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  1. #1
    Forum Member Not2L84U2's Avatar
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    Default Narrative Requests

    Has anyone received a letter from an individual from NW Ohio asking for a copy of your narrative?

    You know, I don't have a problem sharing information at all. I'm just curious because this request didn't come on a department letter head, there is no phone number listed, no e-mail, no mention of a department name, NOTHING. You know when you get something as vague as this you can't help but wonder what kind of scam it is. I tried looking this guys name up on anywho.com and yahoo people without success. The closest was a match with his first initial. Below is a copy of the letter.

    Dear Sir,

    I am Jim Mustard, live in NW Ohio, and am attempting to help several very small, rural fire departments prepare for the upcoming Assistance for Firefighters Grant (AFG) application period. All of the departments I'm attempting to help are 100% volunteer districts, we're no particularly well prepared to approach this effort, and none have been successful in past efforts. That's it in a nutshell!

    I noticed that your departmen was successful in the 2006 grant period. I am writing to request a copy of your narrative part of the 2006 application. As you are aware is it public information. I feel that if the department I'm working with has a winning narrative or two to read, then perhaps we can together have more idea of what we need to create or write on our own.

    As you know we get little or no feedback from FEMA on our rejected applications so we really don't have any idea what was good and what was missing. With a winning narrative I believe we can see the differences and improve significantly our re-write for 2007. Please help us to see what type of content and format we need to be addressing in our new application.

    We do not desire the entire application. Rather we only desire a xerox copy of the 3-5 page narrative portion of the application. I've taken the liberty of enclosing a stamped, addressed return envelope for you to return it in. I've also enclosed $1.00 to cover any copy costs.

    Thank you very much for yoru help in this matter.

    Respectfully,


    Jim Mustard


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber WJVaughn's Avatar
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    Default

    I agree with you there. If this person is straight up he should have included a little more information about himself and who he is representing. Also sounds like he wants someone else to do the hard part for him and he gets the cresit and or money for the job.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Make sure you include your bank account information so that the deposed former Nigerian emporor can deposit $25mm and give you a percentage.

    The guy may be perfectly legit, but as i read that it looks like somebody who wants to go into the "successful narrative" selling business. Winning narratives DON'T result in winning apps. Without needs analysis, project development, etc, etc--narratives are just words.

    Colonel Mustard--if you read this forum please clarify your request. And... explain why i didn't get $1.00 for my winning narrative.

    earl

  4. #4
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    Default

    I'm in favor of helping out other departments by sharing my narratives, but this request rubs me the wrong way. No phone number, no return address, not even an email address & about $1.50 to cover yor troubles. Smells like a hired gun to me, trying to make it easy on himself or really has no clue about the fire service.

    As you are aware is it public information.
    He is right that the application would be public information, but I believe each of our narratives are protected by copyright laws. Why do I have this feeling he would get some of these narratives and just change the info to fit the department he is working for.

    If these departments are using this person, they may want to think twice. Some one should have proof read his letter before sending it out.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Not2L84U2's Avatar
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    Default

    Colonel Mustard...LOL! Earl, you are too funny. You know I said the same thing to the Chief last night when he showed this to me. I told him we were going to get like 25% of 18 billion dollars from an account in Zimbabwe.

    You're right...he may be legit, but just as you said...it seems awful shady.

    Earl, I'd share the dollar with you but I already spent it to buy a diet coke

    I've sent my narratives to many people, mainly through the forums, and I enjoy reading othe peoples narratives as you can pick up little ideas here and there that may work for you. Why re-create the wheel right? But the key is that you still have to write the darn thing. You can't just change the names to protect the innocent.

    I thought the same thing about hiring someone to proof read for him. LoL Unless it was done intentionally to make them sound as though they really need help. Who knows. I want to get to the bottom of this though. Anyone know any PI's in the NW Ohio area that work for copies of narratives??? We can trade services.

    Edited to Add:

    Ok, more to the story. I found Celina, OH Fire Departments phone number and called there and spoke with a gentleman. He said that Colonel...err...I mean...Jim Mustard was the former Mayor and it may be either him or his son working on this project. He said that the chief had mentioned wanting to repalce their current tanker with a tanker/pumper but was unaware that anyone had sent out any contact letters. I assured him I would be happy to help and point him in the right direction (look out Kurt or Brian...sending another one your way) but I at least wanted to speak with someone and get an idea of what they were trying to do before submitting any of our information. The gentleman was very polite and agreed he wouldn't send out any information either without validating it first. So maybe this isn't a scam after all. Dangit, now I may just have to send that $1 back.

    Who needs PI's when you got the resources of the web at your fingertips!
    Last edited by Not2L84U2; 02-08-2007 at 02:19 PM. Reason: More Information

  6. #6
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    Everybody on the forums have been great to assist with narratives, and just questions in general. We are looking at a regional comm grant and I have already had two departments send me their narrative.

    Earl, you must have gotten my share of the money from Nigeria, cause I'm still waiting for that big deposit.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Using someone elses narrative is helpful, but every situation is different. Sometimes using a narrative that has been copied and distributed is a recipe for disaster.

    If Mr. Mustard really wants to help his department he needs to study the department's needs and justify why they need the equipment.

    I know several chiefs who have served on peer review panel. Justification always works. I know one department who was awarded with a 1 page, four paragraph narrative. The situation was described and the justification was sound. You don't have to use all the white space in the application to make your case.

    Plus the narrative is only 1 piece of the pie. If you don't answer the questions right on the front end and the grant doesn't make it through the computer, the narrative doesn't matter.

    Sounds like Mr. Mustard needs to have a better understanding of the program.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Not2L84U2's Avatar
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    Default Update!

    Ok, I spoke with the Chief of the local department, CFD. He said that CFD is a career department and that Mr. Mustard did not represent him or his CFD. He said that Mr. Mustard is a former mayor and retired teacher. The chief said that from what he knew, more than likely he was writing grants for a fee for other departments.

    I was able to secure Mr. Mustard's phone number through means which I can not reveal (I love this super secret stuff) and I called him and have left a couple messages without the hint of a reply from him.

    So with my curiosity satisfied...I now consider the case closed (gosh, I'm in the wrong profession)

  9. #9
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    Using someones narrative as in cut ans paste is definatly wrong, and if you remember early on in the FIRE Act, there were a lot of companies that had the cut and paste narratives. I think a lot of departmetns found out real early that those don't work too good. If you use the successful narrative to give you ideas about the wording and how to approach the project it is very helpful and in my opinion a very good resource. I work with several different grant programs and in the majority of those programs, I can request copies of successful applications to look over, but most of those programs will also tell you where you have fallen short as well.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Not2L84U2's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Limeforever View Post
    Using someones narrative as in cut ans paste is definatly wrong, and if you remember early on in the FIRE Act, there were a lot of companies that had the cut and paste narratives. I think a lot of departmetns found out real early that those don't work too good. If you use the successful narrative to give you ideas about the wording and how to approach the project it is very helpful and in my opinion a very good resource. I work with several different grant programs and in the majority of those programs, I can request copies of successful applications to look over, but most of those programs will also tell you where you have fallen short as well.
    Lime, you are absolutely correct. Other narratives are a great tool, but certainly are not a complete solution.

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