John Alston has been a member of the Jersey City Fire Department for 31 years. He is a published author and trainer, #fireofficertrust. Since the age of 4, John has wanted to be a Firefighter.
In the Jersey City Fire Department, John commands the First Battalion which covers the middle third of the City. This assignment includes the Holland Tunnel, the PATH Rail System, Ellis Island, Liberty Park, City Hall, 5 fire Stations, 10 Fire Companies, the Safety Officer; Mask Service Unit, the C.B.R.N.E. Fire Boat and the High-rise / Tunnel Unit, the Rescue Company and Squad 4.
While attending the 2018 i-Women Conference, I had the most fortunate opportunity to sit down with Ms. Cindy Ell of the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation.
The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation:
Working to Extinguish Fire Fighter Cancer
Firefighters dedicate their lives to the service of others. The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation was established in 2004 to provide international outreach, support, and resource assistance programs for firefighters and family members that are stricken by cancer.
The Foundation is creating state of the art programs for cancer education, awareness, research and prevention to ensure the quality of life and retirement of fire fighters around the world.
Cindy is a wealth of information and showed us many of the products and information packs that they have developed to help educate Fire Fighters and their families. We had the chance to talk about Cancer, as it relates to the work environment and the impact it has on first responders and our families. It was one of the most uplifting discussions I have had on this subject. Cindy is a driven advocate for healthy Fire Fighters and their families.
There was such a wide range of topics and programs that we encourage you to visit their website at: www.ffcancer.org
Had the tremendous opportunity to spend an evening sharing some ideas on Black Heritage. I want to thank Leonard Webb of Ethnic Online for asking me to participate in the program. There was spoken word, an African American Heritage Showroom, a funky band and then there was me…
This type of event and venue always presents new challenges to public speaking, as you must share with a crowd that came to eat, dance, have a good time and talk about of rich heritage. It becomes a greater challenge when you have to speak in between a band break at 9:40 p.m..
Having my Dad, John, Sr., in the audience made it so much better and I hope the ad-hoc audio recording plays well enough for you to get the message of what I hoped to accomplish.
Had a great first day at FDIC 2018. It was good to see so many friends and colleagues who came in early for the pre-conference workshops. I want to thank the folks who stopped by my “7 C’s of Fire Officer Trust Class” #7Cz. Your participation was great and I appreciate your candor, in discussing Fire Officer development.
We talked about accepting and using failure. Due to time constraints, I did not share this clip with you. It is the U-Penn Commencement speech that was delivered by the actor Denzel Washington. His thoughts on failure bolster our discussion.
Thank you to Connecticut State Representatives Pat Boyd and Brian Ohler for your Co-Leadership of the CT Fire-EMS Caucus. Your valued support for the safety, operations and well-being of First Responders in the State of Connecticut has not gone unnoticed.
We had the chance to testify at the State Capitol to solicit support for the proper funding of the Regional Fire Schools.
Special thanx and shout out to the Connecticut State Fire and EMS Caucus for granting time to hear the concerns for adequate funding of the regional fire schools. The Caucus was fully supported by the CT Career Fire Chiefs, the IAFF and our surrounding partners in Public Safety.
NEW HAVEN — The Children’s Community Program of Connecticut on Monday celebrated and highlighted local mentors during Mentor Appreciation Month with an awards celebration at Shell & Bones.
Program Director Patricia Nicolari said the One on One Mentoring Program finds volunteer mentors to work with children in foster care at the Department of Children and Families or Court Supports Services Division. The program provides the children with a positive role model, while giving youth an opportunity to have experiences they may not otherwise have and provide academic support.
The One on One program currently has 65 mentors, Nicolari said. The program operates throughout New Haven County. The volunteers mingled Monday evening at Shell & Bones, whose executive chef, Arturo Franco-Camacho, is a volunteer in the program.
Police officers, lawyers and other professionals are among those who regularly volunteer. Nicolari said the program needs more male volunteers, adding women tend to volunteer more often than men. She currently has 45 additional volunteer spots available.
“My phrase is, ‘Down time is the devil’s time,’” Nicolari said. “So, the more we keep kids actively involved in meaningful activities, the less room there is for bad things to come out of it.”
Among those honored Monday were New Haven police school resource officer James Baker, who works at James Hillhouse High School. Baker is a rookie in the program, having started volunteering last September. He primarily volunteers helping kids ages 5 to 12 involved in basketball and football.
Baker is one of at least five New Haven police officers who volunteer with Children’s Community. Baker also helps with the department’s PAL program, including giving local kids rides to and from practice.
“I look at it as we do these things and give them the time … (so) we’re keeping them out of trouble,” Baker said.
By contrast, Lindsey Pina is a seasoned veteran at Children’s Community. A behavioral health specialist at Integrated Wellness Group, she’s been volunteering since 2012. She has volunteered mentoring two girls, including one who recently graduated from a local high school.
Pina said her upbringing motivated her to volunteer at programs like Children’s Community. Her parents weren’t always around, but she received motivation from a personal mentor that led to her attending college.
“I wanted to be a mentor, especially for females,” Pino said. “It’s a good thing. They need it, especially in New Haven.”
Whether in a large department or a small, we all experience the same issues around officer development. This workshop draws on several disciplines to aid participants in identifying the key characteristics of successful officers and managers. Through discussion and activities, the participants will be introduced to seven traits critical to professional growth. Among the issues covered will be barriers that hinder cultural change, transforming from firefighter to fire officer and shaping the future.
(Pictured below is the first crew under my command as an assigned officer. They taught me more than I could ever learn from a book – Thanx Terence , Al, Flo and Mike)
Through the use of dialogue we will share the traits that are commonly associated with good officers and successful leaders. Drawing on elements of the National Fire Academy course, ” Shaping the Future”, participants will exchange ideas and insight for the past, current and future Fire and Emergency Services Culture. We will identify the elements of change in a non-judgmental way.
Define the seven areas for exploration and discussion.
Utilize dialogue and written exercises to identify key terms.
Discover your “Command Presence”
Discuss barriers that hinder cultural change.
Identify resources to aid in transformation from Fire Fighter to Fire Officer.
Identify unique issues and operations in the Fire Service Culture.
Discuss common business and management cultural principles.
Hope you can make it out and join me. The best lessons are always shared. Stay safe!