Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crazy, but very true

When archaeologists excavate the Upsala Fire Hall a thousand years from now and read my day planner, they'll find this short, terse entry for March 4, 2009: "meet w/calendar fundraiser guy." An insignificant entry loaded with possibilities.

It's rare to find someone crazier than me, but Chad Sartison (the calendar guy) is indeed crazier than me . . . and that's about as high a compliment as I can pay anyone. He quit a good paying job, became a volunteer firefighter, and started a not-for-profit organization with a mantra to train, educate, and equip volunteer firefighters.

At this very instant, thirty volunteer firefighters are at FDIC on an all-expenses paid training excursion of a lifetime, courtesy of Chad's vision and dedication. I am so very jealous to be blogging about it rather experiencing it. The Fire Within, Chad's organization, also donates thousands of dollars worth of equipment to volunteer fire departments, on top of helping them raise money. Chad is a bright, burning light in a sector that has more than its fair share of dark and gloom.

A year ago in March, Chad hopped a plane on the spur of the moment and flew to Thunder Bay (which is in the suburbs of the edge of the universe). We had dinner together, followed by a meeting with my unenthusiastic Mutual Aid Association. The Fire Within's unique promotional strategy captured my imagination. Who ever heard of firefighters camping on the roof of the local department store to raise awareness about the fire service? The Heroes in the Sky event grabs media attention and gives firefighters an unmatched platform to educate the public and promote their service. The raising of thousands of dollars is almost a sideline.

The volunteer fire service is in trouble, and I complain every chance I get about the poor funding, and superb indifference directed toward these essential emergency service providers. Chad saw the problem did something about it.

I am not very persuasive. Sadly, I couldn't find enough crazy people from other departments to fly the calendar project here on the edge of the universe. I made one last ditch effort to persuade my board to go it alone, but I was blown out of the water. Now I'm making good on a promise to spread the word. If you are part of a volunteer department, contact The Fire Within. You may be able to get in on the 2011 calendar. If you need more persuading, read Firefighting in Canada's article on Chad and his work.

In 3011 when they find my day planner, I hope they say, "Wow! He met the guy that revitalized the volunteer fire service." To all you crazy people out there, get with the program!


  1. it sounds lonely at the top....

    Don't they realize you're a visionary?

  2. Ha. Visionary or nutcracker. Or . . . is there a difference?

  3. Love it! Thanks for this!

  4. My god it sounds like Nova Scotia...

  5. Wow! Five comments on one post! That's a record for me (so two of them are mine . . . who said anything about fairness). Thanks for the plug on Facebook Jodi, and Art, I may just have to visit Nova Scotia someday . . .


Have a comment? Go for it! It's lonely out here in bloggerland . . .

Search This Blog