By Frank E. Vaerewijck
“Membership has its privileges.” Remember that ad campaign? When I write those words, they ring true not because of some credit card, but because of a unique breed of men and women who were able to combat the fear that paralyzes most people and overcome it with knowledge, bravery and experience to become firefighters. Once you have had your trial by fire and earned your title, you are accepted into a club with a membership that spans continents. A brotherhood that truly is worldwide. It’s a club in which you can go halfway around the world, stop in at any firehouse, introduce yourself and be accepted with open arms.
Whether you are career or volunteer, it doesn’t matter for the most part. It’s true that there are those that feel if you don’t receive a paycheck, you don’t know what you’re doing. But there are many volunteers that have just as much if not more experience than those who are lucky enough to get paid to do the best job in the world.
This bond is forged by fire and earned through education, certification and experience. You must put your time in to be fully accepted into the club by your peers. When you join a new volley house or get hired somewhere new, just as with any other job, you have to let your actions speak louder than your words.
The Brotherhood is the glue that holds us together; and if you have witnessed a firefighter’s funeral, this is very evident. We have each other’s backs and never leave anyone behind. We never let a brother down – it’s brotherhood above all else.
The Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society, otherwise known as the F.O.O.L.S., is a great firefighting organization. You have the chance to meet some old Jakes who will forget more tonight in their sleep than you will learn in your career if you don’t seek out those whom have come before you.
Started in 1995 by a group of firefighters in Central Florida who saw a decline in pride and brotherhood in the fire service, the founding F.O.O.L.S. paved the way for thousands of chapters to grow internationally! This a great organization that loves to train and promotes pride in the fire service and the brotherhood. The F.O.O.L.S. believe in Bravery, Integrity, Honor and Pride. The F.O.O.L.S. are not a political organization, and do not get involved in union business. It is open to career and volunteer firefighters equally. They don’t care if you’re a recruit, frontline firefighter, an officer or a chief, male, or female, purple, tan, black or white. All they ask is that you have an open mind, an open heart and passion and love for the job.
This is a little something I throw together that’s easy to make at the station or at home. It’s quick, easy and satisfies cravings for Asian food. Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry with Rice is so delicious – and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”
Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry with Rice
- 1.5 pounds beef tips
- 1 bag frozen stir fry mix
- 1 can water chestnuts
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 medium saucepan of water per instructions for rice
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- Black pepper
- 1 cup teriyaki sauce
Boil water with pinch of salt and add rice to cook until tender.
Brown beef tips in medium fry pan. When tips get brown on all sides, add half of the teriyaki sauce and black pepper. Cook until sauce has cooked off, stirring occasionally, so that tips do not burn or stick.
Mix remaining ingredients in pan over medium heat and stir until vegetables are cooked and tender.
Plate with rice on bottom and enjoy.