Thursday, May 31, 2012

Charleston 9 Fifth Anniversary T-Shirts Are In!

The new Charleston 9 Fifth Anniversary T-Shirts are now available for shipment or pick-up. Order here on this website through PayPal to get your now!  Proceeds from the sale of these shirts will go to support the "Big John" project. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Loss of a Good Man.................

Today, we lost a good friend and a good man. Chief John Winn passed away this afternoon after a short but hard fought battle with Mesothelioma.  In addition to being a beloved friend and Chief, he was one of us. He volunteered early in our program to be trained as a Peer Counselor to help the men and women of the Fire Department receive the counseling they needed to help them during difficult times.  In addition, he worked hard to embrace all of the changes in the Charleston Fire Department in the last five years.  He once told me that it was hard to accept some of the changes but he knew that overall they were important to the safety and well-being to all of his firefighters.   He always led by example and many young men and women excelled in the Fire Service because of him.  When others doubted the effects of a counseling program, John encouraged firefighters to seek help. He was personally responsible for getting scores of our firefighters into the counseling program and was a valued member of our Team.
Personally, he was a trusted friend always willing and ready to help anyone.  Whether it was by phone or during a late night visit to Station 11, he would take the time to hear me out and offer his good solid advice.  If he disagreed with you, you would know it but you always knew where he stood and that you could count on him regardless.    

I was able to spend a good deal of time with him in the last three months as we worked on his “Big John” fire truck.  Even though he was not always able to be there, we would look over the photos of the progress and enjoy them together.   He wanted this truck to be used as a way to educate others about getting the necessary testing to find life-threatening illnesses and we pledged to him that we would carry out his wishes.   So, with a renewed commitment, we will complete this truck and begin the mission of taking John’s hopes and wishes to others.

To Debbie, J.J. and John’s entire family, we offer our most sincere sympathy.  

Rest in peace, Brother, until we meet again.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Turning the Corner............................

Many of you have been following our restoration of the "Big John" truck and today we made some significant progress as we mounted the light bars, air horns, and much of the trim.  As soon as the wrap shop finishes the cab, we will install the remaining hand rails and other trim. We are set to apply the lettering and stripes on Saturday and then on to the final touch-up. Stay tuned as we get ready to roll this truck out! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Kilts and Kegs" Event Coming Up!

The Jacksonville Fire Rescue Pipes & Drums has agreed to play at the "Inaugural Kilts & Kegs For The Charleston Nine". The event will be held on Saturday, June 16, beginning at 6:00 p.m., at the Charleston Beer Works on King Street in downtown Charleston! Special thanks to the Charleston Beer Works for sponsoring this event and to Charleston Local 61 for all the hard work in putting this together.  We are excited about being a part of this with our fire trucks and hot rod! Come out and join us for a good time!

Don't miss out on this great event! Click on the link below for more info and to get your tickets today!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Firefighter Injured in Motorcycle Accident

Firefighter Darin Kingery of the North Charleston Fire Department was involved in a motorcycle accident this weekend in Georgetown while returning from Bike Week in Myrtle Beach. Firefighter Kingery was airlifted to Grand Strand Hospital where he is ICU and listed in critical condition. Please keep Firefighter Kingery and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Exciting New Program to be Debuted Next Month!

Today, six members of our Charleston Firefighter Support Team traveled to Columbia and joined others from around the State to receive training on becoming instructors for an exciting new Behavioral Health program to be offered to all of our firefighters by the South Carolina State Firefighters Association and the South Carolina Fire Academy.  We are all very excited as this program will be debuted at our Fire-Rescue Conference in Myrtle Beach next month.   It will be the initial component of a multi-faceted effort to bring appropriate behavioral health care and training to our firefighters all over South Carolina.  All of the folks that received the training today will be a part of the initial team to begin delivering this program. 

Thanks to Frank Marker, Robbie Baldwin, Bill Haigler, Gerald Mishoe and Johnny Hackett for their commitment to making this program a reality.  Special thanks to Christopher Wells, our Peer Team clinician, for the development and delivery of today’s program.  Stay tuned for more information as this program continues to unfold.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Iron Warriors to Ride for the Children!

The Iron Warriors Motorcycle Club is sponsoring the First Annual "Christmas in July" Benefit Ride to support the Callen Lacey Center for Children in Moncks Corner. The event will be held on July 28, 2012 with  registration at 9:00 a.m. and kickstands up at 11:00 a.m.  Further information is available by contacting the Iron Warriors at  

You may also read about the work of the Callen Lacey Center by clicking on the following link:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Congratulations to Our Graduates!

Well, another year has passed and many of our fire department families are celebrating graduations.  Whether it is a preschooler, elementary, middle, high school, or college, our graduates have worked hard to reach their goals. Congratulations to all of our students and their families as they enjoy their success! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bike Rodeo & Safety Fair to Be Held with Firefighter Combat Challenge!

Bring the kids and their bikes for a doubleheader, Saturday, May 19, as the 5th Annual Bike Rodeo & Safety Fair will be held in conjunction with the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge at the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center at the Tanger Outlets. Lots of fun for children and adults alike!

Firefighter Challenge This Weekend!

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is returning to town this Friday and Saturday, 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. 

Visit the website at for more information.

Monday, May 14, 2012

North Charleston FD Getting New Rescue!

Our friends of the North Charleston Fire Department will soon place their new Pierce Rescue 207 into service. This is one serious rescue truck. Look for it to be roaming the streets of North Chucktown soon! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

So Much More Than A Fire Truck!

I’m not sure that any of us knew where this “Big John” project would take us when we started but it has quickly become far more than a restoration of an old fire truck.  In addition to being a tribute to Chief John Winn, a good man and a good friend, it has provided us with a place to make new friends, renew old friendships, and develop working relationships and support among many other departments.

The list is growing longer each day with names of those of you who are working hard to bring this project to a completion for its debut in Myrtle Beach.   But even beyond all of that, it has proven to me that if we have faith, we can make things happen.  There have been numerous times during this work that it looked like we had met our match but each time we have overcome those problems and have continued to move forward.  We have a ways to go but we are on schedule to date.

It is now back home at the Old Fort Fire Department Headquarters (my neighbors are happy) where the wrap shop will begin their work tomorrow.  If all goes well this week, we will be reassembling it, lights, sirens, air horns, grab handles and those famous Mack Bulldog emblems by next weekend. Check out the recent photos in our “Beginning of a New Journey” album on our Facebook page and stay tuned for more updates soon!  


Friday, May 11, 2012

Chief Karen Brack Named New CFD Fire Chief!

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. announced today that he has selected Deputy Chief Karen Brack, of the Eugene, Oregon Fire Department, to be the new Chief of the Charleston Fire Department. Chief Brack began her career in the Fulton County, Georgia Fire Department where she rose through the ranks to become Battalion Chief. She joined the Eugene, Oregon Fire Department  in 2007 and is currently serving as a Deputy Chief there. Chief Brack brings 30 years of experience, along with a wealth of knowledge and training, with her to Charleston. We are excited about beginning our work with Chief Brack and welcome her to the CFD family. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Riding in the Clouds.........................

Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of escorting the Iron Warriors Motorcycle Club as they rode to the Charleston 9 Memorial site to honor our fallen firefighters.  Later that night, there was a "super full moon" which apparently only happens once a year.  Our photographer for the ride, Kimberly Bryant, took a photo of Engine 8, another of Colt Roy, the local organizer of the IWMC event, and then a photo of the full moon that night. She combined all of them to come up with this great photo.  Thanks, Kim, for your talent and your contribution! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Charleston Dragon Boat Races a Huge Success!

The Local 61/CFD 'Dragon Slayers' Dragon Boat Team competed in the 2012 Charleston Dragon Boat Festival, on Saturday, May 5,  at Brittlebank Park, in Downtown Charleston. The Dragon Boat Festival is an event that raises awareness and money for cancer survivors to continue to get the help and treatment that they need. The Local 61/CFD 'Dragon Slayers' came in 3rd Place in a close championship race and ended up being one of the top fundraising teams, raising the fourth most amount of money! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Big John" Project Rolls On!

Our Chief, Our Friend, Our Mentor, Our Inspiration, "Big John" Winn
Capt. Hans Button and His Crew Get Us Started

OFFD Engineer Chastity Bigney Scraping Paint
Gerald Mishoe Stripping the Tailboard
CFD Battalion Chief Joey Roberts Reworking the Cab

St. Andrews FF Phil Clement Taking Care of the Jumpseats

Hunter Clement Removing the Tape in the Cab After Painting
C & B Fire Chief  Troy Williams Sanding the Body
We have been thrashing on the "Big John" fire truck for a month now to get it ready to make the trip to the SC State Fire-Rescue Conference coming up on June 6 in Myrtle Beach. Many thanks to all who have helped us work on making this dream a reality and will not give up on reaching our goal of completing this truck in honor of our good friend, John Winn. It has truly provided us with a place to create build new friendships, renew old ones, and to be a part of a project work that we can all be proud of. 

Regardless of department affiliation, people have come together to help Chief Winn is his campaign to increase awareness of the need for proper medical testing to protect our firefighters from life threatening illnesses. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our work.  

Iron Warriors Ride for the Charleston 9

Today, we joined the Iron Warriors Motorcycle Club for their Southeast Regional Conference being held in Charleston this weekend. The Iron Warriors are firefighters and law enforcement officers who share a passion for motorcycles and community service.  We were honored to participate in their ride to honor the Charleston 9.  With Engine 8 in the lead, we left the Sheraton Hotel in North Charleston and traveled to the Charleston 9 Memorial site where they stopped to pay their respects to our fallen heroes. From there, we traveled to the Home Team BBQ on Ashley River Road for lunch and some serious socializing. Thanks to all who attended for your support of our firefighters and our Team and special thanks to the Charleston County Sheriff's Department for a safe escort along the way! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

CFD Recruit Class Graduates!

SC State Fire Marshal Adolf Zubia chats with the newest members of the CFD! 
Today, CFD personnel joined the families and friends of Recruit Class 11-02 to celebrate their completion of 26 weeks of training to become members of the Charleston Fire Department. The keynote speakers were Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. and South Carolina State Fire Marshal Adolf Zubia.  Recruits graduating today were Kyle Bishop, Nicholas Boyer, Jason Dunigan, Thomas Haffey, Joseph Hardin, Shawn Hayes, Patrick Jones, Justin Kahle, Gary Kenneweg, Brian Mann, Ronald McGee, David Morris, Micah Murray, Xavier Passement, Keith Peterson, Michael Petro, Alex Rogers, Sean Swigart, Kyle Watkins, and Stephen Webb.

Congratulations to all of these men as they take their places in the ranks of the CFD! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Old Timer Joins Our Team!

We have recently acquired a 1946 Chevrolet fire truck to be used in our outreach programs. It is nearly all original and is in great shape for its' age. Look for it to show up to events with our other trucks in the near future! We hope it will be a real crowd pleaser!