Sunday, June 14, 2009

Charleston 9 Remembrance Picnic Held Today!

After a long, hot morning at the 5K run, many of us gathered at Brittlebank Park on the Ashley River for an afternoon of good food and fun for all. The Annual Charleston 9 Remembrance Picnic was held with approximately 180 in attendance.

The CFD Wives' Club members have worked very hard to make this annual picnic a great success for the second year. It was exciting to see many of our active duty firefighters and a large group of our retired members. The kids were treated to a jump castle, giant slide, golf cart rides, popcorn and a very talented face painter who turned them into everything from Spiderman to a tiger.

Special thanks to Gary Griffin from WEZL for providing great music all afternoon and to the Wives' Club for a great job!

Charleston 9 5K Run a Big Success!

After much planning and organizing, the long awaited Charleston Nine 5K run was held today at Palmetto Island County Park. Nearly 700 runners and walkers turned out to make this event a great success. The blazing hot temperature did little to discouraged who came out to honor the 9. Congratulations and thanks to Local 61 for their hard work in making this a reality!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Remembering Chief Wilmot Guthke

I had the distinct honor of knowing Chief Wilmot Guthke, who served the City of Charleston Fire Department for forty-eight years, the last twenty-five as the Chief of the Department. Just as important, I have remained friends with his daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Ted Jones, and his wife, Ms. Delora Guthke. I have many fond memories of attending the South Carolina Firemens’ Association conventions where Chief Guthke and my father, J. G. Mishoe, then Chief of the St. Andrews Fire Department, would take us to participate in the activities at the conventions.

Nancy, Ted and Ms. Guthke have been very active lately, helping us with the CFD Retirees’ program and it has been nice to see them regularly again. In a phone conversation about the program last week, Nancy and I reminisced about the “old days” and she shared a very touching story about her Dad. It seems that when Chief Guthke was Chief, he received a visit one day at his office from a young black woman who had a young son who she thought needed some guidance. She asked the Chief if there was someone in the department that might be willing to mentor her son as he seemed to be falling in with the wrong crowd and was not doing very well in school. That night Chief Guthke came home and asked Nancy to go with him to visit the home of this young boy. She was reluctant at first but decided to go when her Daddy assured her she would learn something important. They traveled over to the home of the young woman and her son where he made a natural connection to the young fellow. Chief Guthke decided to become the mentor that the mother was seeking. Time passed and the mother came to visit again to ask Chief Guthke if he knew any way to help her son get financial aid or a scholarship to attend college and he told her he would look into it.

Years later, when Chief Guthke passed away, Nancy and her family went to the funeral home to attend the wake. During the visitation, she noticed a young man standing at the casket paying his respects. She approached him and introduced herself and inquired as to how he knew her father. He said that he was the young man that the Chief had mentored some years before. They spent quite a while sharing their memories of those days.

Several months later, Nancy and her mother were looking through the Chief’s papers and personal effects and they found documents showing that Chief Guthke himself had paid for the young man to attend college.

What a legacy for a soft-spoken man who obviously put others ahead of his own needs. There is a lesson here for us all and I’m sure many of you who read this have other stories of your experiences with Chief Guthke’s acts of kindness. What an example for us all to follow!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Second Annual Charleston 9 Remembrance Picnic

Don't forget to mark your calendars for June 14, 2009, from 1:00 p.m until 5:00 p.m., for the Second Annual Charleston 9 Remembrance Picnic being held at Brittlebank Park on the Ashley River in downtown Charleston. The CFD Wives' Club does a fantastic job with this picnic and we hope all of you will attend with your families to enjoy a good old-fashioned summer picnic. There will be plenty of food and games, fire trucks, the "Never Forget" Camaro race car and a jump castle and slide for the children to enjoy. Load up the children and the grandchildren and come out to share in the fellowship with us. We will look forward to seeing you all there!