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Every now and then we get reminded of the things which are important to us our faith, our families and our friends. Today my good friend Eric Hankins who is the vice president of the fools reminded me of how important being a fool is to me. Take the time to read this great article "What's wrong with being a FOOL?"

Now I belong to a lot of great organizations, the IAFF, the IAFC, the NVFC and all of them are important to me and the American fire service. But when it comes to having a place to call home, a group where my values and beliefs match those of my friends the FOOLS certainly get about as close as any group I can think of.

Many people have the absolute wrong impression of what the FOOLS stand for. I'm proud to be a member of the fools, and count myself honored to carry one of the first 100 challenge coins for the FOOLS presented to me by our founding president Mike Gilbert.

If you're not a member, join if there's not a chapter in your area start one. Being a FOOL is all about doing the right thing the right way. Being a fool is about protecting and preserving the honor and dignity that every firefighter represents. Being a fool is a responsibility that one should not take lightly. Let me know why you're a fool and what you're fool chapter is doing to make your community a better place to live.

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Chief,
What's the active chapter for the Prince Georges County, Maryland area? I ask this, because that's where I'm headed this month. I noticed that many of the FOOLS are inactive that area. Some insight and a contact for someone would be much appreciated!

Stay Safe and Come Home
FTM-PTB

Rob
Well heck Chief, Eric is a member of our chapter, so right there it makes our community better. I have had the honor of being friends with Eric for the past 17yrs, him and I walked though the firehouse doors about the same time. I can tell you all that Eric is a shining example of what "this" (being a fool, being a fireman, the love of the job) is all about. Eric hasn't figured this out yet, but a few times over the years, when I feel the wind has been taken out of my sails (in regards to the fire service), weather it be because of polictics, mutts, lack of pride, ect, I'm sure all of you can relate in some ways, I found that a easy way to pick myself up was to give Eric a ring and just BS about the past, wonder where the time has gone, and laugh about how little we knew back when we were pimple faced "boots".
Thats what I love about being a fool, and thats what I love about being a fireman.
What does our Chapter do to better the community? The most recent mission the Nor Cal Fools has begun is to organize a fitness challenge. The Nor Cal Fools are doing this with the help and particpation of the Puget Sound Fools. How does a fitness challenge help the community you ask? Simple...being in better shape and living a healthy life style allows you to do this job better and more efficient, thus the commuinty wins.
I love being a part of this organization. Just realize though that being a Fool isn't just about coins, t-shirts, or hats. It's all about heart and the love of the job..on or off duty, it's about doing the right thing even when no one is watching.
Billy Lewis
Vice President
Nor Cal Fool
We can't make this stuff up Eric Hankins the guy who wrote the piece that you read, the guy who Billy Lewis talks about in his post if you thought he wasn't the real deal listen to this. The other day he made a grab of two children from a house fire off duty. As I have been told he saw smoke coming from a house as he was driving down the street. He stopped and was met by the mother and was told her two children were in the house he made entry and found both children and removed them from the house. They were transported to the hospital. He was also sent to the hospital to be checked out, but is fine.
Brothers and sisters that's why good firefighters are fools, it's simply an organization that represents the best of the best.
Yes I agree with both of you, Eric is the real deal. He always has his had out, not to recieve but to give. He has always been someone I look to, to judge my actions aganist and to show others what being a fireman and a FOOL is all about. Enough said, He is a good Jake...

Jason Barker,
Norcal FOOLS , Dixon Fire
Chief:

Good to hear from you again, I don't know how I missed this post. I should take a moment and catch up. Why am I a FOOL? I'm a Fool because from the very first moment I read the mission statement of the International I knew that those words were already written across my very inner fabric and were looking for a place to be given voice. For me it was as if I could not help myself but create a chapter and get movin'. At the last convention I realized it happened again when you spoke and spoke of us all as the "Warrior Poets" of the fire service. To me, that was the last piece that needed to be put in place. I don't just wear a T-shirt and a patch. I live the creed. FTM-PTB-RFB-KTF-EGH-DTRT. Each day on duty and most often off, there is a way to put these things into practice and I strive to.
Our chapter? The Farthest North FOOLS are small but effective in Alaska and can be held responsible for having stimulated training across the state, helping the Alaskan Fire Service understand the nature of the Brotherhood and how it can achieve things for the common good, jumping in at anytime, any place to make things work for other firemen around us and most recently we are in our fourth year of raising money for the St. Baldrick's Cancer Research event. Over $100,000 for childhood cancer research so far in our little town.

Keep Raising the Flag Chief!! You are doing a great job!!!!!

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