I don’t know if I have been lucky, in the right place at the right time, blessed or a combination of the three.
I started writing my thoughts down and sharing them over 10 years ago; not only on discussion boards, but in op-ed pieces.
It started at Firehouse.com. They were in the process of rolling out a “MembersZone” section and for a subscription, you could get additional content that wasn’t accessible as part of the free membership. I was a charter member of MembersZone and was asked to submit articles for the “Volunteer’s Corner” section of MembersZone and so it began. I did a couple of articles for them before they realized that I would rather state my strong opinions on their discussion boards than to write vanilla flavored pabulum for their “exclusive” section of content. I stopped writing articles for them.
As some of us became disenfranchised with some of the firefighter websites, we broke away and www.iacoj.com was born. The International Association of Crusty Old Jakes became reality, thanks to the vision of Ron Ayotte and the hard work of Dave Leblanc and Steve Gallagher. They invited me to come over and write for them, so I did. It was here that I believe that my style began to break out and it was starting to receive some notice. Plus, many of the pre-eminent fire service talent were joining the Jakes and it was simply a great place to go and have respectful/intelligent discussion. No badge bunnies, wannabees or pretenders were getting in to cause their usual disruptions to the really important mission of teaching and learning fire service curriculum.
In the meantime, a new website was being created by the former Firehouse.com owner and he asked me to come over and join him. I was a part of the first wave of bloggers for FirefighterNation/FireRescue FireEMSBlogs.com where I wrote and posted over 200 articles on various topics of my choosing.
As an extension of the website offerings, FirefighterNetcast came along to drive the product in the “Internet radio” arena. FirefighterNetcast on Blog Talk Radio had been on the air only a short time when I was invited to join the cast. I did a year of Voice of Reason before my job situation required more of my attention and I had to take a leave from the show.
Things were starting to get pretty crowded at FireEMSBlogs, some were trying to copy/mimic/mirror some of the bigger “stars” and guys like me, who simply wanted to write and not stream video or late-breaking news were getting pushed down into the pack. I was looking for something else and then…
I saw Bobby Halton at Fire Rescue International in Chicago last August. It was kind of funny; at least, I still laugh when I think of the look on Bobby’s face when I confirmed his suspicions. After all; he had only seen my profile pictures to that point. His look was one of “is that who I think it is”? I mean; I KNEW who I was looking at!
I was walking through the lobby with my crew and I spot Bobby coming towards me. As he got closer to me, I noticed he was staring right into my eyes and as I grew a little uncomfortable, I said, “Hi, Bobby”.
He replied, “Chief Goodrich”.
We grabbed each other by our right hands and then pulled together for a warm hug and pat on the shoulder like old friends. We exchanged pleasantries, but there was something very genuine between us in this chance meeting. I mean; I knew a lot about Bobby, but we had never formally met. It was a high point of the show for me. For those of you aspiring to blog, I can only describe it as one of the most humbling experiences that I have ever had. My work had the attention of the editor-in-chief of the oldest continuous fire service magazine in the world and he recognized me AND called me by name. THAT was the weird part.
I immediately back away and said, “And just how would you know my name?”
He replied, “Are you kidding; I have read some of your stuff. You should come and write for me”.
I replied, “I have never been asked”.
Bobby replied, “You have been now”.
And the rest, as they say, is history. I have posted over 20 blogs and a couple of features for www.fireengineering.com, which is to say that I don’t write for the magazine. I write for the website.
There are some exciting changes coming, which is why I am writing this piece. The people that I have been working with here are great. I am so pumped that I will get to meet some of them at Indy in a few days.
And a new chapter opens with Fire Engineering Talk Radio on Blog Talk Radio. Congratulations to Bobby, Scott and Erich on your first show; appropriately from FDIC.
Forever changing; forever advancing the fire service through Fire Engineering.
See you at FDIC Thursday – Saturday.
The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without expressed permission.