Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cabela's Hometown Hero Sale: June 27 - 29, 2012

Cabela’s is saluting our hometown heroes and inviting you to celebrate with us! Our Hometown Hero sale is June 27, 28 and 29, 2012 and we are proud to extend to you our employee discount (up to 25 percent, depending on manufacturer and yes, firearms and ammo are included).

All Hometown Heroes are invited--these include law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and all active duty and retired military personnel.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Family Eldercare Fan Fare Friday Celebration: June 22, 2012

The Austin Fire Department is a proud partner of the Family Eldercare annual Fan Drive, whereby new fans are accepted at area fire stations and donated to the elderly during the hot summer months. Each year, the drive culminates in a celebration at Threadgill's called Fan Fare Friday and this Friday, June 22 is that time again! Come out between 6:00 a.m. and midnight and enjoy live music and refreshments. Please contact maryann.hubbard@austintexas.gov or visit http://familyeldercare.org/services/summer-fan for more information.

Monday, June 18, 2012

FF John Drummond: "Awesomest" Dad of the Year!

Congratulations to FF John Drummond (Engine 37/A shift) on being the "awesomest" dad of the year! Check out the great story below that ran in yesterday's Statesman.

'Awesomest' Travis County dad wins national contest
As an Austin firefighter for the past eight years, John Drummond puts his life on the line every day and often works overtime, his family says. But even when he comes home exhausted, he makes time to play with his two sons and two daughters and helps them with homework.

Those are some of the reasons why — "between saving lives and changing diapers" — his wife, Ana, said she and their four children set out to prove he is America's Most Deserving Father.

In a one-minute video, they used drawings and photos to tell his story, and their entry took the winning prize: a one-week stay at a Destin, Fla., beach house sponsored by ResortQuest; a 2012 Jeep Wrangler; and $500 in spending money.

The contest, organized by Northwest Florida's Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, had more than 5,000 registered applicants nationwide and received more than 180 short film entries.

The bureau's marketing team chose the Drummonds' entry out of the 10 videos that had the most likes on the bureau's Facebook page. And on Sunday, a spokeswoman with Emerald Coast and a group of reporters met John Drummond at his southwestern Travis County home to deliver the surprise. He answered the door with a puzzled look on his face.

"This is awesome," he said with tears in his eyes after a few seconds of confused speechlessness. "I have never won anything in my life. I do not know what to say. I can't believe it."

His daughters, Layla, 4, and Maya, 6, bubbly, little girls with big, bright eyes and their mother's brown locks, beamed smiles at the cameras. His 8-year-old son, Joseph, told reporters his father deserved the recognition because "he is the awesomest."

Ana Drummond said that her husband watches the children while she takes classes in preparation for nursing school and that he puts in overtime to help pay for her education.

"He is just a great dad, and I am really proud of him," she said.

The holiday had already been going well, John Drummond said. He had received artwork from his children Sunday morning and was looking forward to dinner at his favorite barbecue restaurant.

He had noticed his wife had been acting strangely all week but never saw this coming, he said.

"I just want to thank my family," he said.

Photo credit: Alberto Martinez, Austin American-Statesman
Austin firefighter John Drummond – with his children Layla, 4; Maya, 6; and Joseph, 8; and his wife, Ana – displays his awards for being selected America's Most Deserving Dad after his family touted his qualities in a contest.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

60th Anniversary of Station 14

In celebration of Flag Day, a ceremony was held at Station 14 today, June 14, recognizing the 60th anniversary of the station and changing out the worn, tattered US flag hanging from their flagpole with a new one that flew over the United States Capitol Building specifically for this honor. Neighbors from the surrounding community joined us, and even brought a "Happy 60th Anniversary" poster. Check out the photos below.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FF Coitt Kessler Recognized by State VFW

FF Coitt Kessler (Engine 18/C shift) was presented with the state "Firefighter of the Year" award yesterday by the Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars, who received more than 200 nominations statewide for the honor. Coitt now moves on to the national competition. Check out the photos below. Congratulations Coitt!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Program Aims to Assist Firefighters with Home Buying, Selling

From the Austin American-Statesman, June 8, 2012:

The State Firemen's & Fire Marshals' Association of Texas and Austin-based Goldwasser Real Estate say they have teamed up on a new program to help firefighters buy or sell a home. The program also benefits the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund, which helps fire departments across the state, mostly volunteer ones, buy needed equipment and gear, officials said.

Here's how it works: Goldwasser Real Estate agents contribute 20 percent of their commission for every firefighter who buys or sells a home through their firm, said David Schneider, a sales manager and partner with Goldwasser Real Estate. Schneider said 15 percent of that amount then goes to the individual firefighter buying or selling a home, and 5 percent is earmarked for the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund.

Real estate agents typically make a 3 percent commission on a home sale.

On the sale of a $250,000 home, for example, that would amount to a $7,500 commission. Goldwasser would contribute 20 percent — $1,500 — of its commission, rebating $1,200 to the firefighter buying or selling a home, with the remaining $300 going to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund.

Dallas-based Proficio Mortgage Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Proficio Bank, also is participating in the program through its State Heroes program, in which the company waives or discounts closing costs on home loan purchases or refinances nationwide for firefighters, as well as law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, Goldwasser and Proficio officials said.

In addition, Austin-based Capital Title Co. has agreed to donate $500 for each closing to the Wildfire Relief Fund, "so it makes it even more significant," Schneider said.

Schneider said he expects the program to benefit roughly 20 firefighters in the Austin area this year and many more as word of the program travels around the state. He hopes to eventually expand the program to help police officers, corrections officers and veterans who buy or sell a house through Goldwasser.

The idea to help firefighters become homeowners originated in 2006 with Sue Shearer, a local real estate agent who was working on her own at the time. When Goldwasser hired her in 2011, Shearer said she finally had the resources to make her goal of helping firefighters get into a home a reality.

Shearer is fond of firefighters, in part because she is friends with Chris Barron. Barron is executive director of the State Firemen's & Fire Marshals' Association of Texas, which represents 22,000 firefighters statewide — mostly volunteers — who generally have to buy their own equipment and gear. Barron also is fire chief at the Manchaca Volunteer Fire Department.

"I've been an underdog and have a passion about helping people," Shearer said. And firefighters, who put their lives on the line for others, topped the list of people Shearer said she wanted to help.

Shearer and Barron are spreading the word about the program at the association's annual convention this weekend in Houston.

The group had about $1 million worth of requests for equipment and gear, before raising more than $500,000 during the past year in private funding, Barron said.

"Now we've got about half a million (dollars' worth) of outstanding requests for clothing or gear from departments all over the state, both volunteer and paid, but primarily volunteer," Barron said. Volunteer firefighters make up 78 percent of all the fire service in Texas, he said.

It costs about $200 for a set of lightweight gear such as the type used in fighting grass and brush fires, he said. "We hope the program has a great impact to get firefighters in the much-needed gear they lack," Barron said.

Shearer and Schneider said they aren't aware of any similar programs in other states where a real estate firm rebates a partial commission to homebuyers or sellers who are firefighters.

Schneider said Goldwasser as a company shares his passion to help others. He said he's teaching his 4-year-old twins about giving.

"I tell them it's the essence of life: The more you give, the more you get."

Congratulations FS MaryAnn Hubbard!

AFD Fire Specialist MaryAnn Hubbard (Community Outreach) has been selected to serve as the South Central Division Trustee for the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services (iWomen). iWomen is a resource for Fire and EMS professionals regarding the issues and interests of equity in the fire service workplace relating to policy guidance, educational opportunities, mentoring, and networking.

The mission of iWomen is to give voice to women in fire and emergency services. Firefighters all share the core values of courage, professionalism, integrity, unity, and respect: This is a critical time in the fire service, as Fire Departments proactively adapt to the steady pace of growth, cultural change and fiscal realities.

Congratulations MaryAnn!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Austin Fire Explorer Post 370

Special thanks to the Austin Fire Explorer Post 370 for supporting the Safety Fair at Nelson Field on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Your contribution and help with the Austin Fire Department's equipment displays were very instrumental to the success of the event. Way to go!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Next up on YNN's "Science Break": BC Palmer Buck and meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons demonstrate the proper way to use a fire extingisher.


Friday, June 1, 2012

"Flood Ball" Demonstrates Power of Water

Check out this segment from YNN that BC Palmer Buck did with meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons to illustrate the power of water: