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Keynote: Dave McGrail

Wed, 22 Apr 2009|

Denver (CO) Fire Department District Chief Dave McGrail gives the 2009 Opening Ceremony keynote speech, "Don't Give Up! You Are Not Alone."



Keynote speaker today because I know that every word that he's going to share with you today he believes and passionately. I've known Denver district chief Dave -- Grail for more than fifteen years. And I can assure you that firefighters safety and survival is second only to his family. Dave has devoted his entire life as his father did to the protection of the citizens of Denver. But a greater sense that both of devoted their lives for the protection of people worldwide. I know Dave is going to command the stage is -- before him has ever done. Davis going to share with you his vision his inspiration. And most importantly. His world class integrity. And now a little bit about my friend -- ground. District chief Dave McGraw 127 year veteran of the Denver part apartment. Instructs internationally on a wide range of our service topics he specializing in high rise fire fighting -- type operations. He is the lead instructor of the FDIC and should stand -- hands on training class member of the engine FDIC and -- -- -- -- records. And he is the author of firefighting operations pyro and high rise -- stamp -- equipped buildings. Published by fire engineering and available 149 just can. And Dave will be out there -- autograph on Thursday so please stop them and get an autograph book and it's a tremendous book they've also has to associate degrees and -- science technology. Two bachelor's degrees in fire science and -- -- human resource management and one of our service administration. Please help me in welcoming district chief Dave McGraw-Hill. Good morning FDIC firefighters. I'd like to welcome here -- -- can refer to it is FDIC -- referred to it as your. Weeklong annual fire service therapy session. Most people that know me realize that I probably need therapy as much as anyone else. Therapy session why don't I caught a therapy session you veterans of the FBI's experience understand why call this -- therapy session as you arrived here at the beginning of the week. I'm sure that you've already started to get your batteries recharged. And you're moving forward so that you can go back home for the next 358 days. And try and sell some of the ideas and concepts and training programs that to -- here this week. Certainly want to welcome you here. This has. Been on my mind -- year. When I was gonna say this morning and -- -- no more than anything else this is truly an honor. For me to be on this stage in your keynote speaker today. Thank you very much for taking the time to be here with this morning to Bobby hall and Diane Feldman all the great people. At fire engineering. And well and the leadership of FDIC. I wanna thank you especially for inviting me. To stand on the very same -- that so many great fire service leaders have stood before me. One of those fire service leaders that I think about frequently is our friend brother and mentor Andy Fredericks. I believe just -- it chief ray Downey was watching his two sons. A few moments ago. I believe Andy has been watching us for the past couple of days as well especially those top shelf engine company hands on. Instructors as you continued. To pass on the message that Andy started. I see any Frederick's as the hub of a very large and we'll. And from that there are countless folks hundreds perhaps thousands of -- many of which are represented by firefighters in this very room. Those folks are reaching out to all corners of the American forresters. To make your portion of the forresters better. Many of the Brothers and firefighters that I've met through the FDIC experience I know. And I've become friends was because of our mutual admiration for and our connection. Was our brother Andy Fredericks. Truly. Andy -- spirit lives on -- us today. And that's what I want to talk about today is your spirit. And the importance of assuring that your -- continues forward. The power of one firefighter. Is certainly exemplified by any progress in the effect that he's had on the American fire service. I wants to think about your contributions. What you've made already -- shall continue to make and most importantly. That you are the hub of your own fire service will. I looked down in the front of this audience here and I see. My beautiful wife who I love sitting next to the very best -- firefighters I know. And you guys I'm very proud of because each of you are a hub of -- -- And there are -- that have started out from that we'll and I hope you'll continue with that. It's not -- be in a fire service leader each and every firefighter in this room has chosen Nabil leader. By virtue of the simple fact that you've come the FDIC. Remember unfortunately there are still people in the fire service that the FDIC. Is still -- banking term. And you can see how -- the banking industry's doing. Okay. It's not easy being a leader it's not easy because at the end of this week. You're gonna go back home. You're gonna take things with you that you learn. And you're gonna try to sell -- the people that don't attend FDIC. You're gonna get it up you're gonna get frustrated your spirit. Is going to be tested. But you can't let it get broken you cannot let it get broken. Each year it FB ICI -- news stories. Of firefighters from various portion of the Faris terrorists. Who have literally had their spirit broken. And it frustrates me for one -- but it makes me angry it really makes me angry that this is going on. One example -- happen if viewers back happened to two very top shelf firefighters. From a large midwest and -- department. And those two top -- firefighters became very very frustrated with the mediocrity. Displayed by some of the employees. From their organization. -- decided to do something about it and they wrote a story. -- the story was fishing for real fire. And they published that story in an online fire service magazine. And then that story they highlighted some of the parallels between what's going on what should be going on we give you a couple of examples. They talked about how some of the individuals who have passion for everything in the world but the fire service. In this case fishermen. Will old worked for hours at the fire house. Behind the computer researching the very best fishing pole at the -- four for the next tournament. The bills and little or no time in the fire district learning about hazards and various occupancies. These individuals would never ever. Go on an ice fishing trip in a teacher but that's -- that to them is acceptable attire. When they're investigating automatic alarm. And then my personal favorite -- believe and -- like this one as well. These individuals believe the -- recorder hose line is a one size fits all weapons. Regardless of the size of fire the type of -- that's. Okay so they did this. They -- Very motivating. Article I enjoyed I have a copy of it my locker the firehouse and at home my best guess who ended up in the chief's office. We ended up in the chief's office. These two top -- firefighters did they were formally admonished for writing this article and to me that's a formal. Situation. Where they have their spirit broken. Totally uncalled for. My message to that -- I have a couple. One of them of this. And -- -- all season I'm not picking on -- here that you chief officers. Are in the very best position to ensure that your enthusiastic firefighters are not punished for their enthusiasm. Stop punishing enthusiasm. If anybody needed to be in that Steve's office. It's a lazy it's the -- it's the guys that don't care. Those passionate firefighters those two -- -- firefighters those are the firefighters and make that she's very proud tonight that really counts. My hat's off to you two firefighters you know who you are and guess where they're at today. Right here at FDIC. Recharging their batteries so that they can go back for 358 gays and continue to try to make their corner of the -- -- better. -- what keeps us from giving up. Many of my close friends -- ask the question to other firefighters around the fire service as well some of -- in the room. I've asked I said you know when you get -- -- up. And people are attempting to break your spirit what. Keeps you from allowing your spirit to be broken. And I always get the same answer. I always give the same answer from the FDIC -- you know they say. Here's what keeps me from get my -- broken you. -- what keeps me from -- my spare room. They talk about that and they talk about I'm gratified it is especially depending FB -- get the batteries recharged and understand that it's okay at least for one week. To be passionate about our profession. To talk about the job. To talk about training and when we got done yesterday afternoon -- -- hands on trading after some pretty cold and miserable Indiana weather. Yes what. She's that was we could do that one more day it was it's okay you can say that. Now to requests for you today here's the first request that I have for you. My request does this look around the room at the tremendous top self FDIC firefighters that are around you. Once again I can look down on this front row and I'm overwhelmed. By the fact that I'm allowed to work with you guys. Look around the room and understand you are not alone you are not alone so please don't give up. Whatever it is that you've learned here from somebody else whatever it is that you're gonna take back home take it back home. And don't give up. Now we -- an FDIC to recharge our batteries. We're attempting to recharge our batteries that once again we can go back to our corner of the fire service and make it the very best it can be. My. Beautiful wife is in the audience today and I learned more from hurt and just about anybody about how I can do my job and the fire service leaders in the fire service manager better. Two areas that I have to work on our diplomacy. And patience. I got the tenacity down. I'm pretty good with that one and it's important to have that tenacity and not give up but in the process. Of trying to sell. The concept the idea to make your portion of the -- better back home. You gotta be patient. It's a battleship. The fire department the battles if that's -- isn't -- -- -- knots. We can't turn it on a -- we can't stop quickly but you can turn it eventually. Tenacious tenacity diplomacy and patience are critical. -- help. I believe I come from the very best part apartment in the country the -- -- fire department. My father spent 42 years there. He's my primary mentor still to this day. These top -- firefighters. In this front row here I believe -- the very best of the best. But I come from -- department that isn't perfect. As Bobby says it's not perfect. There's always room for improvement. In the process. Of trying to make your corner of the fires herbs better think of your corner of the fire service and three different forms. Number one. Your corner of the -- -- your -- permit the way it is very easy to find the way it is. Your fire department the way it should be the FDIC firefighter we are idealists. Okay. I get an idea from this chief -- I'd like to take that back home and many ideas from this chief I wanna take those back home. And if I have those things going on we're on Matt who that would take this one step closer to having the fire department the way it should be. We can identify what it is and what it should be the difficult one is north. -- -- permit the way it can be. Don't give up. I'm making -- what it should be and understand in the process of making it what it should be you gotta make it what to what it can't be first. Now I have unfortunately in the past focused. Too much attention on some of the -- breakers. Okay. I have a message for those spirit breakers today. I have a message for those spare -- I wanna say something of those -- -- right now. You ready. Here's what I have to say that the spirit papers the fire service. Absolutely nothing. You're not worth my time. -- not worth my time and it brings on too much negativity. Okay. Don't focus on a -- breakers focus instead. On the photograph. Of the April issue fire engineering and that 1952. Al series -- bumper. And chief Bob -- editorial. Focus on the symbol. When engine 23 goes down considerable part -- I know that the people in that community looked up and they believe. And they trust that everybody on board is going to be physically fit mentally prepared and into the job. Focus on the symbol. This hit home for me in a big way. In an experience that my wife to you know and I had over six years ago tonight that our son Joseph was born. -- and I went to the hospital. That night at the end of a normal full term pregnancy. To bring our son and the. World. We walked into a hospital a symbol it was a symbol for us we're going to a place where they'll take care of us. When we got in there there was a doctor and a nurse symbols. And that doctrine that nerves. Gene and I've placed our trust in them that yes mom's going to be fine and so -- baby. In the last seventeen minutes of Joseph's childbirth that doctor and that -- Stop -- attention. They became complacent. -- and know that. We had no idea that was going on. We only figured out when a nurse from the main area. Came into the birthing room she had recognized. On her monitor that there were no fetal heart -- And she told the nurse in the doctor hey you gotta do something here. When they finally deliver -- he was very -- not a palladium on the table. And I said -- the doctor my son's not breathing well he'll start breathing. My -- operating he'll start breathing he never started breathing. -- never started breathing. He had to be resuscitated. You have to go on full life support. And he spent two months in the neonatal intensive care. When my wife -- and I took Joseph's home he was not a healthy baby that we -- -- the hospital with. He's the most courageous guy you'll ever meet in line. Joseph's in the last seventeen minutes of his birth because of the complacency of two people we placed our trust and in -- Los boxed him in suffered a severe brain injury his diagnosis today -- -- -- it will -- -- why am I telling you this I'm not telling you this is a once -- -- feel bad. And I'm not -- doesn't want to feel sorry from -- want my wife we are very blessed and Joseph is the best little boy in the world. I'm telling it for a couple reasons one reason is because. You have a brother here. And his wife. To give you first -- information on what it's like when you place trust in a symbol. He's where we're -- -- -- hospital -- partners they're gonna take care of us. It was seventeen minutes of complacency that will affect our lives forever. Now the most important reason why -- tell you this is because I believe when your spirit is allowed to be broken. There's a cause effect that occurs there. When your spirit is broken it leads to complacency. And some nights somewhere there is going to be somebody there's -- to be counting on you to bring your a game. You cannot allow your spirit to be broken because it will lead to complacency. On the dimmer -- department's website for our training division. They have adopted three phrases the were originally written on our original drill -- And those three phase -- phrases are desire to serve. Courage to act ability to perform. No I realized that most firefighters have the desire to serve I think that's fantastic. We saw the firefighter from Milwaukee that clearly had the courage to act and I believe that exists and we see good examples of that. Throughout every year in the Americans -- servers. But to me the most important of the history is the ability to perform. I believe those three Fraser's really in body what the top shelf -- firefighter is. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I salute all of you. Because you're here for this week to exchange information to learn. And to enhance your ability to perform. Second request. Second request for you. Remember the first requests. You're not alone please don't give up. Request number two. A want to send got a rescue mission. I want you to continue to build spokes from the -- of -- will I want you to go out. And find somebody who has given up. And once and bring them back. It's like size -- you're gonna have to find somebody's able -- it's not going to be easy it's not rapid intervention this is a technical rescue. Find somebody who has given up. And bring them back. Andy was the hub of a large will and you are the hub of your own -- service we will as well. -- leader. Understand it's not easy being a leader. Don't give up because you're not alone please. Identify somebody and rescue somebody who has given up. Once again it is my honor to have in your keynote speaker. At the very best fire service conference in the world. To put. Last things. To the most beautiful girl on the world happy birthday. And you all you great FDIC firefighters. Don't give up -- Whether this was one -- -- that was long overdue. That's those beautiful job thank you accomplishment. Where's. I think there -- the real chief McGraw should stand up when -- Dave's wife. -- once again we all look like kids in candy stores with smiles carriers has got to the FDIC. Remember to tip your waiters and waitresses when you're out there but please know -- you're valuations. When -- -- -- -- which -- mind. The national -- firefighters alumni meeting will be 7 o'clock tonight -- the Lincoln room. And not for nothing but the fools bash out there on the streets down by -- -- Jones he's if you don't know where it is that you're not really a firefighter. So -- -- out there tonight god bless and we'll see on the streets IKEA.

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