With apologies to famed country singer Willie Nelson, I am here to announce that come June of 2010, I will be on the road again. Yes, once again it is time to announce another Harry Carter Road Trip. It is my intention to hit the road on or about June 1, 2010. June is normally my quiet month between band seasons. However, it is my desire to be back in time for the outdoor summer band season with famed Ocean Grove Summer Band, in Ocean Grove, NJ.
My mission will be similar to the theme of my highly successful 2006 version. I want to meet the real members of the American Fire Service and speak with you about your concerns, your successes, as well as your failures. However, things will be a bit different in 2010.
This time around, my sidekick Jack Peltier of Massachusetts and I will be joined by a long-time buddy from the great state of Delaware. We are going to be joined by Ken McMahon, a Delaware State Fire Commissioner and long-time friend. It is our intention to meet with members of the American Fire Service who can share a story of success based upon a grant received from the FIRE Act program. Ken is an past-chief and life member of the Christiana, DE, Fire Department.
Let me assure you that Jack and I learned a great many lessons from the manner in which we conducted our last soiree. It is our desire to begin our journey in Denver and then move along a circular route which will include the states listed below. Therefore we would want to close out our journey in Denver so that we can return our rented SUV to the same location. The "Gray-Ghost II," my 2007 Yukon XL will be resting in the driveway back in Adelphia. Let me assure you that the three of us have no intention of traveling in one of those little "clowns cars" which pose as a modern full-sized (Ha, ha, ha) vehicle.
We want to travel through our nation's midsection. I already have a couple of tentative visits lined up at county and state events in Nebraska and Kansas. I look forward to meeting with Steve Hirsh in Kansas and George Teixeira in Nebraska. Given the greater distances between cities and towns out in the Midwest, we intend to set up fewer stops, but we want to meet more people at each location.
As I review the map, it looks like we would like to visit the following states.
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
There a few folks in my regrets file from the 2006 trip that I would like to hear from. There was also an invitation from Jed Head at the Neosho Township Fire Department in Kansas. In addition, I have received an invitation from Steve Weis at the West Peculiar Fire Department in Kansas. There were also invitations to a fire academy in Colorado and a department in Idaho. If you recall making these invitations in 2006, please let me know if the welcome mat is still out.
My many friends in the fire apparatus and equipment manufacturing world are once again stepping up to the plate to take a crack at helping us meet the costs of this journey. We will raise the necessary funds to make this trip happen. However, why am I doing this, you might ask? Why are Ken and Jack and me taking a month out of our collective lives to travel and meet with you?
The answer is simple. I believe in the worth of the FIRE Act. I have seen its impact up close and personal. I am well aware of the importance of this legislation. However, there are those who want to see it go away. There are also those who want to see it changed so that nameless and faceless bureaucrats are allowed to make the decision on who gets what. As one who was in the mix at the very beginning of this program 10 years ago, I know what was agreed to. I was a party to the development of the program, and while I am no longer on the inside, I like to think that I have a handle on what is happening.