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.
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!
The first time I met Captain Vincent Julius of the FDNY and Vulcan Society of New York was in Buffalo New York in 1986. I had only been a firefighter for 16 months. He made an instant impression on me; through his care for detail and organization; his love of the fire service; his love for our culture; and his unapologetic demeanor.He was great friends with another of my mentors Fire Fighter Eddie Dawson of the Jersey city Fire Department. The two of them would pal around all of the time, on Vinnie’s boat. Capt. Julius sailed on his boat the Red Martha to many of our conferences on the East Coast. He was a well educated man. A man of discipline and substance. He and I would quote the poem Invictus back and forth to each other and the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.INVICTUS…
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
He was a great friend and taught me much about our organization. He was steadfast to the end and he will be sorely missed. I will remember my friend every time I see the sun’s reflection on the water or a sailboat sway in the sunset.Fair thee well, Fair thee well, fair thee well….THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE ARTICLE WRITTEN IN THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, BY GINGER OTIS ADAMS…Retired FDNY Captain Vincent W. Julius, one of the department’s most high-profile African-American firefighters during the city’s “War Years,” died Sunday after a long illness. He was 88.
Julius, born in New York in 1927, was the younger brother of Reginald Julius, who also became a firefighter.
The two men, both WWII veterans who served overseas — Reginald in the Navy and Vincent in the Army — were among just a handful of black firefighters who served in the city’s outer boroughs during the unrest of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Julius became a captain of Ladder 112 in Bushwick in the late ‘70s, where fires bigger than three alarms were called a “Bushwick Sunrise.” He retired in Feb. 1985 after a distinguished career.
“You go into a burning building, down a hallway, you see what we call the red demon, and that red demon’s fingers are reaching out for you, and they’re saying, ‘C’mon. C’mon. I’ve got something for you. C’mon.’ And you put your head down and you keep moving,” he said in the book.
Julius lived his life as he fought fires — with an eye always turned toward progress.
He was an active and vocal member of the Vulcan Society and served as president of the organization in the 1970s, helping to buy its current headquarters, a brownstone on Eastern Parkway.
Julius was also a co-founder of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters in 1969. The group had its first conference in 1970.
An ardent supporter of Civil Rights, Julius played a critical role in getting the city’s fire unions to denounce the fire departments of southern cities who turned fire hoses on peaceful marchers and protestors.
In 1963, Julius — by then an officer — asked the Uniformed Fire Officers Association to write a resolution condemning the use of hoses on civilians, especially children.
The UFOA’s all-white executive board agreed — but when it presented the resolution to the membership, it was voted down, Julius said.
Even though he was one of the few black officers in the union — and a new member — Julius spoke up, and forced the board to pass the resolution anyway.
“I’m very proud of that,” Julius told Birmingham NPR station WBHM last year. “It was a good move, a tough move. I took some brick bats for it, but who the hell cares? Life is made to take adversaries.”
He was the first black firefighter appointed to the FDNY Honor Emergency Fund, which gave out financial assistance to needy families of fallen smoke eaters.
In the turbulent 1970s, part of the FDNY’s busiest stretch known as the “War Years,” he was the department’s community liaison to underserved neighborhoods — places where the fires burned highest and firefighters often found themselves pelted with rocks and garbage from tenement rooftops.
When women moved to join the all-male Bravest in the late 1970s, Julius was their most outspoken champion, said his longtime colleague and friend, James T. Lee.
“He was an organization man, he did a tremendous amount for every organization he joined,” said the 85-year-old retired FDNY firefighter.
“Vinnie always kept the fire burning for justice,” Lee said.
A viewing and funeral will be held Monday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, at 75 Pine Lakes Parkway South in Palm Coast, Florida.
One might wonder how a Jersey City fire fighter ended up participating in Junior Fire Fire Fighter Competition in Warren County, North Carolina. No wonder at all. My Dad was born 8 miles from there in Littleton, NC. I was invited to speak at the African American Heritage Festival last year, when they honored Firefighters. There I met some great folks….Fire Chief & Mayor Gardner, Chief Advisor John Franks, Chaplain Stith and J. Greene. As firefighters do, we hit it of. I told them about my years of coming back to North Carolina and about my love for our noble profession.
They shared the workings of the various departments and EMS. Our friendship was formed. Firefighters are the same, all over!
What an excellent couple of days spent with the Warren County (NC) Junior Firefighters, as they hosted the 2016 Junior Fire Fighter Competition. I want to thank Chief Advisor, John Franks for his warm invitation and welcome to share with the Juniors. We spent a great day with them and groups from West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and neighboring areas. The spirit of competition and camaraderie, among the groups and supporters, was a true inspiration. I particularly liked the fact that on several occasions faster team members completed their tasks and rather than run on to complete their “personal best time”, they stayed in the zone and helped their teammates complete their task…an example for us all.
Hoseline tug-of-war competition. This was an exhilarating battle between several young teen groups. Their perseverance and attention to details won the battle for them. Stellar examples of situational awareness!
Learned a great lesson from these young people…don’t give up and rely on your training. There were several times that it looked like the battle would go one way. These young crews dug in and moved the barrel. I over heard a few of the coaches relate these incidents to fire fighting. Telling them how hold the line, work the nozzle and how to back each other up.
Here is a unique chance to see teamwork and team-building, from the host group Warrenton.
There were several other events. I’ll post more when I’m back…