“Boys ‘Round Here”

Yeah the boys ’round here
Drinking that ice cold beer
Talkin’ ’bout girls, talkin’ ’bout trucks
Runnin’ them red dirt roads out, kicking up dust” -Blake Shelton

Team Hunter Coin by NM-Coin LLC

Team Hunter Coin by NM-Coin LLC

This weekend, I had the chance to travel up the road to the Roanoke, VA area to spend some time with a few great friends. While the trip was spare of the moment, but it turned out to be a fun-filled day. I know many of you have read my articles talking about Team Hunter in the past. I worked with Hunter’s dad, Baron, on minting up challenge coins for them through NM-Coin LLC. The coins can be purchased online through First Due Fire & EMS Gear. Sarah, at First Due, handles distributing all of Team Hunter’s t-shirts and stickers, so it made perfect sense to also send everyone there to purchase the coins. Click here to purchase your Team Hunter gear!

Click here to read about the first time I met with Team Hunter!

Since Team Hunter is located in the Roanoke area, I reached out to Cpt. Wines with IronFiremen.com and Rhett Fleitz from FireCritic.com to let them know I was going to be in the area. Unfortunately, The Fire Critic wasn’t able to make it out due to some family obligations, but Cpt. Wines welcomed us with open arms. Within a few minutes of talking to him on the phone, he had the entire day planned out:

Drinks, Guns, and a little bit of 4×4’ing!

We arrived at Cpt. Wines’ homeplace a little after lunch, and he welcomed us, as always, with open arms. Let me tell you, Cpt. Wines’ is one of the best. He eats, sleeps, and breathes the fire service! Aside from that, he is one of the best brothers I know. If you’re lucky enough to have him as a friend, you know that he will do anything in the world to help you out.

roanoketrip (12)One of my good friends went along with me and met everyone for the first time. We ventured around and got the full tour! As we were browsing over his fire memorabilia collection, Cpt. Wines handed me an old fire nozzle. He then explained about how he had seen my recent post on Facebook about how we were trying to clean up an old nozzle at my volunteer department. He continued with telling me that he wanted to give me the nozzle to be used on our antique hose cart that was recently restored.  I honestly didn’t know what to say! I was literally speechless, and those of you that know me…that doesn’t happen very often. The nozzle will be the perfect piece to help restore the history of my department, and I can’t wait to deliver it to them tomorrow! Baron, with Team Hunter, was there and happened to snag a photo of Cpt. Wines presenting it to me.

Click here to read about the hose cart project!

roanoketrip (5)Once we were all settled, Cpt. Wines let us know that we were headed up on the mountain to throw some lead down range! As much as I love shooting, I tend to not have enough hours in the day to do so as much as I would like. We loaded up in the trucks and headed up to the mountain. I had no idea what to expect, and after riding for about 20 minutes on a narrow path through the woods, we arrived. The spot was beautiful! There was a cabin that had a beautiful view looking down into the valley, and it was the perfect place to “get away” to for a while. Cpt. Wines worked hard to get the fire place going in the cabin since the temps outside were in the low 30’s, and we headed down to get set-up for some shooting.

While I knew we were going to have a great time, the kids were along with us, and we wanted them to have a great time too! We set up a few empty cans and spent a couple of hours shooting. Cpt. Wines brought Buckaroo along with him, Hunter was there, and Hunter’s sister, Caroline, also shot a few rounds with us. The kids had a great time for sure and each of them NAILED some of the targets we had set up for them. I even shot an AR for the first time EVER and nearly fell in love! It’s times like these spent off the beaten path with great friends that are priceless. Here are a few photos of us shooting:

roanoketrip (8)As night fall set-in, Baron, Hunter, and Caroline, had us back to their place in Vinton for dinner. Since I was on-shift on Sunday, we had drive ahead of us and had to leave not too long after dinner though. We were still able to spend some time playing with everyone and able to chow down on a fabulous meal. If any of you follow Team Hunter on Facebook (Click here to FOLLOW ALONG), then you know how much they like to use their grill! We had rib eyes, asparagus, grilled veggies, and pretzel rolls for dinner, and they even had apple pie for dessert. We won’t go into that.

After the long day, we said our goodbyes and headed back to Tennessee! We enjoyed every minute spending time with Cpt. Wines and his family, and with the Team Hunter crew. I look forward to hopefully being able to host everyone down in Tennessee soon!

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legiondrill (5)On Sunday, I was on shift here in “The Model City,” and it surely wasn’t our typical Sunday. For those of you who think all firefighters do is wait around on a call or sleep…you’d be wrong. We actually had a Technical Rescue Team shift training drill at the old Legion Pool building. The pool is closed down due to the new Aquatics Center opening here in Kingsport, but they needed a favor. Over the years, the lifeguards have signed a few of the wooden beams that were exposed in the office area of the building. Since the building will eventually be torn down, they wanted to salvage the history of the employees that have worked there by having us remove the beams. We had one beam to remove, and the other shifts were removing one each as well.

legiondrill (1)Since the beam section ran the entire length of the room, we were unable to turn it to walk it out the existing doorway. While part of the crew operated the saw shop to build T-shores for the structure, a few of us worked on breaking through the exterior of the building to create a hole big enough to remove the beam. The technique we used is called a “dirty breach.” We used a hammer drill to form a triangle of holes through the wall, and then started breaking the brick and block away. That’s were we made use of The Pig! The Pig is a tool that I personally own, but have been carrying on Engine 2 for the last year. It is has a 8lb. head and is a BEAST! It definitely is a bit of work breaking through a masonry wall, but if I am going to use a hand tool to do so…it’s going to be The Pig! Click here to purchase The Pig(link). Here are a few photos of our drill:

Now, it’s four days off and back to the FD on Friday! Our department is hosting it’s First Annual Employee Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, and I’m really looking forward to that. Our committee has put a lot of time and work into making this happen, and hopefully it is well received. Up to this point, the promotions/awards have been handed out on shift in front of a few crews that are at the stations. Hopefully, this will be the implementation of a new tradition that will be carried out for years to come! I’ll have more on this later in the week!

Stay safe.

The “Model City” Firefighter