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.