Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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Home / WLF TheySaid / He’s not my friend, he’s my brother

  • 02/06/2015
  • Mt Eddy

Hey everyone,

Giving Fire Geek’ idea a try to italicize my thread and let the rest fill in below.

As you may all be aware, I left Fulltime employment with CalFire to run WLF/FireWhat back in June. I was a Forestry Fire Captain, had one of the best stations in the state on an 800 acre forest,and made some of the best memories of my life!

As we all know, the fire service is one of tradition, honor, pride, integrity, and.. Brotherhood!

In my 19 years of service, I made some of the best friends a man could ask for. Those friends, still to this day, would be by my side headed into any battle or blaze ahead of us. When I had my bout with Cancer a few years back, two of my best friends were in the waiting room, making sure I’d made it through my surgery. When our moms both passed away, we were there holding each other up.

And when they went down on the line after hard charging for thirty days straight, there I was, to help them make it to the end. Two of our Co-Founders were my explorers. One became the very best friend I’ve ever had. We’ve had some very tough times. Been through some very tough situations back at our station, and built this whole company to what it is today. We’ve fought, we’ve had our wars, and we’ve had each other’s backs time and time again. Over the years, the brotherhood has only gotten stronger.

Being a little brother myself, I know how important it is to have brothers, and have big brothers to look up to as mentors. The fire service is the closet thing I can think of, where you are just as close to your co-workers, then you are with some of your family. You spend weeks, months, and sometimes years, 9 years in my case, with your partners. Seeing them sometimes more then you get the chance to see your family.

The very worst part about leaving, is leaving that brotherhood. Running the company, we have a very tight knit crew, and I’m very fortunate for that. It’s very much like having my engine crew again.

Last week my old crew was up for a class. As much time as I could spend with them, there I was. I stayed at the cabin they were staying in, and it was just like old times. Up to the wee hours of the night laughing about old times, throwing boots at eachother for snoring, and being brothers!

Even though I’ve been getting hammered hard lately for TheySaid being dead, it’s ok! I know it’s not. I know it’s just like having that new captain coming to your crew. And not wanting to open up. I know folks will open up, and I know the feeling. I’ve been there as the new captain, quite a few times. And I know the feeling of breaking the ice, and living the “Days of Summer” when your driving down the highway in strike team formation heading to that first big blaze with the new guy.

Then it hits, and, it’s like you’d knowm eachother all along!

So, let’s hear it. Let’s hear the stories. Let’s break the ice. I’m an open book, with some pretty great stories of Fed, State, FEMA, and LG time. Ask away, let’s break the ice and have you all find out, the “New Owners”, they’re really just like us… One of the guys!

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  1. Fire Geek
    February 7, 2015 Reply

    Sam, looks familiar and friendly again. Ab would be proud. I know it was tough to give up your CAL FIRE career but I’ll share something with you that I learned from Russ Johnson and once told Paul Doherty. You will have a greater impact on the entire wildland fire community managing Wildlandfire.com than working for one State agency. Russ was referring to ESRI, but it is just as appropriate in your situation. Remember, you’re not a jar of Nutella and will never make everyone happy. I wouldn’t get upset over some folks complaining that They Said looks different. At the risk of sounding sexist, when firefighters aren’t squirting water or throwing dirt, they can be worse than a bunch of gossiping women. You gave an excellent explanation why the changes were necessary.

    Thank you so much for keeping Steve and Mellie’s dream alive. Carry on!

    1. Fire Geek
      February 7, 2015 Reply

      Ooops… forgot to turn off italics!

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