Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rick Lasky's Retirement Celebration

Today August 31, 2011 is Fire Chief Rick Lasky's last day as chief of the Lewisville Texas fire department. For 11 years since June 5, 2000 Rick has stood at the helm of the Lewisville fire department. Yesterday at 3 PM friends and family of Ricks gathered to say goodbye and to offer their good tidings and best wishes for Rick as he moves forward with his dream of teaching full-time. I was extremely blessed to be able to attend as one of the out-of-towners along with my good friend retired Battalion chief John Salka and Battalion chief Eddie Buchanan. Fire officers, fire Chiefs and firefighters from all over Texas came to say goodbye to Rick and wish him well.

There were many stories told by the city manager, the mayor and others but the most moving moments occurred when recently retired Battalion chief John Salka took the stage and spoke about his love and admiration for his good friend Rick Lasky. John was able to secure for Rick a helmet shield as an honorary 18th Battalion chief of the FDNY. It was clear to all present that every word John spoke was from his heart and that his emotions were as high and as sincere as a fireman could express about his admiration and love another fireman.

Eddie Buchanan chief officer for the Hanover Virginia fire department presented Rick also with a beautiful helmet shield and the best wishes of the Hanover Department for Rick. The Hanover fire Department and the Lewisville fire department have always had a very special relationship. Several years ago members of the Hanover fire department came to Louisville and help them to construct a a training prop which bears the name that Hanover training prop in Louisville today.

Pipes and drummers from the Lewisville fire department were also on hand to say goodbye to the man who helped found their group and whose influence on pipes and drummers with his annual Keeping Tradition Alive symposium will live on forever. The band did Rick proud by playing a starring Shenandoah followed by America the beautiful and the Marine Corps hymn. Their performance was flawless their intensity was palatable and a more fitting tribute would be hard to imagine to a man whoes dreams have become reality in Texas.

The afternoon could not have more fitting ending when during Rickey's comments he was able to announce that his very own dear friend and partner of the last 11 years assistant chief Tim Tittle would be taking over the reins of the Lewisville fire department as chief on September 1. Rick said it and everyone in the crowd agrees there could be no better choice than Tim whose heart and soul is in the Lewisville fire department and will make an outstanding Fire Chief.

Rick Lasky will be known for many things, being on the tip of the sword during the creation of saving our own and rapid intervention, his landmark book Pride and Ownership a Firefighters Love of the Job, his amazing teaching and presenting at FDIC and conferences around the country. But probably more than anything Rick will always be known for his passion and his compassion, for his amazing ability to share himself with the entire world while at the same time being singularly focused on one thing and one thing only his family. God bless you Rick thank you for your 11 years of amazing service to the city of Lewisville and we look forward to seeing you more and more on the pages of Fire Engineering now that you have the time!

Monday, August 22, 2011

75th. Monroe Fire School

I had the pleasure of visiting with some outstanding firefighters at the "75th" Southern Wisconsin Northern Illinois Fire Rescue Association fire school in Monroe Wisconsin this weekend. The conference was very attended with a great program with a real local focus. The school started 75 years ago and for several years it rotated from city to city and eventually found its home in Monroe. The Monroe folks have some outstanding facilities and an incredible FD with exceptional leadership the school uses a variety of sites around Monroe and the folks there could not be nicer.
I learned all about making cheese and the history of the cheese industry in the region. If you get up there it is really worth your time taking a tour and seeing the old world craftsmanship involved. The pub's are plentyfull the beer is clod and the staff are Wisconson friendly!

The photo to the right is the Monroe FD live burn training tower which was used for search classes and live fire training.

Below is the repeling tower, all the training facilities were purchased with funds raised by the Monore Fire Department, as the chief said there are a lot of bake sales and pancake breakfasts represented here!

The training staff was lead by Shane Boehmke, he and his crew did an outstanding job. The school had some of America’s Fire Service best teaching there including Engine guru and fire stream expert Captain Dave Fornell, Chicago retired chief and command expert Andy O’Donnell, world class prop designer Mark Henningfeld, and forcible entry wizard Paul Yakowenko, agricultural accident and farm emergency response legend Mark Baker, and Fire Engineering’s dear friend photographer and world class fire officer David Traiforos.

These are mobile home Dave's crew transformed into a world class live burn class.

Below is Stateline Farm Rescue's custom built grain bin entrapment simulator. They run a comprehensive course on grain bin design and structure, as well as the dangers involved in working with this equipment.A must attend program for anyone who responds to farms.

The school ran from Friday to Sunday and was an outstanding experience, the efforts of the board of directors of the SWNIFRA continues to produce some of the most dedicated and well trained firefighters in the nation. Lets hope the next 75 years are just as successful.