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Tommy Truck

Looking for personal experiences/stories of how Tom Brennan inspired, lead, or taught you about firefighting. From Random Thoughts, to war stories of the hey day in Brooklyn's Nut House, to growing up in his household.

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Latest Activity: Jun 29, 2014

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Comment by Mike Ventimiglia on April 21, 2012 at 9:38am

It was my pleasure to meet Tommy when I was writing articles for Fire Engineering and he was Editor.  Over the years our friendship grew as he would often come to Fresno, California where we would hold the Training Officer's Workshop.  A group of us would sit at the bar for hours telling fire stories and of course only Tommy could tell a story that would have us in stitches with his New York accent.  We would bring him to Monterey, CA. for his "Thru the Lock" seminar along with his box of locks fantastic training.  One our most memorable moments is when he had to call Station #2 down to unlock his rental car with a slim jim when he was on Cannery Row sight seeing and then teach his class the following day.  I have many fond memories of Tommy.

Comment by Matt McDowell on October 6, 2010 at 9:28am
I have been reading fire department magazines since I was 10. It wasn't until I got on the job and started reading "Random Thoughts" that I began reading Fire Engineering from the back cover to the front.

Tom Brennan's blue collar, no B.S. approach to fighting fire influenced the way I did the job and the way I teach others to do the job.
Comment by Mike Daley on December 14, 2009 at 9:17am
As I continued my training in the fire service at FDIC, I would always make time to sit in on Tommy Truck's lectures and classes. I enjoyed his style of teaching, as he told it like it is, and his knowledge and experience was far beyond what most of us would hope to be. But, I did have the opportunity to meet him once.

I was teaching a class out in Reno at a conference when a few of us were invited to the hospitality room of one of the larger corporate sponsors. I figured it was a great way to network and meet some new faces. So, I went in and there were a lot of the big names in the service present, along with Tom. He was "holding court" at the bar, discussing topics from water supply to ventilation to rescue. You name it, no topic was off limits to him. And almost everyone in the room wanted to hear what he was saying, including me. But, the crowd was deep, and the line was long. Luckily, one of the "bartenders" was looking for some relief from his "duties". Not exactly being new to that sore of vraft, I quickly volunteered, and took his place behind the "lectern",as it became for the night.

4 hours later, I was still pouring, and Tom was still holding a captive audience. A friend of mine leaned over the bar and asked me if I was OK. " I think you said maybe 6 words all night", he said. I said to him, "Look at the company we were in, wouldn't you listen more than speak right about now?"

The night was coming to a close, as we all had to teach in a few hours (literally). So as I was wiping down the area, Tom starts up a conversation wit hme about my class, where I was from, why I do what I do, and what can I do to make the service better every day.

"Who, me?" Who was I , a young Lt from a small town in Jersey that probably nobody ever heard of, and probably never will. But that was one of Tom's greatest attributes; It didn't matter who you were, or where you served. He always made time to LISTEN to what you thought, and it didn't matter when or where it was.

When he was in the area, class was always in session. I was fortunate enough to be his student, and I still am to this day.
Comment by Gene Esken Jr on November 25, 2009 at 10:46am
In 1987 I sat in on a lecture from Tom in Western PA. I was a young firefighter and very impressionable. Thank God it was his impressions that so effect my every day thinking and operating in the fire service. I will forever be thankful for that lecture on truck work. I think of it still everyday. To quote him "Sometimes you just have to take that" , speaking of a large peice of burning parapet that had fallen into the bucket of a Aerialscope. With firefighters in it!!
Comment by Diane Feldman on November 18, 2009 at 11:41am
When Tom Brennan heard I was "sitting in" on Fire I classes to further my knowledge of the job as an editor at FE, he said, "A little knowledge in the wrong hands is a dangerous thing!" (He was right.)
Comment by Kevin F. Burns on November 14, 2009 at 10:34am
I met Tom coming out of a hotel at FDIC East when it was in Atlantic City for a couple of years. We knew a couple of mutual friends so I approached him to say hello. He couldn't have been nicer. It was like we were on the back step together rather a giant of our business talking to a nobody like me. (I had the same experience with Chief Brunacini by the way.) It seems the bigger they are the nicer they are. That's what great about the fire service.
Comment by Anthony Avillo on November 3, 2009 at 11:41am
Tommy was one of a kind. When I first met him at the FDIC booth, I saw him sitting there and I was like, "That's Tommy Brennan -- I can't just go talk to him!" He said, Hey! Anthony (he knew who I was -- imagine that!) A Jersey Boy. Come and sit down. Let's talk. Got time for a story?" Those stories almost made me miss a flight -- you just couldn't tear yourself away from Tommy. He made u feel like a long lost friend. I always looked forward to seeing him at the FDIC for a talk (a long talk). He was the King of the Court. His no-nonsense style influenced both my writing and my career. I wish I had known him longer.

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