As firefighters we have all been to many awards ceremonies, retirement parties, hail and farewell ceremonies and promotional events these are always really important events. It is always refreshing and enjoyable to hear people speak about our mission and one another. But it is so refreshing one every now and then you get a note from someone about someone who really changed their life, when someone speaks candidly about someone who really made a difference. I received one of those notes this weekend. And it was especially refreshing because both of the men involved are friends of mine and both of the men involved are truly men of character. Here's the note, enjoy it!
My mentor - Curtis Rice is retiring…
Hi Bobby, You connect people. Today a mentor you connected is retiring. Curtis Rice of Palm Beach County has served his people, and the greater fire service. I ask for a few congratulatory words. 11 years ago (2003) you called me in Canada and invited me to Palm Beach County – Fools event. You and Ted were delivering your Tactical Decision-Making lecture. You knew that I was struggling as a young CTO and needed some mentorship and connection to supportive fire people. When we all met at the airport in PBC – instantly could sense you had introduced me to my kind of people. Intelligent, enthusiastic, progressive, willing to share, wicked sense of humor, and above all – of true integrity. That invite and the people changed my life - by meeting like-minded people passionate about training, and developed new friendships that has resulted in guidance, idea sharing, joint-training over 3000 miles, with monthly conversations and laughter. In particular one person, embodied all these traits and has become a mentor and very close friend, Curtis Rice (Lt at the time, now District Chief in PBC) has gone on to influence hundreds and maybe thousands of leaders in their careers. This week is his last at PBC – some 30 years service. Retirement party Sunday afternoon July 20 (sorry - just found out). Curtis has written 3 articles for Fire Engineering, and delivered 2x at FDIC in recent years. These FE experiences are career highlights for him, beyond the numerous structure fires, multi-vehicle accidents, and lives saved – he treasures his FE articles in large frames in his Florida home. Bobby, I know you are busy man with family, sons (maybe grand kids now), and professional commitments, but would you be so kind to jot a few words of “Congrats” so they may be read at the party. Bruce Clark (PBC) will read my note from Canada, and will be more than happy to share a congrats from you and folks at Fire Engineering. With respect and great appreciation for connecting our worlds, David Gillespie Acting Captain Peterborough Fire
I don't think anything else needs be said about what a wonderful man and outstanding officer Curtis Rice was and continues to be. Our friend David has said it better than anyone else ever could. Congratulations Curtis on a race well run, on a career served with distinction and honor and with being a mentor to us all.
Your old friend Bobby