Friday, September 18, 2015

9-18-15,  DAY 157
John was a friend and a mentor, my first Battlion Chief and at the time a guy who could drink beer like I did, which was at the time was A LOT!  I didn't know he had been sick.  Another brother I had lost touch with over the years.  RIP my Amigo!
We sadly share the passing of retired Lt. John S. Garrett on Saturday September 12, 2015; he fought a courageous battle with a number of illnesses and was under the care of Hospice.
Lt. Garrett started his career in the fire service as a Firefighter with the Taft Fire Control District in 1974. He retired in 2000 as an Orange County Fire Rescue Department Lieutenant assigned at Fire Station 36. He was riding BC the day when Mark and Todd lost their lives in the line of duty, back in February 24, 1989.
He was a hardworking firefighter and a good friend to many. He will be sorely missed.
Memorial Service
Thursday September 24, 2015 - 6:00pm
Baldwin-Fairchild Conway Funeral Home
1413 South Semoran Boulevard, Orlando FL 32807
Please keep John in your hearts and prayers.

Monday, September 14, 2015

DAY 153
Ok I am going to go back to Day 140 and give you the daily squats from there.  I noticed I hadn't gone back in a while so here goes.
Mon, Day 140- 20" Box Sqt, 205# x 2, 295# x 1, 345 x1
Tues, Day 141- 18" Box Sqt, 135 x 5, 205 x 3, 255 x 2, 315 x 1, 335 x 1
Wed, Day 142- 18" Box Sqt, 135 x 10, 205 x 3, 255 x 2, 295 x 1, 345 x 1
Thurs, Day 143- 20" Box Sqt, 225 x 3, 315 x 1, 345 x 1
Fri, Day 144- 18" REVERSE BAND Box Sqt, 225 x 10, 315 x 5, 365 x 3, 405 x 3, 455 x 1, 500# x 1
Sat, Day 145- 18" Box Sqt, 205 x 5, 225 x 3, 275 x 3, 325 x 3, 350 x 3
Sun, Day 146 - 20" Box Sqt, 210 x 1, 260 x 1, 310 x 1, 340 x 1
Mon, Day 147- 18' Box Sqt, Bar x 10, 95 x 10, 135 x 5, 165 x 5, 195 x 5, 270 x 3, 285 x 3, 300 x 3, 340 x 1
Tues, Day 148- 18" Box Sqt/ Safety Sqt Bar, 135 x 6, 225 x 3, 275 x 2, 315 x 1, 345 x 1
Wed Day 149- 20" Box Sqt, Bar x 10, 95 x 10, 145 x 5, 195 x 3, 245 x 3, 295 x 1, 345 x 1
Thurs, Day 149- 16" Box Sqt, 95 x 10, 145 x 8, 195 x 4, 245 x 1, 295 x 1, 345 x 1
Fri, Day 150- 20" Box Sqt, 135 x 5, 205 x 3, 275 x 1, 345 x 1
Sat, Day 151- 20" Box Sqt, 135 x 5, 205 x 3, 275 x 1, 345 x 1, 375 x 1
Sun, Day 152- 18" Box Sqt, 135 x 10, 205 x 2, 275 x 1, 345 F, 345 x 1
Mon, Day 153- 20" Box Sqt 135 x 5, 225 x 3, 275 x 1, 345 x 1

That catches us up to today!!!!  Hope everyone had a great weekend and tomorrow or Wed I will be posting some pics from 343 and let ya know how it went.  God Bless!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In 4 days we will be hosting the 3rd, 343 Hero Challenge.  In all reality this will be the last one that I will be taking part in as a employed firefighter of Orange County.  I haven't thought much about this and hopefully won't think much about the truth in those words until later down the road.  I can still remember my first shift day and it really doesn't feel like 30 years has gone by.  But taking a quick look back A LOT has happened during this time of being a "FIREFIGHTER"....23 days after the "343" I will be having a double total knee replacement and during this time I plan on taking more time to write and get the web site up and get caught up with ya'll.  It is also hard to believe this journey has gone on for 6 MONTHS STRAIGHT  with no missed days of squats!  I attribute the "NO missed days" to you all who keep me going and the families as well as, Shakey and JP themselves.  I don't have enough toes and fingers to count how many times I had to talk myself into squatting...I am ashamed of this but I gotta get it out.  At least once a week I had a good excuse not to, this past month I've had and still have a strained groin, so I have been doing mainly box squats because trying to go down deep is almost impossible...but you see I have excuses and resources where as the 2 brother's have what they have and that's that!  There's no "Hey let's do this treatment a lil different today Doc so I don't puke as much" or "how bout we take a couple days off so I can rest up a bit then go at it hard again" ...This is how I am trying to arrange my thinking when someone says Hey -Bull ease up you have been going at this for 6 months!  Give yourself a break!...WHY I ask should I?  I decided to take this journey to suffer a little with Shakey so every day he didn't have to be alone, then a month or so in I was blessed with getting JP my question is .."WHY" should I ease up?  My thought's are this - what can we do now to try to raise more funds, raise more awareness for whats going on here.  I started this with the thought of 30 years has flown by...but the funny thing is the one thought that still remains is that we firefighters are invincible, and I can't put my finger on why I would still believe that.  I have seen so many friends/brother's taken from us way too soon and....wait!  maybe that's why - "TAKEN"  because I feel like they have been taken from me, from us, not that they passed away but they were TAKEN!... So Invincible makes sense...unbreakable, tough as nails, bad to the bone, proud and yet humble...loving and honest to a fault yet fearless but afraid at times.  And incredibly INSANE and CERTIFIABLE...but we get paid to what the sane will not do!  A firefighter is ALL of these and more because this job demands this from us... if you are going to be great at it.  We spend our lives taking care of total strangers and neglect our own at times...then when we get sick we take care of each other.  Sometimes we try to make believe our brother's aren't sick because then that means we are not as unbreakable as we thought.  Vicious circle.  ....WOW that was a lil tangent there.  Ok Here is a formal invite to all of ya'll who are free this coming Sat morning (Sept.12th) to come out and cheer on the athlete's taking part in the 343 Hero Challenge...there is nothing like this anywhere and I will promise you that you will enjoy it.  If you get there early enough to see the opening ceremonies I will guarantee that you will be moved as the Honor Guard does an amazing tribute to the "Fallen" and it sounds like this years guards will be beefed up with more participating.  Then some speeches from our leaders and then the games begin...I'll be some where in the middle of the room yelling at people and trying to keep up with the Mighty Silverback...but do me a favor and find me and tell me that your reading this blog and that you are praying for Shakey and JP and their families!   Can you do that for me?  That way I know...................

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tributes... Dedications... that is what is coming this week.  We will never forget that horrible day when terrorists attacked America. In 7 days - we will see many of you at the 2015 343 Hero Challenge at the OCFR Training Facility and Command School located at 2976 Forsyth Rd. Winter Park, FL 32792.  Opening ceremonies is one like no other - be there sharply at 8am and you won't miss out! ~ Rachel

 Here is a short clip of Bull's squats today to inspire us all - he is truly dedicated to keeping funds flowing to help the families of Shakey and JP!  ~ Rachel

Thursday, August 27, 2015

does GOOD!
FF Kevin Nazario & FF Jesse Harris spear head the Bad Boy breakfast which has been huge in raising funds for brothers!

FF Jesse Harris and Me with a GIFT that i will cherish forever!  Thank you so much

It is my pleasure to announce a new "partnership".... The BAD Boys and Bull will be teaming up monthly to raise funds for our brother's and sister's.  It is something we all feel will only benefit those we are trying help, and I for one are looking forward to this huge help.  Today was special and I can not thank my brother's enough for such a fantastic gift.  Here are a couple guys as well as a few more brother's who have taken the time to go across the country to be at a fallen FF funeral services that they have never met just to honor them....because they take the name BROTHER as a truth not just a saying!  And I am proud to be serving with them.  Today was also great because I got treated to lunch by none other than the Shakey himself!!!!  Yepper it looks like he will be making a return to LIGHT DUTY in a couple weeks, so while he was in town turning in some paper work he swung by the PIT to take his lil' buddy the THE BEST FOOD JOINT IN O-TOWN ....HDH!!!! BABY YIPPPPEEEE!!!!  Hot Dog Heaven is what that stands for....this family has stood beside and given SO MUCH not only in donations but in true friendship and LOVE for our brother.  Anytime I have walked in there they stop and take time to ask "How is Shakey doing" or "What does Shakey need"....I love this place and the people who make it great!!!!
Shakey, and the people who put the HEAVEN in hotdog! Me
Todays squats went BIG and I was joined by Matty Rogers from OPD and Rob Graham from OCSO and we tok turns and today I was able to make it up to 405# again off a high box!  Next week if things go well I am going for 425 to 450...
One more thing before I close tonight...PLEASE keep my Squad 1 Lt Charlie Walsh in your prayers tonight and this weekend.  Thank you and I will update his status tomorrow. Thank you with all my heart......much LOVE ---Bull

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26, 2015
Lt. Charlie Walsh
Squad 1 Reunion & Gorzon-Rajcula Retirement...B Shift"ORIGINALS", FF Thomas "BULL" Hill,
Lt. Charlie Walsh,  Engineer Jody Rhoden,  PM Dana McCrystal(2nd Generation)

Lt Steve Kidd "A", Bull "B", J.Rhoden "B", Lt Charlie Walsh "B", FF Doug Samms "A", LT Bobby Kasper "C"
I am asking for prayers, tonight for my Lt. from The"Original 12" Squad 1.  I received a call today from ret. Lt Bobby Kasper who was sitting with Lt Charlie Walsh in Englewood, Fl. and his family.  Bobby said that he doesn't know if Charlie actually knows if he is there or not.  He had made the trip wanting to share stories and pictures from the glory days with Charlie.  Bobby, as well as a few of us knew Charlie had been sick, but we had no idea that Charlie was THIS SICK.  Today, Hospice is there and administering some pain meds to keep Lt Walsh comfortable.  Bobby is by his side.  He says that it is close.  So I am asking you my friends to ask for Lt Charlie to have another safe journey and that peace is with his family.  I ask that he is soon pain free and enjoying sunshine and freedom.  I am asking that his heart is filled with God's amazing LOVE and that his family is embraced with that same LOVE and that they know he is in a better place.  Your prayers have strengthened me in these 136 days of Squatting .... I know your prayers will be heard for this.  I know I ask A LOT, but I do it because I know each of you are capable of doing great things, and together we can get all things done that we set out to accomplish!  Charlie Walsh is one of the reasons this truck is STILL in service and why there is 2 more trucks also.  He is a big reason why we were a success and why we did not fail.  Remember there was guide books... no "THIS IS HOW" it is done diagrams back then ..we were the 1st and he was one of the 3 LT's who led us!  Now it is our turn to carry him and lead him.  So, before you sleep tonight please say a prayer for my friend and Lt.  Charlie Walsh...... Thank you-Bull

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So this past Sunday was a rough day, it does not get to this very stage often but some days with doing heavy squats on a daily basis your mind can go to dark places.  It's funny I read that in a couple articles I researched before I started this journey, but I never imagined HOW dark that was.  I am learning this is about like every other hard thing I have done...IT is a mental game as well as physical and I think it is MORE mental most of the time.  Sunday my legs were shot, I feared  squatting in the worst way, in fact I didn't even start squatting the night before until 10:30 pm!  Well Sun I started around 5pm because I wanted to wait to see if I felt better as the day went on...which was wishful thinking.  So I did a warm up then started tearing up like a big ol' baby.  I texted JP and Shakey and asked them to remind me how much pain they are in daily and how scared they are.  Then I started squatting...10 sets later I finally finished at 355#.  And truth is my legs felt better when I was done!  I am learning this is mental to the mind doesn't want me to do these things for some reason and it can play serious games with me on a daily basis, but IF I just keep doing the right thing and by taking one day at a time and not think about tomorrow I do just
 fine.  It is when I start thinking about the  WHAT IF's, and then I start questioning if what I am doing is worth it and that leads to a whole lot of worthless mind games.....Crazy stuff!!!  But  I want to share a picture with ya'll that I received from JP.  I was already in bed but this is how I know what I am doing is the right thing.  Whenever I start to doubt or listen to the naysayer's I am sent a message. ......
JP sent me this.  I do not need any other confirmation that what I - WE are doing is the right thing
Some how, some where there are people out there who have the power to help us get the medical coverage and time off we need without it being such a burden.  Please help me help our brother's!  I am not asking for you firefighter's to give any more BUT I am asking you to reach out to friends and family who can give more!  We spend our entire careers taking care of the citizens of Orange County and that is what we get paid to do BUT we need to start taking care of each other because IF we don't...IF we don't start taking care of each other, then there won't be many more of us left to do what we were created to do.  We are each other's heroes!  Rest well my brother's and tomorrow we will go back at this hard.  Love you-Bull

Saturday, August 22, 2015

DAY 131
Today is August 22, 2015, it is day 131 in the journey I started for raising funds and awareness but also and mainly for me to pay honor and tribute to my brother's who have passed on before us.  Since I started this, I now come close to thinking of  Ganley. Anderson, Stephenson ... of Priester, Spenser and many more almost daily and it is good.  In a small way I think of them as they were now and not with the sadness of death, even though they are not here in person, they are with me daily.  In 30 years and being on busy units for most of those years, I have seen and been through a lot.  I hate thinking about how my brother's never got to spend much time in retirement, and some never made it to retirement.  Too spend all those years saving others, helping others daily and dealing with the worst moments of some peoples lives takes a lot out of you.  We all look forward to the retirement years to finally breathe fresh air and not hear that damn alarm go off in the middle of the night!  But to then have it cut short because of a illness just fricking eats me up.  This we Ret. Lt Steve Kidd advised us all the my long time Squad 1 Lt. Charlie Walsh was not doing good....that the cancer clinic he was attending has sent him home.  Charlie and I were together in the beginning years of Squad 1...I was in my 3rd year as a FF and was chosen to be a part of what is now a pretty damn big deal, all I can say is we busted our asses to get this Unit going and too keep it going.  Back then it seemed there were only two opinions of the squad..You either were for it or you hated it.  As a new FF i had a hard time understanding this thought process because I thought we were a FAMILY, BROTHERHOOD that we had each others backs...but as in life some people only looked on from the outside.  Charlie loved this unit and did everything in his power to make this unit a success.  Charlie pushed us all to do and be at our best always and we trained night and day, and at the time I didn't like it too much but looking back it, ... it was the best thing to happen to me.  I learned so much and did so much more than the normal 3 year FF did. I was on so many crazy calls for a lot of years that I grew up fast in the Firehood!  But now it sicken's me to think of Charlie in this way, to hear that he is sick...very sick..he has not been retired that long.... I know this...he would not change a thing and would still do this career all over again.  He loved being at Sta. 50...being Lt of Squad 1 of being at battle daily not only on calls but also in the HQ....The deal is, is that if it wasn't for Lt Charlie Walsh and Lt's Kidd and Kasper I do not think that the Squad would be the success it was and is today.  And I am proud to be a part of that history,  I am proud to be a Firefighter for Lt C Walsh.  I am asking everyone who reads this to please keep Charlie and Gayle and his family in your prayers over these next days.  Thank you all for what you do....Rest well my friend Charlie and know you have given me so much over the years and I am thankful to have served under you Sir.  Dear Lord with all that I am I ask that You comfort Charlie and strengthen him and his family and that you hold Gayle in your Loving Arms. Amen.  Through Your Son Jesus I ask.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 129 in the journey of Squatting for Shakey and JP and it looks like some headway is being made!  This morning I received a call from Kat Kennedy our PIO person, and she wanted to set up an interview so we set a time for later this afternoon.  Around 4:30 while I was finishing up my 2nd to last set of Safety Bar squats Miss Kat and the PIO Team showed up at the Pit!  Once I finished my last set at 330# I met the team in my office.  Yes,  I felt pretty bad for them to be sitting in my office as bad as that place smells!  I am not use to having professionally dressed women in my office!  So she went on to explain that per Ch D we are going to achieve 3 things....1) get an article in the News Ladder about Squatting for Shakey and JP and the 343 Hero Challenge, 2) work on another article for the Orange Spiel ( the county WIDE newsletter) 3) get this story to local news!  
So you can guess my joy!  129 days into this journey and I am trying to figure out how I can keep begging for sponsors for the next month and here comes 3 women who do this for a living and are willing to make this a huge success!  One day at a time, just one day at a time!  Keep pressing forward, keep believing that you are doing the right thing and good things will come!  Dear Stephen and John, I think we might be getting ready to GROW SOME!  I am so happy right now, I feel like I just got a promotion!  THANK YOU ALL for not only giving funds BUT for your prayers also that have given me the strength to keep squatting and not finding an excuse to stop.  This feels like just the beginning of something HUGE!
I would like to ask for more prayers tonight, these are for Rachel.  Tomorrow morning she willing be having surgery to have half of her Thyroid removed and then biopsied.  She had a biopsy last month and it came back "undetermined", so it now has to be removed and tested to find out what is wrong.  I beg of you to please keep her in your prayers over these next few days.  Thank you and I will post the news as I know.   Here are a couple pictures from the weekend and Tues of this week.
At the Eagles for the Firefighter of the Year Award with Keith, Bailey (my daughter) Patti ( my sis) and John ( her husband)

Me-Holly and Shakey at "HDH"  Hot Dog Heaven !!!!
I have been looking forward to taking him to lunch for 129 days!

It's getting late and tomorrow is a early day.  I am thankful for all that you friends do for the brother's and for me.  Without your prayers and sponsoring I would not have the strength to keep doing what I am doing.  YOU ALL KEEP ME GOING - 1 DAY AT A TIME!  Rest well my friends. Know you are loved.  Squat everyday!  Bull

Monday, August 17, 2015

DAY 127
It is Mon and it was a great day!  First, my weekend was the best in a long time.  I was chosen for an award by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles for humanitarian actions outside of FD.  BUT,  as nice as this was the BIGGEST award was the surprise of my children and grandchildren driving down from Charleston to surprise me for the ceremony!  I was totally caught off guard and it was one of the best surprises I have ever had!  Thank you Rachel for loving me the way you do and putting this all are the BEST!  Then today our brother Shakey was at work!!!! Yes he was ....I got to visit with him at training for a bit before my day started so you know that was a big lift for me!  I want to thank everyone again for all the support up to now and I really mean this.  But...we are only 127 days in to our 365 day journey and I know we are all on board I just want to ask each of you to speak with friends and family members to see if they can help us too.  Thanks and I know the next 238 days are gonna be great.  I have not spoken with JP today but I know he and Rachel were headed to Shands this morning...I will do my best to talk with him or Rachel tomorrow...PLEASE -PLEASE-PLEASE keep JP and Rachel and their family in your thoughta and prayers as they go through this trying and painful time.

SKWAATS  (squats)  SO FAR!
Today I did the Zercher Sqts which most people will not do cause they murder your elbow joints BUT i like them for some strange reason...I went up to 330# from a standing rack position to a squat then back to rack.  Then I switched to a Zercher DL from squat position and made it up to 345# for a PR but failed at 375#.  Sun was a reg box Sqt to 370# on a 18" box which is just below parallel for me.  Sat I had to squeeze them in fast due to all the activities that day so I only went too the minimum of 330# to a 20" box.  So far we ave made it 127 straight days of squatting to at least 300# as a minimum and up to 495# with bands.  GOD has been GOOD to us and I believe we are going to grow even more if we can stay true and strong to this journey.  JP just texted me and said today was horrible and will update me tomorrow.  PLEASE keep him lifted up!!!!  We are in full swing right now of getting ready for the 343 Hero Challenge at the Fit Pit.  This is our 3rd year and each year we grow-this year all proceeds are going to Firefighter Cancer Support Network/Fla chapter.  Right now we are letting civilians in to practice the FF tactics so they can be prepared for the day of battle.  If you have not been out to see this event you have to come and check it out....This year it is on Sept. 12th at Forsyth Rd Training Center and it kicks off with color and honor guard presentation at 8am.
James Geering and Brian from The "CREEK"- Reedy FD that is

CREEK brother going through the 1st wod which is the 343 Step ups that honor the FDNY brothers

330# from Sat 8/15/16...lightest lift of the weekend

JP and Stephen, rest well tonight brother's and know deep inside that you and your families are not alone.  We as a group of brother's are standing beside you both daily taking turns and never leaving your sides.  We are here to stay and you both have made us stronger.  We love well my friends....Love ya, Bull