As I continue to reflect back on our week in Indianapolis last week, one of the greatest highlights would have to be Indy On Fire! I hope that each and every one of you who were able to attend would agree in saying that we had a great venue, great sponsors, and a great time. A lot of time and money went into planning the event, and none of it would have been possible without the participation from each of our sponsors and hosts.
The event took place at the Crane Bay Event Center that is just within walking distance of the Lucas Oil Stadium. Last year, this was the venue that hosted the Firefighter Turnout by First Arriving Network. This year, The Fire Critic, Wooden Ladders and Iron Firemen, Firefighter Wife, and The “Model City” Firefighter hosted the event titled, Indy On Fire. We had Spartan Emergency Vehicles as a main sponsor, and Fire Cam, Black Diamond, TECGEN PPE, Viking Life-Saving Equipment, Titan by Hainsworth, First Arriving Network, and Engine Company Apparel also were sponsors. Each of these companies played a vital role in making the event FREE for everyone who attended.
As we arrived to set-up for the event, there was a line that quickly formed outside the front door. Knowing that we wanted the attendees to get inside as quick as possible, our “Entourage” worked quickly and smoothly to assemble signage, tear raffle tickets, prepare the space, and organize our giveaways. Even though the casino night and food wouldn’t be ready until 7PM, our hosts made the decision to open the doors at 630PM! We wanted to get the party started early!
I would like to thank all the companies that provided products to be featured in the giveaways throughout the night, and it was a great pleasure in finally being able to meet Dave Statter, Statter911.com, our emcee for the event.
Giveaways from: Brothers Helping Brothers, Next Generation Leadership, FitFighter Training, Firefighter Turnout Bag (FFTOB.com), Crosstitched, Fireman Up, Fativan, HexArmor Extrication Products, Fully Involved Leatherworks, Firefighter Art, Identifire, Phenix Technologies, Viking Life-Saving Equipment, TECGEN PPE, MN8FoxFire, Engine Co. Apparel, FireCam, Firefighter Wife, and more!
The Fire Critic did a great job of listing all the names specifically in his FDIC Shout Out post here!
The event drew quite a crowd early, just as expected. The casino tables were rocking, the music was blasting, the food was delicious, and the giveaways were appreciated. We allowed time for each of our sponsors to take a few minutes on the stage to talk about their company/products, as well as participate in the giveaways. While I wish I had more time to visit with many of those in attendance, I have no doubt’s that everyone enjoyed their time at Indy on Fire!
The TECGEN PPE Photo booth was once again a huge hit as attendees could take serious or rather comical photos with many of the props that were on hand. These have been posted in the Indy on Fire event page on Facebook (link).
One of the highlights of the evening was when the Renegade Pipes and Drums arrived to serenade us with their music. The crowd divided as they marched toward the stage and gathered in the front of the room to rock the audience. They have an extremely busy schedule, and we are very thankful that they were able to make it out to Indy on Fire 2015! Brother Matt Hinkle of Box Alarm Training documented the Pipes and Drums playing in the playlist below:
While some our goals with Indy on Fire were to ensure that everyone had a great time, meet/greet with our fans, and celebrate the great connection that we have with brothers and sisters across the country, there were other great things that I want to share that came to be as the event unfolded.
The first is the 50/50 raffle that we sold tickets for during the event. While most 50/50’s benefit one lucky winner, ours will come to benefit firefighters from across the country. The Sweeney Alliance is a nationally recognized company that provides assistance to families and first responders that are suffering from mental illness, addiction, as well as many other serious grieving situations. Cpt. Wines’ of IronFiremen.com has written about the many troubles that he has been dealing with for quite some time now, as he has also talked about the great things that The Sweeney Alliance is accomplishing.
The donation from Indy on Fire WILL make a difference!
Peggy Sweeney and her organization work closely with the Station House Retreat, a responder specific recovery facility located in Boynton Beach, Florida. This donation will help defray the cost of treatment, travel, co-pays and other related costs for those who can’t otherwise afford these expenses. Peggy and Station House Retreat are passionate about what they do together to help their brother and sister first responders.
But wait…there’s more!
Another success story that I heard was while I was visiting with friends at the event. We had been periodically raffling off many of the prizes throughout the night, when one of the brothers from South Carolina approached me. Thomas Wallace, a member of the Charleston County Volunteer Rescue Squad, is a friend that Rhett, Willie, and I tend to see quite often during our travels to the various trade shows.
Brother Wallace approached me to thank us for hosting such a great event, but went on to talk about how ecstatic he was that he WON a FireCam HD Dash Cam. He told me that he also works for a Police Department Harbor Unit as his full-time job. His patrol vehicle is currently not equipped with a Dash Camera, and he said that now he can make traffic stops knowing that all of the actions taking place during the stop can be documented with the new camera.
While I rest assured that every individual that won a giveaway, whether it be a Phenix Leather, a set of TECGEN PPE, or a set of HexArmor Extrication gloves, will make great use of the product; this was deeper than that. It is not that one company, sponsor, or product is “valued” as a bigger prize to win, but that this prize could not have gone to anyone else that needed it more.
It is stories like these that help us realize that we are all making a difference.
Below are a few more photos from the event:
I would like to once again thank each and everyone of our sponsors for allowing us to throw the Biggest Party During FDIC in 2015! Next year, we are already planning an even bigger and better party! If you were unable to attend this year, make plans for next April! You won’t want to miss it!