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What is Brotherhood is the FIRE SERVICE? DO you live it or just talk it?

I'm really confused where the so called BrotherHOOD (or sisterhood) is in the fireservice.

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I agree with Bryan Lafleur. He hit it dead on the head! For example, My shift was ordered to appear at a City Council meeting to accept an award for rescuing a little boy from a structure fire. None of us wanted to go a be a part of a politicians' Dog and pony show. The thanks we wanted, we got when we found out the little boy was alive and well by the mercy of God. Nonetheless, we were ordered and so we went. Saying all of that to say, the rest of the shifts showed up to support us for no other reason than "BROTHERHOOD."
I think everything is contagious, fear, calmness, attitude (good or bad). It's easy when you become part of an organization that has strong brotherhood, you just have to follow their example and fit in. But when things are fragmented, cliquish, and the attitude sucks, that's a challenge. In that case most sit back and whine about it, and usually blame everyone else, but in reality, except for rookies, we all have the opportunity to help change it. It takes a little work. Nothing disgusts me more than an officer, who is the best position to affect people, whines about bad attitudes or lack of brotherhood. In that case I think he is the main problem.

I get really sick of hearing about how screwed up the younger generation is. Are they different, well yeah, of course, just like every generation. But they (at least in my experience) are little balls of receptive clay when new, and how they turn out is totally up to the people in the organization. If the rest sit back and whine about this new generation, well they're gonna have a bad attitude, and like a disease they'll infect everyone they come in contact with. Likewise, if they're brought in and allowed the opportunity to work themselves into a brotherhood, they'll relish it and do likewise for the next group. Those can't or won't need to be cut out like a cancer early.

It amounts to setting an example, and supporting other to do the same. Change of attitude can be painfully slow, but a lot of people are just waiting for someone to follow, and that person doesn't have to be an officer.

Just my 2 cents.

Bryan Lafleur

"There is too much tact and not enough courage in today's American society. Maj. Gene Duncan, USMC
I try to be a Brother through and through to the best I can in my words and actions. None of us are perfect so why is it we want others to be? As much as I would love to be a F.O.O.L. I have not joined or been asked to join because the one here is mostly like a gated community so to speak. If we like you, you are in and we will ask you. Otherwise you have to be nominated by three standing members and be voted in. Now I am not one to go to my buddies and ask them to nominate me as a candidate for membership so part of the reason I am not there. I think my deeds and who I am should speak for me, so maybe I am just to proud to beg? I have read the Internationals by-laws numerous times and it does no where state it is a closed organization but instead leaves it up to the individual chapters to tweak the membership to their liking. So I know the Prez of our chapter here...he is a great firefighter/leader and I consider him a good friend and brother but when he tells you "that when the group goes right, I tend to go left"...WTF! What is wrong with not following the in crowd sometimes? Does that make you or me any less of a Brother or a firefighter? HELL NO! A lot of us were and still are Leatherheads long before they had an organization about it. So where EXACTLY is the "Brotherhood" when a person of such high standing (prez) in a group that prides it'self on "Promoting Brotherhood and Commaraderie" in the frie service says that to a guy with 24 years under his belt? I think I am and have also been told by friends who are not like us, that I am one of the kindest and most caring, funny and laid back persons they know!

Another problem and this is a huge one..."Grudges" Where is the Brotherhood when you or someone else holds a grudge against a person? How are or what are you doing to make an effort to rectify the situation and let it be water under the bridge? Grudges are death traps in our trade! Seriously would you want to be searching an area being in the "S***" and having to worry if jo blow over there who has a grudge against you is going to help you if there is a problem? A true brother puts that stuff to the side or never holds on to it for very long. LET IT GO!!!! for yours and the safety of our other brothers and sisters and the ones we swear to serve and protect! FIDO (Forget It, Drive On)!

KTF Brothers and Sisters....God is working on it!
You're right Jeff, those are the tough ones, they aren't impressed much by rank, and enjoy the attention of being rebels. I think dealing with firefighters are like dealing with kids, each is different, and you have to learn them well enough to know what makes them tick. I've also had some of those you're talking about(hasn't everyone, it would be too easy without them). What has worked best for me is to find an area of expertise for them, and make them feel a sense of pride in that area, and use it, give them some responsibility with it. It gives them a little ownership that way. Some are gonna be a pain no matter what you do. Often those pains are great on calls, but miserable in the station. You aren't gonna beat those into submission, but they can be controlled to a degree, like using a bridle on a powerful horse. With a little coaxing the bridle will be more effective than standing in front of the horse flashing captain bars. I actually like having a few of those around.

I'm obviously no expert, but I think when folks see a big level of commitment on the part of the officers (both on and off duty), and they know those officers truly care about them, but that he won't tolerate nonsense, they'll respond. A few people are charismatic enough to do this right away, the rest of us have to do it slowly and methodically, and seize little opportunities.
In a nut shell something I learned in church this weekend is AMC "Abiltiy to Manage Conflict"! Whether it is in our personal lives or in the the Brotherhood. When we become overcomers nothing and no one can defeat us because our will to survive is strong because of our love of the job and our strength in unity! Some people see survival as a way to step on others and put them down rather than to get along and make it better for the whole. Those are the ones who have trouble seing past their feet and are missing the "Big Picture".

No matter what Brothers and Sisters "KEEP THE FAITH" because God is ultimately in control of everything and we are in His hands everyday!
Brother Hoff,

You mention “Grudges” as a major issue affecting the “Brotherhood”, and you are correct. The inability to see beyond simple differences often clouds or soils our experience with the “hood”. I mention this for a few reasons. First, it is obvious that you feel slighted by your local fools, and have some animosity toward some of its members (i.e.: prez). And in reading your post it seems that you hold a “grudge” against the prez’ and the Farthest North FOOLS for not being invited into the membership (even as you claim your friendship for the prez’).

It kills and at the same time infuriates me to see brothers use public forums to propagate negative sediments against other brothers. That action in no way reflects advantageously on the fire service or the brotherhood. While I am not trying to call you out specifically, your post reminds me of a recent incident where two brothers died in the line of duty fighting a fire in West Virginia. In the hours after this tragic event a disturbing thing happened. Brothers began questioning the fallen’s actions and down right making acquisitions about the responsibility of their death. Article comments and forum post were flooded with finger pointing and name calling….all from others claiming to be firefighters. Those brothers died in the act of Public Service and instead of honoring and mourning OUR loss, we started placing blame and acting like children. We should have been making phone calls, readying our dress uniforms, placing our black bands on our badges and seeing to the needs of the effected departments and families…but many of us chose to bash, point fingers and betray our own.

While your post in no way reflects the gross recklessness the above situation outlines it does offer the opportunity to point out that the internet (and sites like FireEngineering.com) do offer a great networking and educational value for our family…it is however not the place to angrily vent our personal differences and make acquisitions about one another.

While we (the fire service) are not the TV families of the 1960’s (we do have our own disfunctions) we should have a common respect for each other. In doing so, we should keep our negative comments about one another to ourselves…or at least keep them out of a public forum for the world to read.

Exiting soapbox now.

While I don’t think any of us can define “the brotherhood”, and really I don’t think we should have too, I believe we all know what it is not…and by avoiding what it is not, we foster what it is.

Brad Hoff said:
I try to be a Brother through and through to the best I can in my words and actions. None of us are perfect so why is it we want others to be? As much as I would love to be a F.O.O.L. I have not joined or been asked to join because the one here is mostly like a gated community so to speak. If we like you, you are in and we will ask you. Otherwise you have to be nominated by three standing members and be voted in. Now I am not one to go to my buddies and ask them to nominate me as a candidate for membership so part of the reason I am not there. I think my deeds and who I am should speak for me, so maybe I am just to proud to beg? I have read the Internationals by-laws numerous times and it does no where state it is a closed organization but instead leaves it up to the individual chapters to tweak the membership to their liking. So I know the Prez of our chapter here...he is a great firefighter/leader and I consider him a good friend and brother but when he tells you "that when the group goes right, I tend to go left"...WTF! What is wrong with not following the in crowd sometimes? Does that make you or me any less of a Brother or a firefighter? HELL NO! A lot of us were and still are Leatherheads long before they had an organization about it. So where EXACTLY is the "Brotherhood" when a person of such high standing (prez) in a group that prides it'self on "Promoting Brotherhood and Commaraderie" in the frie service says that to a guy with 24 years under his belt? I think I am and have also been told by friends who are not like us, that I am one of the kindest and most caring, funny and laid back persons they know!

Another problem and this is a huge one..."Grudges" Where is the Brotherhood when you or someone else holds a grudge against a person? How are or what are you doing to make an effort to rectify the situation and let it be water under the bridge? Grudges are death traps in our trade! Seriously would you want to be searching an area being in the "S***" and having to worry if jo blow over there who has a grudge against you is going to help you if there is a problem? A true brother puts that stuff to the side or never holds on to it for very long. LET IT GO!!!! for yours and the safety of our other brothers and sisters and the ones we swear to serve and protect! FIDO (Forget It, Drive On)!

KTF Brothers and Sisters....God is working on it!
To my sister from afar its whats in your heart and mind and the fact that you care and try and want to better things if at first you dont succeed you try try again and again and when you fault someone is there to catch you and help you i commend you for what you asked and give you an "ata girl " stand strong because there are thousands behind you!!!! THAT IS WHAT ITS ABOUT TO ME.
Thats one of the better descriptions Ive heard! You hit it right on the head! You cant find what you dont have to begin with!
Live, Love, and Learn!

Here's hoping well all find it and keep it alive!

Tony Piontek said:
Jen, it's like the "wizard of Oz" stated, it was in you all along...you (proverbial you) had the ability to be the brother/sister. If you chose not to, shame on you all! You are right about the show...proven this week...but moreso proven this week is the impact a few can have on many. Sometimes all it takes to spark the "brotherhood" you speak of is one man, one kind word, one attaboy. I got it once, and you know from who, it changed my life, and i will continue to attempt to do the same. Five little words, "keep fire in your life..." Live it, love it, pass it on. Thanks Jen, was a great time, you did a hell of a job SISTER.

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