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Funny; You Don’t Look Like a Glow Worm!

Episode #9

 

Sidney (Sid Vicious) Wilkerson grew up in the flatlands of North Central Ohio. Sid was born into the third generation of firefighters in his family. His granddad was a volunteer firefighter in Sid’s hometown of Coffey, Ohio. His dad retired as an assistant chief from the Lucas County, Ohio Fire Department. Sid’s brother is riding rigs in Cincinnati as an engine company lieutenant. So Sid’s occupational path to the fire service was pre-ordained.

 

Firefighting families can sometimes be dysfunctional and this was Sid’s case. His parents divorced soon after he became a teen. Adolescence and parents divorcing can do strange things to you.

 

Sid took it hard and blamed his dad for losing his family. Sid was given permission by the courts to conduct his own affairs as an emancipated minor, but was told that one misstep would land him in juvenile detention until he turned 21.

 

Sid enjoyed baseball, basketball and also held a job. His mom would eventually re-locate to Florida. And Sid would enter the Army after high school graduation. Things were going well until an accident resulted in a medical discharge. His military career was over.

 

Due to an extensive tour as an MP, Sid decided to give civilian police work a go. He joined a sheriff’s department, but soon discovered that his heart wasn’t in it. His brother told him that a fire department out East was testing and after talking it over with his dad, Sid decided to make the trip.

 

He had been home for two weeks after testing and got a call. The job was his, if he wanted it.

 

He packed up all of his worldly possessions, loaded his pickup and headed for Grandview.

 

Driving the staff vehicle is a little deceptive, if you didn’t know Sid. He is a paramedic-level EMT with extensive officer training, as well as HazMat and WMDs. He runs with the other “glow worms” and is on the state’s HazMat team. He is married, has a young son and has reconciled with his father.

 

Sid is used to doing his work in a fully encapsulated Level A HazMat suit. Everything is then taped off at the cuffs. He has become an expert at translating images seen on the screen of the thermal imaging camera (TIC). A TIC is invaluable at HazMat incidents. It has given teams the upper hand without getting too close. In some ways, it has replaced binoculars and has given them “X-ray vision” when it comes to determining liquid levels in containers.

 

Sid is searching the upstairs with a TIC. Jake is doing a “blind search”-sight (limited) and by feel. It takes a little longer, but Jake has done it a thousand times before.

 

So far, this incident is text book. Sid is in a back bedroom when his low air alarm goes off. How can that be? He has a 45 minute tank!

 

He radios Jake that he has a problem with his SCBA.

 

Jake says, “Get back to the stairway NOW!”

 

Sid comes back, “10-4. Will do. Wait a minute; there’s something on the camera screen. I’ve got”---

 

And Jake loses the radio transmission…

 

The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© is a fictional literary work. It is protected by federal copyright. The article is published under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella and is the intellectual property of Art Goodrich a.k.a. ChiefReason. It cannot be copied or re-printed in any form.

Can I Get an Amen?

Episode #10

 

It seems like every fire department has a merry prankster; that one guy that believes that it is his destiny to wreak havoc upon his brothers and sisters. But at Grandview, it comes in the unlikely form of the department’s chaplain!

 

Father Timothy Thomas (Rev) Wallace is the moral conscience for his fire department and is also its most prolific practitioner of practical jokes. He spares no expense, will concoct extravagant schemes and deliver it to the least expecting, but most deserving.

 

Ask Jake. He unquestionably owns the record for the number of jokes played upon him. But, as you know, Jake gives as good as he gets! In Jake’s mind, seeking revenge against a man of the cloth sits well with his “eye for an eye” philosophy! The collar and the cross will not protect Rev from Jake’s ravenous and blood thirsty appetite for payback. A peek into Jake’s personnel file will reveal numerous counseling sessions for playful indiscretions.

 

The Rev’s path into the fire service is as unorthodox as his methods.

 

Rev was the youngest with two older brothers; one was a firefighter/paramedic and the other was a forensic photographer. He grew up in the Presbyterian Church. As a kid, he hung out at the fire station, where he learned to play pool, among other things! He knew that he wanted to be a part of the fire service.

 

He attended public schools until high school. Then, it was on to Catholic high school.

 

After high school graduation, Rev tried to become a firefighter, but discovered that he was claustrophobic; something that was, oh, I don’t know; say, incompatible with firefighting!

 

So; it was on to college.

 

While in the glow of his freshman year at college, he drank himself into an early exit. Strangely enough, he enrolled in a Bible college and met his future wife on his way to his divinity degree.

 

Father Tim volunteered his time with the Dearborn Emergency Team, providing support to responders (police and fire) at emergency scenes.

From there, he went to work as a youth pastor in Detroit, working part-time jobs like security, pizza delivery, as a copy dude and bicycle mechanic in order to make ends meet.

 

Then, he got a call from Detroit Fire Department to be the department’s fire chaplain. He was there for three years before philosophical differences with the department’s leadership caused him to leave. He and his family packed their bags for the East Coast, where he found work at a trauma center. Unable to shake his love for the fire service, he continued to help small fire departments develop chaplaincy programs.

 

One night while he was on duty at the trauma center, a Grandview firefighter was brought in with a severely fractured leg. Danny Woods had been coming back down a ladder when his boot slipped. His right leg went between two ladder rungs and his tibia and fibula snapped like two twigs. Danny was going to need surgery to repair the damage, so as he was being admitted through the emergency room, Rev went over to talk to him and to comfort him.

 

As they talked about Danny’s accident, a gruff-looking fellow came up to check the status of his firefighter. Chief Forrester pushed past the doctors and nurses to be with his grandson.

 

Not knowing who he was, Rev attempted to restrain the Chief. The Chief was ready to uncork a short, right hook when he noticed the collar and cross around Father Tim’s neck. Good thing, because Rev had stopped more than one fist with his face and didn’t want to hurt the old guy!

 

“Danny’s one of mine; he’s also my grandson. I just want to make sure that he’s all right…and to get our story “straight” for when I talk to his mom-my daughter!” said a very worried Chief.

 

“Perhaps I can intercept her for you when she gets here. She’s not as strong as you, is she?” asks the Rev.

 

“No; she’s stronger!” says the Chief with a wink.

 

“In that case, I will need to get my King James Version”, says Rev and they both laugh.

 

The Chief leans over, whispers something into Danny’s ear, Danny grins and Diesel kisses him on the forehead before they wheel Danny through the doors to surgery.

 

“Can I get you a cup of something that resembles coffee, Chief?” asks Rev.

 

“Yes; and I will pretend to like it”, answers the Chief.

 

One hour passed. Then it was two. Diesel was checking his watch every two minutes or so. Danny got out of surgery at 2 hours and 56 minutes.

 

“Could I get you to say a little something for Danny, Father?” asks Chief Forrester.

 

“I have been, Chief”, replied Father Tim.

 

“I mean; so I can hear it?” asks the Chief.

 

“I’m sorry; how rude of me. It would be my honor”. And with that, Father Tim said a prayer for Danny and his entire family.

 

“Thank you, Father”, said a relieved Chief Forrester.

 

“Could you come by the station tomorrow and have lunch with me?” asked Chief Forrester.

 

“I’d be delighted”, said Rev.

 

And now? Rev was on his way to a house fire at 1542 South Division Street in Grandview as the fire department’s chaplain.

 

And as usual, he had his bag of marshmallows with him…

 

The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© is a fictional literary work. It is protected by federal copyright. The article is published under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella and is the intellectual property of Art Goodrich a.k.a. ChiefReason. It cannot be copied or re-printed in any form.

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