The Origin of The “Model City” Firefighter

smokeisshowing2For those of you who know me personally or are from Northeast Tennessee, you may be familiar with the term “Model City”, and for the rest of you, this article will help explain a bit about how the website originated. First, I would like to give each of you a bit of background about myself, and then I would like to tell you a little about where I live and work. It is always a pleasure meeting individuals at shows and on the road that follow the site, and I have been meaning to type this post to give some of you some insight of why you see some of the information you do on the site.

First off, I entered the fire service as an Explorer at the young age of 16 years old at my volunteer department, Chilhowie Fire & EMS Department, in Chilhowie, Virginia. From that young age, I quickly became “hooked.” After receiving my FF1, FF2, and EMT certs before turning 18, I quickly began to realize that this is what I wanted to do as a career. I was a very active volunteer member with my department for the next several years as I tried to determine the best route to make my dreams become reality.

swearinginSince my hometown is located in an extreme rural area, the closest career departments are 2 hours north in Roanoke, VA, and just to the south are the Tri-Cities: Bristol, TN/VA; Kingsport, TN; Johnson City, TN. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but also realized that it may require a bit of travelling to accomplish it. At 20 years old, I started testing for some of the area departments. It was just a few months later on January 28th, 2008, I was hired by the Kingsport Fire Department.

While I have never been much of a writer, after completing my very first 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in Richmond, VA, I was asked to write an article about my experience climbing. It was at this time that I wrote what would become my first “blog post” several months later. As I submitted the letter to the editor, it was a bit longer than I had meant for it to be. He quickly responded that he wanted to print the entire piece, and had nothing but positive comments about the article.

Click here to read about my 1st 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb…

Since I had a few contacts that were currently writing a few fire service blogs, such as The Fire Critic and Wooden Ladders and Iron Firemen, I decided to give it a whirl. I started the blog on a BlogSpot site, and quickly transitioned to the WordPress format a few months later. After writing a little over a year, in January of 2014, my site was picked up by the First Arriving network, and is now part of the largest fire service blogs in the country.

Before I started the site, I knew that I had to come up with a title for it. Kingsport, TN is known as “The Model City.” This is the true origin of the name of the site, the city that I live and work in.

According to Margaret Ripley Wolfe, in her book Kingsport, Tennessee: A Planned American City, “Kingsport, Tennessee, is the first thoroughly diversified, professionally planned, and privately financed city in twentieth-century America.”  The city was planned, outlined and designed by city planner and landscape architect John Nolen.  Nolen’s accomplishments as a city planner are quite impressive.  He was the head landscape architect for not only Kingsport, but other successful American cities like Madison, Wisconsin, Roanoke, Virginia, San Diego, California, New London, Connecticut, and Savannah, Georgia.  Nolen integrated ideas such as roundabouts, which were common around his home in Massachusetts.  Areas for commerce and industry were set up and strategically outlined among the residential areas. The school system was set up based on a model developed at Columbia University.  All of these actions took place when the City of Kingsport was re-chartered in 1917. -kingsporttn.gov

ModelCity128As the site has continued to grow since it was first started, it has become about much more than just “The Model City.” I write about a variety of topics and make an attempt to pass on some of my passion that I have for the job. Many of our incidents from work are featured on the site, but I also cover incidents from across the country. I tend to cover many of the station projects that we have completed at my firehouse in hopes that some of you may be able to take something away from it and potentially use it to help build pride in YOUR DEPARTMENT.

Recently, I have added Cpt. Tim Kron of the New Albany Fire Department in Indiana. Cpt. Kron has just started to share some of his articles and I believe that he has a lot to bring to the table. He has been in the fire service for a number of years, and is an experienced officer on the job. I am hoping to see a variety of articles come from his “Just Livin’ the Dream” column that many of the readers, that are officers, will be able to take something away from

When the site started, I had no idea that it would have grown this much. I appreciate each of you that follow along, and I look forward to continuing to share articles and posts that interest each of you.