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By Frank Ricci (Politics and Tactics)


Mentoring is one of the keys to our service, conferences like FDIC and organizations such as the International Society of Fire Services Instructors (ISFSI) are great places to find direction, professional development and a mentor.


Mentors must realize that the goal is to build those around us and recognize that this is not a one-way street. Mentors and Instructors must except that while their guidance will have influence over the student the student will still be their own person.

They will bring their own experiences, personality and style to the relationship. This will allow you to learn from each other. This is what is great about being a member of the ISFSI and going to FDIC, there are no egos.

In many departments we have witness what I call mutual jealousy. We have all been a witness to this counterproductive attitude that harms our departments and members.

We have seen some of our brightest and most competent members view knowledge as a competition. If another member is knowledgeable or accomplishes a task a different way they view it as a threat.

In our magnificent Capital inside the rotunda you will find the “Frieze of American History.” Italian immigrant Constantino Brumidi painted the painting depicting scenes from our history. While painting the first half of William Penn he fell.

He was seventy-three years old at the time and working fifty-eight feet above the floor. Brumidi was able to reach out for the scaffolding and hung on for dear life. After ten minutes he was rescued. This took a toll on the great painter and he never returned to the scaffolding again.

Filippo Costaggini trained with Brumidi in Rome and after the Brumidi’s death was commissioned to complete his mentor’s vision.  He started his work on the other half of William Penn.

While viewing the painting from the floor of the Capital the painting looks flawless, however a closer look and you will see that William Penn has two different shoes on.

Filippo had his own perspective how to complete the work and his effort did not take away anything from the original master. He was able to complete the work and the Frieze is a credit to both men.

Remember you cannot appreciate a painting by analyzing the paint. When teaching, mentoring or just working with our peers try to find the good in the work and take the time to build each other even if we may have a different perspective.

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