will, tell you that each of you are a key to the success of this department. Each one of you has a lot to offer to the future of this department. Step up, guys and girls and show your stuff! Some day you may show up in an old photograph.  What would you want for someone to say about the influence you had on them?

Stay safe my friends.

Happy Birthday, Michelle Jones and Ashley Brewington!

Chief Thomas Carr to be Sworn In on November 7th

Chief Thomas Carr will be officially sworn in as Fire Chief of the City of Charleston on Friday, November 7, 2008, The ceremony will be held on the front lawn of the Gaillard Auditorium beginning at 2:30 p.m. All firefighters and their families are cordially nvited to attend along with the general public. Please come out to welcome Chief Carr and his family to the Charleston Fire Department family.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

CFD Retirees, Mark Your Calendars!

The next CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" program meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 10, 2008, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Fire Museum in North Charleston. We will have a special holiday meal and entertainment for you to enjoy. More information will be sent to you by mail several weeks before the meeting. We hope to see all of you there!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Charleston 9 Memorial Highway to be Dedicated

The South Carolina Department of Transportation will formally dedicate a section of Savannah Highway the "Charleston 9 Memorial Highway" in a ceremony scheduled for Monday morning, November 3, 2008, beginning at 11:00 a.m. The ceremony will be held in front of the Sofa Super Store site. All firefighters, families and the general public are invited to attend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And the Work Goes On ........!

Work is progressing on the "Raising Engine 11" project. Here are somes photos of our recent progress. The running boards and other diamond plate has been removed for blasting and powdercoating and we are just about ready to send the truck to the paint shop. The seats are almost ready and we need to change the tires and prep the pump for painting and then it will go to the body and paint shop. The Team is excited about putting it back together!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Book from the Movie " FireProof" is Now Available!

Many of you have seen the movie "Fireproof" and the book featured in the movie, "The Love Dare", is now available at
Wal Mart.

Monday, October 6, 2008

National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service

The Charleston Firefighter Support Team traveled to Emmittsburg, Maryland this past weekend to accompany the Charleston 9 families, as well as many of our firefighters and their families, to the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service at the National Fire Academy. The weekend was complete with activities for the Charleston 9 families to meet other survivors of fallen firefighters to share their thoughts and feelings and concluded with a most beautiful Sunday morning service to honor 110 of our nation’s bravest. We were truly honored and thankful to be there for this special event.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Fun Day at Fire Museum

The Tri-County Fire Chiefs' Association is sponsoring the second annual Firefighter Family Fun Day to coincide with Fire Prevention Week.  On October 11th, there will be a gathering of departments in a “village” next to the North Charleston Fire Museum.  Harkening back to the days of Charlestowne Landing, each department can set up their tent and fixins’, then kick back for some good old firefighter fellowship.  The day was chosen to allow as many firefighters as possible to attend the memorial service in Emmittsburg the weekend before.

Your best firehouse cook should prepare the department specialty.  This year, each will be judged, at an individual location and each booth will be judged on the department’s chosen decoration theme.  Awards will be given for food based on taste, presentation & originality and the tent/site on theme and overall presentation.  A “Best of Show” based on the combined total score will top out the event.  Please let Scott Luedtke know by October 3rd if your department will be cooking for judging in order for the delivery schedule to be set-up. Each participant will be given a wrist band to identify them for discounted admission to the museum and to partake in the food and games.  This year, local EMS agencies will be invited, since they work so closely with the area fire departments, and next year the local law enforcement agencies will be invited.

Each department should have a game for the kids to play.  Hopefully, a jump castle or inflated slide will be there for the kids as well as discount coupon books for Tanger Outlet Mall.  There will be no vehicle exhibit.  Tangeroo may be visiting the kids on site.

Each department is asked to do the following:  

0700 - 1000  Set-up   Self-contained tent and cooking area   No electricity provided, water at museum   A game for the kids to play    Food is your fire house specialty (to be judged and eaten)   Food for 60 people (or more if you wish)     Non-alcoholic beverages for 60 people   Trash can/bags…take your trash with you please  

1145 - 1230  Food and tent judging 

1000 - 1300  Fun Day

1300 - Shut down and clean up

Come on out for a fun day, some fellowship and good times with your brothers and sisters at the 2nd Annual Firefighter Family Fun Day. Contact for more information:  Scott Luedtke @ 693-6847 

Happy Birthday, Jim Zukauskas!

Happy Birthday to our fellow Team member, Jim. Your efforts on behalf of our Team, our firefighters, and their families is what makes us glad to be a part of this effort!

Welcome, Chief Carr!

Mayor Riley introduced our new Fire Chief Tom Carr today during a morning news conference at City Hall. Chief Carr brings a tremendous amount of expertise and experience to this department and we welcome him, his wife, Ann, and daughter, Amy, to our fire department family.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Belated "Happy Birthday" to Jennifer Happ!

Apologies to Jennifer who celebrated her birthday on September 19th. We hope you had a great day!

"Raising Engine 11" Update

Pictured above are Charleston Firefighter Support Team members Richie Denninger & Jim Zukauskas at work.

Work continues on the Engine 11 project. It is just about ready to be sent to the paint shop. We are removing all of the trim, fenders, running boards and compartments so that we can prep all of the rusted areas before painting. All of the seats and the headliner are in Grady’s Upholstery Shop in North Charleston being recovered. Special thanks to Mike Kornahrens, Louis Mulkey’s uncle, and the owner of Grady’s, who has generously given his time and talent to this part of the project. Dan Schulken, a retired Charleston firefighter, and a true artist and craftsman, has offered to lend his talent and time to reletter and restripe the truck. He has been responsible for much of the lettering and striping of Charleston fire apparatus over the years and, in fact, has done some of the work on Engine 11 in the past. We are happy to have him involved. We are truly proud of this effort and hope that it will serve as a symbol to honor our firefighters, past, present, and future. Thanks to all who have contributed financially, or with their time, to this project to date

"Fireproof", the Movie

This past Friday night, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the local premier of the movie, “Fireproof” with a group of members of the department and their spouses. The movie is set in the City of Albany, Georgia and is centered around the difficulties in the relationship of a Fire Department Captain and his wife. The Captain, portrayed by actor Kirk Cameron, accepted a challenge from his father to follow a forty day plan to improve his marriage. My first impression was that it was a “chick flick” but after watching for a while, I was glad that I attended. My wife and I have since discussed it and it certainly opened my eyes. All of us have experienced some difficulty in our relationships and the past fifteen months have taken a toll on individuals and marriages. If you get a chance, take time to see this movie. I believe it will be worthwhile for you.

Stay safe, my friends,


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Noah Baity!

CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" Meeting

Left to right: Dot Hutchinson, Chief Buddy Aytes, Joe Gregorie, Ricky Koger & David Smith

The first meeting of the CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" program was held tonight at the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center. There were thirty-five people in attendance who enjoyed a buffet dinner served by A & M Brown's Barbeque in Moncks Corner. We all had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones. We were happy to have Ms. DeLora Guthke in attendance. Chief Wilmot Guthke was Chief of the Department until his retirement in 1994. It was an honor to recognize Ms. Guthke as a former "First Lady" of the department. As I looked around the room, I realized that all of the retirees in attendance had served under Chief Guthke. Another person there tonight that brought back many fond memories for me was Sammy White. Sammy was the "wheel man" in the truck company back in my younger days and I remember visiting Coming Street station and admiring the pride Sammy and all of the others there had in their equipment and job. Many thanks to all who attended tonight with special thanks to my son, Capt. Grant Mishoe and my friend, Chief Joey Roberts, who gave their time and talent to make the Museum available for us. The next meeting of the "Hooked Up" will be held in early December when the wives of our retirees will be invited to join us. The time and place for that meeting will be announced near the end of November. We hope to have many more of our retirees join us then.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ode to a Friend

Losing someone, whether expected or not, is an event that truly shakes you to your very soul.  I recently experienced that awful feeling when a friend and former clinical teammate died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident.  I think of her frequently and still can not completely accept her death, sometimes thinking she is simply on vacation and will soon return to share her compassion and unique view of life.  In the weeks since her death, I have challenged myself to make changes that allow me to better appreciate that which life has to offer. Too often we are consumed with tasks that fill up every minute of our waking time and steal the moments that should be reserved for family, friends, and ourselves.  It has said that time is a gift.  How true! I have always been a strong proponent of time management, often organizing my days around schedules, chores, and errands and taking care of others at times to my own detriment.  Since losing Becky, I have been more aware of simply letting the unnecessary things in life no longer determine how I chose to live. Laundry piling up?  Oh, well……dishes in the sink?  Too bad…..House not tidy?  It can wait……Phone call during dinner?  That is what answering machines are for…….. When I start to worry about the growing mound of ironing, streaks on the bathroom mirrors, and crumbs on the kitchen floor I ask myself, ”Did  it matter if Becky had emptied the dishwasher or cleaned off the porch on the day she died?  Did it matter to her grieving family and friends?”  Remember those who have died by honoring your life and all those who you adore.  Live fully, love hard, laugh often.  Rid yourself of negative people and influences.  Rise above ignorance. Always take responsibility for your actions. Be the best parent.  Lend a hand.  Allow nature to inspire you.  Offer hope.  Take care of yourself.  Honor those who have gone before you by making the commitment to live, not simply exist.

Amanda Custer

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"How Ya Doin'?"

This week we commemorate the loss of 343 New York Firefighters in the World Trade Center Disaster on September 11th, 2001. While we may have not known any of these men personally, we have developed a sense of understanding as to the pain this tragedy created for their families and their fellow firefighters. After the loss of the Charleston 9 last year, many of New York's finest came to our aid in the form of peer counselors and eventual friends to help us deal with our own tragedy. Many of you now know guys like big Ralph Esposito, who rode into town on his Harley and became a good friend to us all. Others followed, John Hemsley, Art Tracy, Dag Dorph, John Bruckner, George Faller, Joe Curry, Dave Gettens, Charlie James, Bob Kilkenny, Gerry Moriarty, Bob Winkler and Joe Hines and last, but not least, our own Richie Denninger, who came here to stay and become one of us. Throughout our contacts with these men, they always ask the same thing, the well-known phrase right out of New York, "How Ya Doin'?" Even though it has been some time since their last visits, they always ask about all of you and remain truly concerned about your well-being. For that, we will be forever grateful and this week we especially have them in our thoughts and wish them well.

Honor the memory of the 343 New York Firefighters and the Charleston 9 by asking yourself, How am I doing? Think it over and let us know if we can help you.

Be safe, my Friends,


Happy Birthday, Ashley Las Marias!

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Raising Engine 11" Update

Pictured above are Team Clinicians Chris Wells, Amanda Custer and Jim Zukauskas working on Engine 11.

Work is progressing on Engine 11.  We have it stripped of most of the parts, handrails, treadplate, handles, etc. that will need to be replated.  We are reconfiguring the hose bed to make a seating area for people to ride during parades and will be putting the seats and headliner in the shop this week to be recovered.  We are doing some sandblasting on the running boards and compartments this coming week in preparation for sending it to the body shop. It is turning out out be quite a project but one that will be very rewarding in the end.  We could still use some donations to help offset the expenses if anyone would like to make a contribution. Thanks to all of you that have contributed your time and money so far.

Our Salisbury Brothers & Sisters

While Richie Denninger and I were in Mooresville at the Brad Baity Scholarship fundraiser last week, we visited the Salisbury, North Carolina Fire Department. This was our third trip there since they lost two firefighters of their own in March of this year in a tragic fire. We were asked to come visit them the first time back in May to share any information we had learned from our experiences here at home. Salisbury has 40 + personnel in four stations on three shifts. During our visits, we have been able to spend time in all four stations on all three shifts as well as meeting with the entire command staff. They are facing the same difficulties all of us have been experiencing here in Charleston. They have been criticized in the media, faced an OSHA investigation and have evaluated their department from A to Z. In spite of their own struggles, they have always expressed their concerns and best wishes for all of you. They are a great group of men and women and we have been honored to work with them and to represent all of you in our visits. We are looking forward to returning to see them soon. If any of you are in the area, it would be worthwhile for you and for them to stop and pay them a visit.

"Fireproof, the Movie"

The events of the past year have brought much strife to all of us. The strain on relationships continues to be difficult for many of you. A new movie, "Fireproof", is being released in theatres on September 26. The story line involves firefighters and the difficulties they face in their marriages brought on by the job. View the trailer for what will be an important look at the lives of firefighters and their families.

Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship

Richie Denninger and I attended a picnic in Mooresville, North Carolina last week with Brad Baity's family. The picnic was to raise funds for the Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship Fund. It was an honor to be there and to spend time with Brad's Mom and Dad, Dot and James, his brother, Jimmy, and his sister, Sharon.

The Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship recognizes a senior high school student from the Mooresville Graded School District for his/her accomplishments as a model citizen of Mooresville and of this country. The scholarship is in memory of Brad, a son of Mooresville, a 1988 graduate of Mooresville High School and a genuine patriot. As a child Brad was a Boy Scout and later a police cadet, a U.S. Marine and firefighter. He was very active in his church and community and was a consummate family man. He lost his life in the Sofa Super Store fire on June 18, 2007, along with eight other brave Charleston firefighters. Brad was 37 years old. In addition to his Mooresville family, Brad left behind his wife, Heather, his daughter, Mariah and his son, Noah, all of whom live in Charleston. Brad touched the lives of many, many people. Those who knew him best admired his unwavering devotion to God, family, country and community. He was the epitome of a true Patriot, someone driven by values and who gave unselfishly to help others and his country. The Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship is intended for those young adults who exemplify the same qualities.

Many of you were close friends with Brad and he surely exemplified the qualities of the candidates for this scholarship. If you would like to make a contribution to this fund in memory of Brad, you can do so by sending your donations made payable to the "Mooresville Excellence in Education Foundation" (M.E.E.F.) c/o Chris Baker, 958 Muirsfield Drive, Mooresville, N.C. 28115.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Anger - How Do You Deal With It?

Anger is a normal healthy emotion. It needs to be appropriately expressed for healthy adjustment to life’s circumstances. It can be useful or disruptive. This emotion can vary in intensity, duration and frequency. Physiological changes are also associated with anger—these include tension, tightness, clenching, heart palpitations, headaches, fatigue as well as impulsive or explosive behaviors. Any of these may show us that our emotions are aroused in an angry state. These are signs that also provide the basis for recognizing and taking steps to manage our anger—that is, to be aware of it, identify its triggers, and understand our stressors, anxieties and frustrations. Then we can develop techniques, that through mindful practice, empower us to manage it, allowing us to deal effectively with life’s challenges and responsibilities.

Interested in more information pertaining to anger or any other counseling issue? Contact Amanda Custer or Jim Zukauskas with the Charleston Firefighter Support Team. Amanda can be reached at (843) 609-8641 and Jim can be reached at (843) 609-8640.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up!" Program

The Charleston Firefighter Support Team has begun a new program to involve the retirees of the CFD in the future of the department.  Your contributions to this department have been instrumental in the foundation that will carry the Charleston Fire Department forward in the coming years.  You have, individually and collectively, given your dedicated service to the department and this community and, for that, we are very grateful. 

We believe it is important that a forum be created to give you the opportunity to stay involved, and informed, so that the present generation of firefighters can learn from you.  You all possess a wealth of knowledge and experience that would be helpful to them all.  Secondly, we would like to provide a place for all of you to come together to renew old friendships and to make new ones while keeping up with the progress of the Department that has been an important part of your lives. Our program, “Hooked Up”, is designed to keep you connected to the department and its’ future while we benefit from your past experiences.

With that in mind, we would like to take this opportunity to invite all CFD retirees to the first “Hooked Up” meeting of the Charleston Fire Department Retirees beginning at 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, at the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum located behind the Tanger Outlet Mall in North Charleston. A BBQ buffet will be served and, after a short meeting, you will all be given a tour of the Museum. Please call me at (843) 609-8300 or email me at as soon as possible to let me know if you can attend.  We will be sending you more information by mail this week. We hope to see all of you there.

Massage Anyone?

The Team has made arrangements with Cheri Keller of the Natural Health Clinics here in Charleston to provide ten minute massages to our firefighters. Cheri is employed by a group of local chiropractic doctors to provide you with an introduction to other services available to you. You can contact Cheri at (843) 830-5648 or (843) 406-4977 to schedule a time that she or a staff member can come by the firehouse and provide these massages to your company. Please have the Captain or one person designated for your crew contact her as scheduling for all who are interested may take some time. These massages are available to you at no cost. Please call me at (843) 609-8300 if you have any problem contacting Cheri.

When the Blogs Aren't Enough

Our Team members are regular readers of the various Fire Service blogs available to us all. It is obvious that they provide a great deal of important information on current events and developments in the Fire Service. Additionally, they are a place where we can exchange ideas and opinions and express our thoughts on issues involving the Fire Service in our community. Thank you to the many editors of the sites who strive to keep their sites informative and professional. As a Team that works diligently to provide support to our firefighters, we believe that there are some folks who continue to use these blogs to air their grievances or displeasure with various issues without any resolution. While we certainly believe expressing these opinions is an important function of the blogs, we also believe that some of you may benefit from being able to talk privately about what bothers you. We know there is a need present among our firefighters and we know that we can help you personally. We are dedicated to improving the emotional health and well-being of you and your family and encourage you to call us at (843) 609-7013 to talk to one of our counselors. It is a no obligation call and we look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The CFD Wive's Club

During the graduation of the recruit class today, the CFD Wives’ Club provided refreshments for all who were there. When I heard of their involvement, I was not surprised. The Support Team has had the privilege of working with these women during the last year and they have never let us down. They have been involved in many projects and activities to include the Fire Museum Day in December for all CFD families, the annual Charleston Christmas parade, the Carolina Children’s Charity, and the CFD 9 Remembrance Picnic. They have attended ball games, hockey games and any other event they could to promote the Department and, most importantly, their guys. They have answered our call for help, every time, and we are proud of them and proud to be associated with them. I encourage any CFD wife who has not been a part of this organization to attend their next meeting on August 16 at the Salvation Army Conference Center on Ashley River Road to see what they have to offer. As for you guys, encourage your wives to attend their meeting. Their organization is growing and is becoming an important part of the future of this department. You can check out their website at

Congratulations Recruits!

Today marked a great day as nineteeen recruits graduated from training to take their places in the ranks of the Charleston Fire Department. They successfully completed training despite extreme temperatures and humidity in the last two weeks. Congratulations to Kevin Andrews, Steve Azzarella, Daniel Chavous, Charles Delk, Bobby Duggar, Corey Godwin, Albert Graziani, Shane Hayre, Devin Hodgman, Matthews Jones, Matt Klinker, Tom Leslie, John McCambridge, Klye Minasian, Alfonso Procopio, Christopher Tennyson, Ed Thompson, Dustin Wall and last, but not least, Annie Mcnelis. Annie has a special place in our hearts as she worked so diligently with all of us in planning the CFD 9 Memorials in June.

To the graduates, each of you is to be commended for your hard work and dedication. You bring with you much experience, previous training and most importantly, spirit, to become an important part of a great department. You will follow in the footsteps of many men and women who have worked hard to make this department a force to deal with in the fire service of this nation. Be proud of the fact that you are a part of history being made as this department moves forward.

Remember, the Support Team is available to you and your family at any time.

Stay safe and look our for each other!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Shelly Bolick!

Peanut Butter

Several posts ago, (The Good Old Days”), I wrote about a friend of mine, Fred Walker, a man whom I have known for many years. He is 86 years of age and lives in a nursing home in Summerville. Each time I see him, he continues to teach me what’s important in life. He has lived a long and good life. He has always been an avid sportsman, successful in his work life, raised a great family and was married to the love of his life for 60 plus years. He is loved by many people, including me, and has never known a stranger. Mrs. Walker passed away last month and he is now settled in where he will spend the remainder of his life. Everyday things that once troubled him are a distant past. I suspect he is lonely, although he would never admit it, is sad, but would never show it. He tells me that we should be thankful for all that we have, especially friends and family, and to enjoy life to the fullest. As I prepared to leave him yesterday, I asked if there was anything I could do for him or anything I could get him. He pondered a short moment and said,” I need some crunchy peanut butter”. I thought for a minute and realized that here was a man that had lived well into his eighties, and had a right to ask for anything and it was simply peanut butter that would make him happy. Once again, he showed me what is important. Not great material things or lots of money but simple things that make us smile. I believe we all can learn from this that if we live good lives, love our families and respect our friends we too will have happiness in our lives regardless of the trials and tribulations we may face. Be safe my friends, I think I’m going to make myself a peanut butter sandwich.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Raising Engine 11" Update

Work is progressing on the Raising Engine 11 project.   Chief Roberts found the old bell for it and has returned it to its’ rightful place and we thank him for it.  We have secured much of the small equipment needed to put it back in its’ original form.  PPG Industries is donating the paint and supplies to refinish the body and Retired Battalion Chief Jeff Holbird of the North Charleston Fire Department has agreed to lend his talent in painting the truck.  Chief Holbird is a master with a paint gun and we are excited that he is helping us out.  He is known in this area as a builder of many street rods and other cars and one of his paint jobs recently sold on the Barrett Jackson Auction program.  Liberty Art Works in Missouri has agreed to produce two chrome ceremonial axes with “Remembering the Charleston 9” emblem to be mounted on the truck.  We intend to disassemble the truck during August.  We are taking all of the running boards and other tread plate off of it to sandblast and powder coat in a high gloss silver.  We will also powder coat many of the brackets, handles, rails and other accessories courtesy of the Austin Services powder coating shop in Summerville.  Let us know if you would like to contribute a buck or a hand.  It is a worthwhile project. Click on the "Raising Engine 11" photo in the right column of this page for more details on this project.

Where are You?

We know, without question, that many of you are hurting. You have faced much in the past year. The loss of your nine brothers, every aspect of the Department being called into question, many retirements and resignations and a large number of “outsiders” joining your ranks. New procedures and equipment coming at you as hard as a three alarm fire with much more to come. Our Team has been with you throughout it all and we are paying attention. Many of you have sought assistance in our program. A great number of family members have asked for help as well. We have watched you at fires, been with you during training, visited you in your stations, during the day and late at night. We have come to your homes, accompanied you to the emergency room, stood with you during the memorial services, consoled you and you have consoled us. You have disagreed with each other and counseled each other. Many of you have been actively involved in our program and, because of you, others have sought our help. Regardless of where you are in this process, we can all do more to help one another. If something in on your mind, if something is troubling you, give us a call. It is truly a no obligation call. We will respond to you. Call us at any time on our help line (843) 609-7013. You can help yourself while helping others.

Recruit Class in Progress!

This past Tuesday, Richie Denninger, Amanda Custer and I spoke to the new recruit class about our program and what we had to offer them. It was exciting to see a class of nineteen new firefighters, each hoping to become one of Charleston’s own. As we walked around the parking lot afterwards, we noticed license plates from quite a few different states, a sign that there is a great interest all around for firefighters to join this department. It was good to hear that all of these recruits have received Fire Academy 1152 certification prior to coming here. This will give them a good sound basis to build on and something to bring to the table, as they continue to prepare to take their places in the companies. To the new recruits, take pride in being a part of a department in transition as Charleston moves ahead, knowing that you are joining a great group of men and women who have faced the worst of times in the past year but have continued to answer the call to do their duty. To the other members of the department, reach out to these recruits, share your experiences, your training, your beliefs and, most importantly, your spirit as you all work to make the Charleston Fire Department an example for the fire service of this nation.

Be safe, my friends.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What's in a Hug?

Today, the Team had the honor of accompanying the Charleston 9 families and many of you to the memorial service at the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association’s Annual Fire-Rescue Conference in Myrtle Beach. One gesture that I saw over and over again today was firefighters greeting one another with a hug. As I thought back over the years, I don’t believe that I have ever noticed that at all or certainly not as much. We have all experienced much grief and heartache this past year and I believe we have developed an ability to be more open with our feelings, concern and respect for each other because of it. There seemed to be no boundary to this show of emotion as firefighters from all over South Carolina and many other states came together this week in Myrtle Beach to train, to share ideas, to learn, and most importantly, to support each other. It was a great gathering and Charleston was well represented by our CFD 9 families, our honor guard, our escorts, our instructors, our officers, firefighters and the CFD Wives' Club members and their families. I know that the Charleston 9 would have been proud of them all, we sure were.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We Are Charleston!

In 1970, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia suffered a terrible tragedy when their football team was killed in a plane crash while they were returning home from a game in North Carolina. In 2006, a movie, "We are Marshall" was released in theaters to memorialize those players and to document Marshall University's recovery from this unprecedented event. This week, I participated in a conference held here in Charleston that discussed the work to plan and carry out the Charleston 9 Memorial in June, 2007. The following scene from the movie portrayed Matthew McConaughey, as Coach Jack Lengyel, as he spoke to his team at the gravesite of the Marshall players. As I watched this clip during the conference, I thought it was important to share it with all of you.

The North Charleston Fire Museum is putting on a fire muster on August 23rd. This is a good way to show your spirit in these events. This is the first fire muster of this type to be held in South Carolina since the 1880's. Go to for more information.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Any time you think we aren't making progress, check this photo out!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In Sympathy

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Capt. Milton Green in the loss of his mother.

"The Good Old Days"

Fred Walker & Gerald Mishoe 1967

I had the pleasure this week to visit an old friend of mine in a local nursing home. He is 86 years old now and has been a surrogate father to me since I was a teenager. During my high school years, when many of my friends were drinking or turning to drugs, he kept me busy working on race cars or fishing and hunting. We talked about the good old days, when life was much simpler, and the memories flooded back for us to enjoy once again. He reminded me that we create the “good old days” as we live our daily lives. Sure, we face tragedies, the loss of our 9 brothers and the loss of his wife of 65 years, two weeks ago, but the memories of them are what sustain us to move on. So, take some time today, to hug your wife or play with your children. Call your mother, your brother or sister, or a good friend, and let them know you’re thinking about them. Put some memories in your “good old days” bank and look forward to the days when you can revisit them to remind yourselves of what life is all about.

Stay safe, my friends.


Happy Birthday, Mandy Rivers!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pen to Paper

Yesterday, a young lady stopped by my office to ask about the Raising Engine 11 project. She shared with me that she has lost her husband several years ago after he suffered an unexpected heart attack. She said that after the loss of the Charleston 9, as a young widow herself, she felt a special connection to the wives of the 9. During the procession to the coliseum, she stood at the roadside with her six year old daughter. She taught her daughter to stand and place her hand over her heart to show respect for our heroes. She and her daughter talked about the project this week and the child wants to contribute a portion of her weekly allowance to “Raising Engine 11”.

As I have thought about our conversation and her gesture, it became clear to me that we are all very fortunate, fortunate to live in a time when respect for heroes in our lives is an important part of teaching our children and the next generation the value of a good life.

You have faced much difficulty in the past year. The loss of our friends has been terrible to bear. The intense examination of every aspect of this department has been brutal with more than enough criticism to go around. Throughout it all, you have held your heads high, never wavering from the call to do your duty. I have kept my opinions mostly to myself, for operations is not what our Team is about. But, as an old firefighter myself, I certainly have an opinion so, for at least this time, I want to share it with you. The Charleston Fire Department is beginning a rise to the top. Great things are on the horizon and each of you is a part of making this department a model for all other departments in this nation. It will not be an easy road but one for which the past year has prepared you. If the fire service is where your heart is, this is the place to be. Let’s honor our fallen brothers by giving it our all. Stay the course and keep the faith. I believe you will be glad you did.

And by the way, there are many, many people in this community who care about you and your families. You are their heroes and ours too.

Stay safe, my friends!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How to Stay Young

1. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
2. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
3. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity,


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away!

George Carlin

Happy Birthday Wendy Winn!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fun at Brittlebank Park

On Sunday, June 22, 2008, the Team had the pleasure of participating in the first annual Charleston 9 Commemorative Family Picnic at Brittlebank Park.

There was great food and many activities to include the Fun Bus, a jump castle, dunking booth, horseshoes and volleyball. Thank you to the CFD Wives' Club for a spectacular job and all of their hard work in providing this great time for all.

We are already looking forward to next year!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ashlee Needs Your Help!


Hello everyone - Ashlee is participating in the American Heart Association's Heart Walk. Last year, she raised $600. Visit the link below to visit her web page. Any donations will be greatly appreciated. For those of you who know Ashlee, you know what a joy and blessing she is to us. We feel so lucky that she was able to have the needed heart surgery that she had. Its donations that make procedures like that possible. Check out her web page!

Thanks! Eran and Sharon


The Charleston Firefighter Support Team is dedicated to the emotional health and well-being of the Firefighters and Families of the Charleston Fire Department.

We can be contacted on our 24-Hour Help Line at 843-609-7013. All counseling services are free of charge to any Charleston Firefighter or a family member.

Our offices are located at 2090 Executive Hall Road, Suite 170, Charleston, S.C. 29407 off of Savage Road near the I-526 0verpass.



Jim is originally from Connecticut. He is a licensed professional counselor and a Team Clinician with a special interest in Trauma and Stress management and brings over twenty-five years of experience to the table.


Amanda is one of our Team’s clinicians who serves in a counseling role for firefighters or family members seeking the services of our team. Amanda’s twenty years of experience in the field is invaluable to the team.


Chris serves as the Peer Support Clinician and Family Liaison Supervisor for the DMH on the Charleston Firefighter Support Team. Chris has been in the mental health field for over twenty years, specializing in providing services to people who have experienced traumatic events.


Richie serves as the Peer Support Supervisor for the team and is retired from the FDNY after twenty-seven years of service. He works with the peers who visit the firehouses to offer support to the on-duty personnel. Richie remains an active member of the Counseling Services Unit of the FDNY.


Mark has worked in the substance abuse field for over thirty years. His dedication to helping people with alcohol or other substance abuse problems stems from his own ongoing recovery from alcoholism that began in 1967. In addition to being a member of the team, Mark is Director of Charleston County’s Department of Alcohol and other Drug Services, The Charleston Center.


Gerald serves as the Project Manager for the South Carolina State Firefighter’s Association’s Counseling Support Unit and the coordinator of the Team. Gerald is the former Assistant Chief of the North Charleston District Fire Department and has been involved with the South Carolina Fire Service for over thirty-years.


The Charleston Firefighter Support Team was organized in July, 2007 through a collaborative effort of the South Carolina State Firefighters' Association and The South Carolina Department of Mental Health. It is founded on the principles of hope, healing, respect and recovery. All counseling services are free of charge to members of the Charleston Fire Department and their families. The strictest code of confidentiality is enforced as described and established by Law in the State of South Carolina Privacy Practices of Protected Health Information. (PHI)

The Support Team is designed to provide Advocacy Education and Treatment through its Peer Outreach, Family Liaison Program and Counseling Support Unit. As public servants, our commitment must be to the whole agency and to the citizens of our community. We uphold this commitment through diligence, honesty, personal responsibility and the highest professional standards. Staff members respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes and opinions that differ from their own without judgment or disdain; and do not attempt to impose their own values and beliefs.

The Primary Goals of the Team are to develop services that are easily accessible and available, ensure that services meet the needs of firefighters and their families, and identify those in most distress and respond effectively. The Team will achieve these goals through a commitment to excellence and the highest respect for integrity, unique culture, and traditions of the firefighting community.


A Tribute to Charleston Firefighters

Engine 11 is a 1961 Model C85 Mack that was placed in service in the Charleston Fire Department in December, 1960. Many former and current Charleston Firefighters rode this truck during their careers. It was retired from service in early 1991 after over 30 years of service and has been in storage at Stoney’s Old Time Firehouse in Colleton County since that time.

The Charleston Firefighter Support Team had been searching for a fire engine that could be restored and used as a public fire education and event/parade truck to honor the Charleston 9 and all Charleston Firefighters, current and retired, for their dedication and service to our community.

The Team has acquired Engine 11 and is beginning a project to restore it to its original condition. Anyone wishing to contribute financially to this project can make their donations to “Raising Engine 11”, c/o Charleston Firefighter Support Team, 2090 Executive Hall Road, Suite 170, Charleston, South Carolina 29407. Anyone wishing to contribute their time and talent to help with this restoration can contact Gerald Mishoe at (843) 609-8300 or at .


This is the new Charleston Firefighter Support Team blog. We will make every effort to keep you informed of important events and dates related to our Team and our firefighters. Please feel free to leave any questions, thoughts or concerns that you have. We will make every effort to respond to you in a timely fashion.


The Charleston Firefighter Support Team provides an array of services designed to meet the needs of personnel and families of the Charleston Fire Department.

The following services are available:

Crisis Intervention - Attending to those in need of immediate and critical support.

Individual Counseling - One-on-one counseling to address issues identified as causing undue stress and emotional upset and to seek viable solutions to these issues.

Family Counseling - Meeting with fire department personnel and their families to promote unity and strength within the family.

Couples’ Counseling - Addressing those issues unique to the needs of a committed relationship.

Group Counseling - Using the power of peer support to tackle issues and together seek solutions.

Children’s Counseling - Working with children based on their developmental stage to provide a safe environment to discuss any concerns, promote confidence, and increase self-control.

Medical Assessment - Assessing the need for and monitoring medications.

Community Outreach and Social Support - Participating in activities, meetings, and events outside of the office to provide support and education. We are available to provide services in the office, in schools, in the home, or in the stations. Phone consultations are available for additional support.