Sunday, April 29, 2012

CFD Recruits to Graduate!

The City of Charleston Fire Department is proud to announce the graduation of Recruit Class 11-02 on Friday, May 4, 2012, beginning at 10:00 a.m., at the International Longshoreman’s Hall located at 1142 Morrison Drive in Charleston.  This graduation completes 26 weeks of hard work and training for these men to join the ranks of the CFD. Come out and help us welcome them into the CFD family! 

Thoughts & Prayers for a Friend

A good friend, Nancy Jackson Ward, was seriously injured this weekend while riding her motorcycle in North Charleston. Nancy rides with the Patriot Guard and has participated in many events in support of our firefighters and our military personnel. She is an avid supporter of our Team and we wish her the best as she recovers. Please keep Nancy in your thoughts and prayers.

Second Chances............................

Today, we worked on the “Big John” project until I left to take Engine 8 to an event at the Fire Museum.  As I drove to the Museum, I began to think about all of these old fire trucks and wondered why they were so important to me.  Well, I realized that I have a lot in common with these old trucks.  In 2007, I was given an opportunity to “come out of retirement” to join a group called the Charleston Firefighter Support Team.  I have been blessed to be a part of a dedicated group of clinicians and peer counselors as we work to assist our firefighters and their families on a daily basis.  I know I can speak for all of my teammates in saying we are honored to be a part of this effort. 

Personally, being a member of this Team has given me an opportunity to hopefully make some contribution to the future of our firefighters long after I thought I was done.  So, I hope that we are giving these old fire engines the same opportunity to, once again, contribute when their days appeared to be done.   Whether they are at a firefighter’s wedding, rolling in a parade, standing proud at a fund raiser or car show, making children smile at a birthday party, or taking a firefighter to his final resting place, these old trucks continue to serve, in their own way, to honor those who have driven or ridden on them over the years.  

I am pretty sure that if they could talk, they would be thankful that they too are once again a part of this business we call the Fire Service. 

Be safe, my friends!


Friday, April 27, 2012

"Fight for Air Climb" Coming in July!

Charleston Fire Department Assistant Engineer Sean Harshaw is organizing a Charleston Fire Department Team for the American Lung Association's "Fight for Air Climb". The Team, appropriately named Charleston Firefighters, will include anyone on our department, as well as any neighboring department or visiting firefighter who would like to participate with them. We are honored to be able to assist Sean and the other CFD members who will be on the Team.

This year's event is much more personal to us all as our department is supporting CFD Battalion Chief John Winn. Chief Winn is presently battling Mesothelioma and we would love to have a strong representation and participation on his behalf. Sean and I are on the planning committee for this event and we are asking for your support in two ways; join the Team as a climber and go to the American Lung Association’s “Fight for Air Climb” event page and/or contribute to the “Charleston Firefighters” Team as a donor.  

We have a true opportunity to show our support for our good friend and Chief and contribute to a great cause as well.

Visit the link at to join the Team and/or contribute your donations to the climbers!

Your support and participation will be sincerely appreciated!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Team Training Held Today!

CFD members George Gardiner, Bryan Kleskie and Pete Salvo join Team Clinician Amanda Custer  in class discussion.

Today, we held an all day training session for our Peer Counselors on the Charleston Firefighter Support Team.  Our Team clinicians, Chris Wells, Amanda Custer, and Sarah Braswell each presented some excellent information and they were joined by Doug Farmer of the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and Esther Hennessy of the Mobile Crisis Unit of the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center in making it a productive day.  We enjoyed all of the information shared and spirited discussion created by all.  Special thanks to the Peer Counselors in attendance who took time from their busy schedules to participate in the class.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Forever in Our Hearts" Decals Available!

Several people have asked if they could get a helmet or window decal with the Charleston 9 "Forever in Our Hearts" logo. They can now be ordered on PayPal here on this website or you can call me at (843) 609-8300 if you are in the Charleston area. The postage is included in the price and you should receive them in 1-2 days.

The decals come in helmet size (2"), window size (4"), or 6" if you would like to display them  on your Engine or Truck.  All proceeds from the sale will go to support the "Big John" Fire Truck project. We appreciate your interest!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Charleston 9 Fifth Year Tribute Design

We have been working with a graphic artist for several months to design an appropriate logo to honor the Charleston 9 as we approach the 5th year observance of the loss of our brothers.  As we move forward from here, we are promoting a motto of “Forever in Our Hearts” to always remember the Nine and their sacrifice.

We are mindful that it is important to remember our past while looking forward to our future, hence the “Memories of the Past –Visions for the Future” theme in the design.  That theme is depicted with Engine 11 representing the past while Engine 115 stands as a symbol of the future of our department.  

T-shirts can be ordered on this website or by stopping by our office and will be available for delivery within two weeks.  Order now to get yours first!

Special thanks to Susan Everitt of fooGraphics on Daniel Island for her design and dedication to this effort and to Diane French for her love, support, and advice.

Initial proceeds from the sale of these shirts and decals will go to support the “Big John” project.

Kilts & Kegs for the Charleston Nine

Charleston Fire Department Local 61 has partnered with Charleston Beer Works and the Charleston Police Pipes & Drums to bring you a fun and unique, firefighter-themed fundraising event. 

The pipe and drum band is one of the most iconic and popular fire department traditions and Local 61 is eager to incorporate this tradition into a memorable and fitting event to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the Sofa Super Store Fire which claimed 9 of our brothers.

The event will kick off at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16th, at Charleston Beer Works on King Street and will go until the lights go out. The event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Tickets are $20 prior to the event and $25 at the door and can be purchased online by visiting or at the door on the day of the event. Beer Works will be offering food and drink specials for those attending the event. There will be live music throughout the night provided by local cover band Midlyfe Crisis. The Charleston Police Pipes & Drums, joined by the CFD's own Bagpiper Robbie Barrineau, will be featured as the main event, performing traditional police and fire pipes and drums songs. The CFD Honor Guard will present the colors that evening in honor and remembrance of the Charleston Nine. The Charleston Firefighter Support Team will be showcasing some of their restored fire apparatus including Charleston Nine Memorial Dragster. We will also have Charleston Nine 5th Anniversary Memorial T-Shirts, decals and patches for sale. We will also be having raffles and other activities, so come on out for a great night and support a great cause.

All proceeds from the Kilts & Kegs fundraiser will go to Local 61's Charleston Nine Memorial Project. 

For more information, including discounted hotel rates and how to buy tickets for the event, visit the Local's website at 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Truck 104 A Receives Unit Citation!

The A-Shift Crew of Truck 104 recently received special recognition in the form of a Unit Citation for their work at a fire on Society Street in downtown Charleston on December 9, 2011. Click on the photo and read the account of their actions. Congratulations guys for a job well done!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Stroll in the Park, Well Not Exactly!

Karen Johnson, SFD, Stephanie Julazedah, NCFD, Sarah Case CCFR, Laura Kelley and Marie McCulley, AFD, race to the finish!
Hats off to the "Women Firefighters of the Lowcountry" for their participation in the Annual Charleston Bed Race  today in Hampton Park! It was an exciting afternoon as the WFOL did their part to raise a bunch of money for the "Kids Kicking Cancer" campaign. You girls rock!

Two Old Friends, On the Road Again!

Yesterday, as we rumbled down the interstate on the way to Mt. Pleasant for the Benefit for Billy, I was taken by in time to 1976 when we took delivery of Engine 8 at the North Charleston District Fire Department.  It was our first new truck in the District in quite a while as it came with Truck 9, a 100 aerial ladder with a matching Century cab.  They were our pride and joy and they both served for a long time roaming the streets of the District battling mayhem and madness.  Little did I know that after 35 years, we would cross paths again, working together,  maybe not battling so much mayhem and madness, but still serving our firefighters and our community and hopefully creating some happiness and good work along the way.

To all my young firefighter friends out there, savor every moment on the job for I promise they will sustain you later down the road! 

Stay safe,


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Meet Our New Balloon Twister!

Today, we were joined at the Benefit for Billy by our new Team "Balloon Twister", Heather Ferri.  Heather is a  talented young woman, who can "twist" balloons into over 100 cartoon characters, action figures and animals. She brings a whole lot of happiness with her when she comes and kept the kids, big and little, smiling all afternoon with her talent.  Look for Heather to be with us at future events. By the way, how many Teams do you know that have their own "Balloon Twister"?

The Benefit for Billy A Great Success!

Today, we joined the Red Knights Motorcycle Club, the Women Firefighters of the Lowcountry, and a lot of good friends for the "Benefit for Billy" in Mount Pleasant.  After a slow start with the weather, the sun came out and provided us with a beautiful afternoon for this event to raise money to help our friend, Billy Topping.   Billy was in attendance and it was good to see him out.  Thanks to all who were there to support Billy and Chris and this great cause. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Beginning of a New Journey.......

Last night, we wrote another chapter in the story of the "Big John" project as the Old Fort Fire Department transferred the truck to Chief Winn and our Team. Many of Chief Winn's friends and family joined him and our OFFD friends for a great meal and a memorable night. Chaplain Eddie Driggers, of the Coastal Chaplaincy, led a prayer and blessed the truck and the project to good service as we all took part in this very special moment. We are working hard on our goal to roll this restored truck out at the South Carolina State Firefighters Fire Rescue Conference in Myrtle Beach in June. If anyone would like to contribute to this great cause, you can contact me at (843) 609-8300. We hope to see many of you in June in Myrtle Beach! 

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, Let's Go Racing!

The Women Firefighters of the Lowcountry are locked and loaded for the Camp Happy Days-Kids Kicking Cancer "Charleston Bed Race" set for this Sunday in Hampton Park! Event starts at 1:00 pm. Come out and cheer the girls on!

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Benefit for Billy" Set for This Saturday!

Just a reminder that the "Benefit for Billy" is set for this Saturday, April 14, beginning at 12:00 noon, at the Moultrie Middle School on Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant.  Lots of activities are planned including games,  displays of fire apparatus, an auction of some great items, a "balloon twister" and some great food. 

The benefit is for Billy Topping, a retired firefighter, who is paralyzed due an infection in his spine. All proceeds will go to help Billy and his wife complete the alterations to his home to accommodate his disability.  Please come out and join us for a fun day and to help Billy as he continues to recover. Your support will be sincerely appreciated!

Charleston Bed Race Coming Up!

The 3rd Annual Charleston Bed Race to raise money for Camp Happy Days - Kids Kicking Cancer, will be run this coming Sunday, April 15, beginning at 1:00 p.m., at Hampton Park in Charleston.  The Women Firefighters of the Lowcountry has entered a race bed and they invite you to come out and cheer them on. It will be a fun time as entries beat and bang their way to the finish line.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chief Ronald Hill, JIFD Retired, Passes...

It is with great sadness that we inform  you that James Island Retired Battalion Chief Ronald Hill passed away on the evening of April 6, 2012.  Chief Hill's son, Avery, is a member of the Charleston Fire Department.  

Chief Hill's wake will be held on Monday, April 9, from 6:00 pm. until 8:00 p.m., at the Stuhr's West Ashley Chapel located at 3360 Glenn McConnell Parkway with funeral services on Tuesday, April 10, at 10:00 a.m., at Fort Johnson Baptist Church.  Burial will follow on Thursday, April 12 in Fisher, Illinois.

Our most sincere condolences go out to the Hill family. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge to Return in May!

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is returning to town on May 18 & 19, 2012. Activities will begin on Friday, May 18, from 4 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the parking area across from the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center.

Billed as "the toughest two minutes in sports" that challenge, tests, and promotes firefighter fitness. Its five events - the tower climb, hose hoist, forcible entry, hose advance and victim rescue are meant to chronologically simulate an actual rescue situation and illustrate the connection between fitness and performance. 

There will also be a Kids' Challenge for ages 4-11 that replaces the tower with a jump castle and serves as a kid-friendly version of the competition. Local vendors will be selling food and drinks. 

Visit the website at for more information.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Chief Winn!

As usual, our own Chief John Winn is always thinking about others and, even in his battle with cancer, he continues to encourage us to be positive and to work to help those in need.  One of his missions during all of this is that he wants to use his situation to raise awareness of the hidden dangers of this business of firefighting.  He knows that with the proper scanning and testing as a part of a regular firefighter physical, cancers and other life-threatening illnesses can be detected early and treated accordingly. It is his wish that we join him in this campaign to raise this awareness and to improve the future and health of all of our firefighters.

To that end, we surprised him yesterday at his birthday celebration with a Mack fire engine that we will paint and wrap in a Pearl White color to use in this campaign to be sure our firefighters can get the necessary testing to prevent the progression of a life-threatening illness.  This fire engine, to be called “Big John”, will travel around our community and our state to encourage our cities, counties, fire districts and other entities to provide the necessary testing to help our firefighters.

When we set out on this journey, we planned to use our Team’s American LaFrance Fire Engine to wrap and paint but knew that we really needed a Mack Fire Truck.  Chief John always drove, and was a Captain on Macks, during his CFD career.  Thanks to our friends of the Old Fort Fire Department in Ladson, we found just the truck we needed.   Most of you in our area are familiar with the “Blue Goose”, a 1968 Mack CF 600, that was recently taken out of service at the OFFD.  Upon hearing of this truck, we approached Asst. Chief David Moore at Old Fort and inquired about purchasing the truck.  Upon hearing of Chief Winn’s wishes, he got behind our effort and we are excited to tell you that Chief Moore and the Board of Directors at Old Fort have donated this truck to be restored as “Big John”.   Chief Moore and Old Fort Board members, Lester Demsey, Larry Hood and John Kilcoyne, were all in attendance yesterday as the “Blue Goose” arrived at Chief Winn’s birthday party. 

It is difficult to find words to express our thanks for this contribution for a great cause but we sincerely appreciate the support of our OFFD brothers and sisters, their Board of Directors, and all others who have already pledged their support in this effort.  We intend to make them proud as we move forward with this project!