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    firediver57's Avatar
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    Default Fayetteville Fire Academy Graduation Speech

    Several people have requested that I post the text of my speech as Academy Leader and plaque presentation for the Aug 13th Graduation of Fayetteville Fire Academy Class 1-09. There is some background the reader will need to know to understand the speech. Outside the academy hangs an American LaFrance Engine Bell and a plaque with a poem on it. As part of our weekending ceremony we rang it once for each week. This is the bell talked about in the speech. Below it is a plaque with a poem. As each class graduates, they create a commemorative plaque for the training staff, present it at graduation, and it hangs in the lobby or halls of the academy. Our class plaque had a miniature chrome bell we made on it that it identical to the bell outside, along with our photo, names, and class motto, "A bond forged in fire can never be broken", (yes its from Ladder 49.) There is the tie in. Hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks to all who had generous comments on my remarks. Carmine The speech is as follows:
    Mayor Chavonne, Congressman Etheridge, City Manager Iman, Members of the City Council, Chief Nichols, Chiefs Major, Morey, and Allen, other honored guests, and our families.
    On behalf of Fayetteville Fire Academy Class 1-09 welcome and thank you for being here today. For the last 15 weeks I have been the Academy Leader for this excellent group of men. It has been a fun and yet tough journey. I have learned a lot about them and I have learned a story that I would like to share with you. I would like to tell you a story about a bell and an academy class.
    As a class during orientation week we were given our lists of responsibilities, all our dos and don’ts, taught some parade and ceremony, (we weren’t very good), and spent a good deal of time exploring our house and asking questions. One of the questions was, “what was the story behind the bell?” The answer was that the bell, which hangs over the entrance to the Regional Fire Training Facility, had been there since its opening in 1993 and had come from Engine 6 here in the city but no one knew much about it or the poem below it. We were told it would be our job to clean the bell and plaque, and nearly everything else with a few miles, at least once a week.
    How does a bell like that come to be? To have a good quality sound a bell is cast from a mix of metals and the process is very interesting. First a variety of individual ores are placed in smelters to be refined. The smelter heats the ores and the impurities are burned away. When the original 31 members of this class went through the front doors to the training facility we were the raw ores. Two of us have left for shift work after one month in academy, and two who when finished, will be serving with Stony Point Fire Dept. We had come from cities like here in Fayetteville, Jacksonville, and Durham, small towns like Angier, Boone, Clinton, Fuquay Varina, Sanford, and Stedman. We journeyed from far away states like Florida, Michigan and New Jersey, and even further away from places such as Barbados and England in the United Kingdom. We had come from small communities like Clement, Meadow, White Lake, Plainview, Vander, Bay Tree Lakes, and from even smaller places where two roads cross on a map like Vann Crossroads.
    Regardless of where we came from we had come to this place to become Fayetteville Firefighters. So the heat was applied to us in the form of Physical training, classes like PPE, and ladders, to name a few. Like the metals we were being refined. When the individual metals for the bell alloy are ready, they are combined; again using heat, to create the final alloy but the bell hasn’t even been made yet. Throughout our long training we were combined and began to function as one team working toward our finished product.
    Now comes the casting of the bell. Even though it gets poured into the shape of a bell there is more work to be done. It must be hammered, trimmed, drilled, and tested. Like the bell we were trimmed by even more PT, drilled in fire control, and hammered and tested by the devil herself, in Rapid Intervention and Firefighter Survival.
    Lastly comes the plating of the bell, which like us, once applied, must be polished to its final shine. At this point the final task of attaching of the clapper and the eagle finial are done. The bell in its time went out to serve its career on Engine 6 around our community. We like the bell, are now ready for service. It has been a long, tough, and hot process, but today we are to receive our badges. Atop these badges are eagles which will serve as our finial, our reminder of our time here. We have been forged by our instructors and academy officers, who were going through testing themselves and who recently promoted to the rank of Captains, all while pushing us to our limits. Our strengths were honed; our weaknesses burned away, the concept of teamwork and serving with respect hammered into us. During our careers, like the life of the bell, we will be there for the citizens and our coworkers in good times and bad. Each time we use our training we will grow and then share our experiences with those who come after us. The academy bell before our arrival was normally silent, rung only occasionally by the curious. Its knowledge of many fires and scenes it had been to unspoken. It has stood as a silver sentinel over doors where many have entered raw only to emerge as firefighters for the city of Fayetteville. During our time here the bell has not been silent, as we have made it a part of our weekly tradition and ceremonies. We have ended each work week with a ringing of the bell for each week completed. To date it has been rung on 14 separate days for a total of 105 rings. A bell rings clear in the fire service for many reasons. It calls us to a mission or to signify that the mission is done. Today we will ring the Honor Guard bell 15 times to signify that the mission of the training staff to prepare us and our mission to learn here at the academy are done. To ring clear requires precision craftsmanship and forging, and the bond of so many metals, brought together and forged in fire can never be broken. Our class motto, our bond, forged in fire, can never be broken.
    I would like to present now to Chief Nichols, Chiefs Major, Morey, and Allen, Captains Whiteside, Willet, and Richtmeyer, with our class plaque and this class coin. On the plaque is a working miniature replica of the bell and our class motto. This is repeated on the Academy Leaders Award for Excellence Coin. There is a coin for each member of the class as I could not single out any one member of this class for excellence apart from the others. It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as academy leader for such an outstanding group of men. I have enjoyed watching them grow, work hard, cut up and goof off, laugh, learn, and become, through it all, a very strong and very good class, ready for any challenge that was thrown at them. And so now lastly, at this time I would like to call forward Chris Woodward, who has rung our bell every time, to ring this bell at this time. Tomorrow we will ring for the final time as a class the bell at the academy and tomorrow like today we will count it out and close with a final oorah.

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    Great speech.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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    Okay probie.. you have your 5 minutes of fame.. now, get to work...

    There' s coffee to be made, heads to be cleaned and sanitized, scba and power tools to be checked....
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 08-19-2009 at 11:21 AM. Reason: spelling correction
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Honestly, it could be the best damn speech in the world or the worst. Needs a few spaces in there. All those letters so close together just kinda all ran together to the point that I couldn't even read it.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firediver57 View Post
    Several people have requested that I post the text of my speech as Academy Leader and plaque presentation for the Aug 13th Graduation of Fayetteville Fire Academy Class 1-09.

    There is some background the reader will need to know to understand the speech. Outside the academy hangs an American LaFrance Engine Bell and a plaque with a poem on it. As part of our weekending ceremony we rang it once for each week. This is the bell talked about in the speech. Below it is a plaque with a poem. As each class graduates, they create a commemorative plaque for the training staff, present it at graduation, and it hangs in the lobby or halls of the academy. Our class plaque had a miniature chrome bell we made on it that it identical to the bell outside, along with our photo, names, and class motto, "A bond forged in fire can never be broken", (yes its from Ladder 49.) There is the tie in. Hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks to all who had generous comments on my remarks. Carmine

    The speech is as follows:

    Mayor Chavonne, Congressman Etheridge, City Manager Iman, Members of the City Council, Chief Nichols, Chiefs Major, Morey, and Allen, other honored guests, and our families.

    On behalf of Fayetteville Fire Academy Class 1-09 welcome and thank you for being here today. For the last 15 weeks I have been the Academy Leader for this excellent group of men. It has been a fun and yet tough journey. I have learned a lot about them and I have learned a story that I would like to share with you. I would like to tell you a story about a bell and an academy class.

    As a class during orientation week we were given our lists of responsibilities, all our dos and don’ts, taught some parade and ceremony, (we weren’t very good), and spent a good deal of time exploring our house and asking questions. One of the questions was, “what was the story behind the bell?” The answer was that the bell, which hangs over the entrance to the Regional Fire Training Facility, had been there since its opening in 1993 and had come from Engine 6 here in the city but no one knew much about it or the poem below it. We were told it would be our job to clean the bell and plaque, and nearly everything else with a few miles, at least once a week.

    How does a bell like that come to be? To have a good quality sound a bell is cast from a mix of metals and the process is very interesting. First a variety of individual ores are placed in smelters to be refined. The smelter heats the ores and the impurities are burned away. When the original 31 members of this class went through the front doors to the training facility we were the raw ores. Two of us have left for shift work after one month in academy, and two who when finished, will be serving with Stony Point Fire Dept. We had come from cities like here in Fayetteville, Jacksonville, and Durham, small towns like Angier, Boone, Clinton, Fuquay Varina, Sanford, and Stedman. We journeyed from far away states like Florida, Michigan and New Jersey, and even further away from places such as Barbados and England in the United Kingdom. We had come from small communities like Clement, Meadow, White Lake, Plainview, Vander, Bay Tree Lakes, and from even smaller places where two roads cross on a map like Vann Crossroads.

    Regardless of where we came from we had come to this place to become Fayetteville Firefighters. So the heat was applied to us in the form of Physical training, classes like PPE, and ladders, to name a few. Like the metals we were being refined. When the individual metals for the bell alloy are ready, they are combined; again using heat, to create the final alloy but the bell hasn’t even been made yet. Throughout our long training we were combined and began to function as one team working toward our finished product.

    Now comes the casting of the bell. Even though it gets poured into the shape of a bell there is more work to be done. It must be hammered, trimmed, drilled, and tested. Like the bell we were trimmed by even more PT, drilled in fire control, and hammered and tested by the devil herself, in Rapid Intervention and Firefighter Survival.

    Lastly comes the plating of the bell, which like us, once applied, must be polished to its final shine. At this point the final task of attaching of the clapper and the eagle finial are done. The bell in its time went out to serve its career on Engine 6 around our community. We like the bell, are now ready for service. It has been a long, tough, and hot process, but today we are to receive our badges. Atop these badges are eagles which will serve as our finial, our reminder of our time here. We have been forged by our instructors and academy officers, who were going through testing themselves and who recently promoted to the rank of Captains, all while pushing us to our limits. Our strengths were honed; our weaknesses burned away, the concept of teamwork and serving with respect hammered into us.

    During our careers, like the life of the bell, we will be there for the citizens and our coworkers in good times and bad. Each time we use our training we will grow and then share our experiences with those who come after us. The academy bell before our arrival was normally silent, rung only occasionally by the curious. Its knowledge of many fires and scenes it had been to unspoken. It has stood as a silver sentinel over doors where many have entered raw only to emerge as firefighters for the city of Fayetteville.

    During our time here the bell has not been silent, as we have made it a part of our weekly tradition and ceremonies. We have ended each work week with a ringing of the bell for each week completed. To date it has been rung on 14 separate days for a total of 105 rings. A bell rings clear in the fire service for many reasons. It calls us to a mission or to signify that the mission is done. Today we will ring the Honor Guard bell 15 times to signify that the mission of the training staff to prepare us and our mission to learn here at the academy are done. To ring clear requires precision craftsmanship and forging, and the bond of so many metals, brought together and forged in fire can never be broken. Our class motto, our bond, forged in fire, can never be broken.

    I would like to present now to Chief Nichols, Chiefs Major, Morey, and Allen, Captains Whiteside, Willet, and Richtmeyer, with our class plaque and this class coin. On the plaque is a working miniature replica of the bell and our class motto. This is repeated on the Academy Leaders Award for Excellence Coin.

    There is a coin for each member of the class as I could not single out any one member of this class for excellence apart from the others. It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as academy leader for such an outstanding group of men. I have enjoyed watching them grow, work hard, cut up and goof off, laugh, learn, and become, through it all, a very strong and very good class, ready for any challenge that was thrown at them.

    And so now lastly, at this time I would like to call forward Chris Woodward, who has rung our bell every time, to ring this bell at this time. Tomorrow we will ring for the final time as a class the bell at the academy and tomorrow like today we will count it out and close with a final oorah.
    Fixed it for you rook.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    firediver57's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for the help.

    I appreciate the comments and editorial help. Capt. Gonzo _ I'll get on those chores as soon as I am done with the engine and S/R. Thanks. Memphis E34A _ I appreciate the effort to straighten it out. The copy I read from was spaced out and in larger font size. I know it was a tough read. It was never my intention to publish it but too many folks wanted a copy to email it around. My captain told that she would like to see it on Firehouse. The copy I pasted was the final draft and was neither spaced nor in large font so as not to eat up huge amounts of space on this site. I sincerely do appreciate the effort you went to to make it better, thats what we do in this business look out for one another and make each other better. I appreciate it. Signed, The rook.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firediver57 View Post
    I appreciate the comments and editorial help. Capt. Gonzo _ I'll get on those chores as soon as I am done with the engine and S/R. Thanks. Memphis E34A _ I appreciate the effort to straighten it out. The copy I read from was spaced out and in larger font size. I know it was a tough read. It was never my intention to publish it but too many folks wanted a copy to email it around. My captain told that she would like to see it on Firehouse. The copy I pasted was the final draft and was neither spaced nor in large font so as not to eat up huge amounts of space on this site. I sincerely do appreciate the effort you went to to make it better, thats what we do in this business look out for one another and make each other better. I appreciate it. Signed, The rook.
    Good attitude brother. Keep up the good work.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  8. #8
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Welcome to the best job on the planet!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  9. #9
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    Dickey's Avatar
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    Good motivation Gonz.....lol



    And yes, good attitude so far.....just don't loose it!
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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