Bobbie retired and realized the importance of capturing her stories from silly little moments to devastating fatalities. We chat about her adventures and solve the worlds problems surrounding leadership techniques along with the frustrating politics surrounding the fire service, including the Feds and the United States Forest Service.
Check out her stories at BobbieOnFire.com
For more information or to contact podcast host Abby Bolt visit abbylbolt.com
Follow Her Brotherhood:
Bobbie retired and realized the importance of capturing her stories from silly little moments to devastating fatalities. We chat about her adventures and solve the worlds problems surrounding leadership techniques along with the frustrating politics surrounding the fire service, including the Feds and the United States Forest Service.
Check out her stories at BobbieOnFire.com
For more information or to contact podcast host Abby Bolt visit abbylbolt.com
Follow Her Brotherhood:
Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/herbrotherhood)
you were listening to her brotherhood. This is a place where we celebrate women who put their lives on the line every day. We share their stories, their trials, tribulations. It's just a really great place for you guys to be and meet some amazing women so that we can inspire those who are coming up and get those young girls to realize they can do anything. And with that, I can't wait to introduce you to Bobby. Thanks for being here. Please go check out her brotherhood dot com for more. In be sure to look of the show notes for any tidbits from this episode that you might want to follow up on. Thank you. It's an honor to spend this time with you. All right, we are here on her brother had podcast. We're talking Thio, the infamous Bobby's Copa. She laughs. She laughs, but, oh, no. This lady has made quite an impact in the career of me and many other firefighters, not just women firefighters. And I know so, Bobby, welcome to her brotherhood.
Thank you very much. I am so excited to be talking with U
S O. Tell me so that Give me the like elevator pitch on who Bobby scope is like Right now. Right now.
Right now. Well, right now, Bobby Skillpa is a retired firefighter enjoying the heck out of retirement. I spend my winters down in Arizona, and I spend some time at the botanical gardens giving tours because I love of the desert ecology is is great. And, uh, and I when people come, I give tours to the visitors at the botanical gardens. And I could bore people for hours if they want to stick around that long a vision to my, uh, explaining about how the plants are adapted in the desert. But I do that a long time. I'm working on a little house down here. I ride my motorcycle, and then in the summers, I get the heck out of Dodge because it's too hot down here in Arizona and Southerners on that summer. And I head up to, um, being accorded area in Washington on Puget Sound that I live on a boat and take the boat out and go chucking around the San Juan Islands. And I'm hoping to get up towards Alaska. Maybe this summer. Ah, maybe next. Still, that's why my life now that I'm retired.
That is so cool. I know because I see all your houseboat adventure sharing, and it's just that's cool. Like I, uh, couldn't even imagine. And now, watching you do that, it actually is kind of hit my mind, I imagine maybe one day, like traveling and retirement on a big getting myself one of those big old diesel pushers. But now, I mean, I think the boat is way cooler.
Yeah, it's, uh I've always like boating, And, uh, And when I decided to live on the boat a few years ago, I decided I was gonna give up sailing and get a powerboat because they're much, um they're much bigger and more spacious
and don't require lend
they don't retire with.
So when did you retire?
I retired at the end of the fire season in 2018.
Oh, yeah, it is.
Amanda Fino complex was my last fire assignment. And I found out while I was on that assignment that I was gonna be able to retire Ah in September until they did
Nice. So, pre 2018 then? So this is a retired Bobby. This is second chapter What? What would have been your elevator pitch that year?
Well, that that year, um, I have been actually, uh, part of that year. I had been on medical leave. Oh, I actually had been Ah, that's a big part of my last couple years of my career. Unfortunately, the 2015 fire season was almost a, uh it was damaged me from all of the other injuries to your your emotional health. You know, that happened 2015 was like the tap, the cap of it all. That was the fires we have up twist where we had more fatalities. I have been the force fire chief up there previously. Your family, should, I knew, were impacted by one of the families. I knew that child. That was, uh, impact. It killed in that fire. There was lots of There was lots of, uh, issues surrounding that. I have been on the force the day of the fire that they have fatalities visiting because my job was at the regional office at that point. Man. So? So it's hard to talk about 2018. My last year with the four service, uh, without talking about what happened in 15 and so I was actually off on medical or about three months, because it was just that was weigh in on me. And then I had a I had an issue with a supervisor. That was I was having a difficult time dealing. And so, uh, yeah, so last year, too. I was kind of in and out of my regular check up. And I am spent, uh, eight months assigned to the Washington office, part of that being the deputy fire director for the poor service nationally, back in D. C. And so that was, uh I was of education to
that. So I was gonna save being going from going from the field. I mean, fairly. When you're in chief mode, you're kind of stuck more of the laptop. But going from those field fire jobs and going into the w o. Was that well, what? I mean, what did you think about that? Were like, Damn, I should have spent my whole career here. Or were you like, Thank God, this is a detail.
No, it was a good thing. It was a detail. I have been on a detail back to the W o earlier in my career when I was a forced fire chief before I went to the r o. And, uh and that was, you know, that was I was in a position that was a little bit lower down. But when I went back and I was working as the deputy fire director, did your eyes open toe a lot of things. I mean, with my first week, I was I was sent to represent the agency at the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Um, talk about air tankers and, uh so that was pretty cool of the deal. They'll say I was in there in there. Officers, uh, that was that was very cool. But there's so much. There's so much politics going on that I don't want to get into details of some of that stuff. But there's so much that goes on that you you just shake your head. If people in the field you know, the engine captain out of the field would hear some of those conversations, they would just be like what the heck is going on and what stands between some of the goofy craft occurs or sent back there, and that engine captain is people who are representing that, Captain. So you're speaking truth in that in that environment, because some of the folks are so far removed from the field, some of them have never even been in the field on, So it takes someone to represent them.
Yeah, I think I mean, and that's honestly, that's like a whole conversation that we should dedicate an episode to now that you're retired and you know, it doesn't matter really the opinion you share because it doesn't matter if you're in If you're in fire. Federal fire If you're in, you know, if you're in structure fire. If you're in the military with your law enforcement, there's all these frustrating levels. Federal. It's just happens to be it. It's so far removed, you know, from going in the little district office all the way to the W. And there is you bang your head at the level that you were at as ah, with you at the forest level. But you're just banging your head on the wall and you can't figure out why you can't make change. Well, then, you've got this second your firefighter, who really is banging their head against a wall about something. They think you're just an idiot and you're not doing your job. And you're like, Right now I'm being affected on so many levels and, yeah, trying to get that that all the way down. But what's really frustrating is when you're at a point where no matter how hard you try and you can't make a difference and getting all the way up in that Washington level and seeing still thinking, thinking like I can get to here and now I can make a difference. I'll be up here and I'll tell you how it is and and it's hard,
you know, I always Well, you just said that So true. I always thought, you know, I never had the big dreams to be promote because I wanted the position, or I mean, I wanted the status or the money it was always about. Oh, I just had that one job, Oh ahead of me above me. I could make a difference. That one job that could be the one you know. You go from a tapped into tying TD division chief. You know, whatever you're doing, it's always Oh, I could make a difference there, and you do and you can. But you never can make the difference that you really hope that you could. And to illustrate that, um, I got to be I can I think I couldn't say without any worries that I got to know Tom Harbor pretty well over the years. The previous, uh,
for those who don't know explain. Yeah. What was what did he go out as?
And when Tom got within a month or two of his retirement back in, I guess it would have been the end of 2015. He finally said, Bobby, all these arguments that we've been having over the years about what we should be doing He said, I can tell you, I agree with 90% of what you've been saying. I just could make those happen. I was telling the chief the same things. And, uh and so I realized if the National Fire director couldn't effect the changes that we all thought we needed to see, you know me as a force fire chief or huh? The time she I wasn't gonna be able to make it to change his butt. We all have those abilities to effect change. I I affected change at every level I ever worked at, So you just gotta do it. You can?
Yes. Oh, you know, looking back on your career, your best advice because it's so easy to just go. Well, I'm never gonna be able to make a difference anyway. I'm wasting my time. I might as well put my feet up and play angry birds for my eight hours a day. You know, a lot of people go into that check out mode, you know? So what's your best piece of advice for? A mid level, You know, whether it's fire, military, whatever. If you're in that mid management place and you know that something needs a changing no, you need to make a difference. What? How do you take that bite of the elephant like, What are the small things?
Well, everybody, everybody no matter if you're the you know, if you're the last shovel on the crew or you are, you know, the force fire chief for the city Fire chief or anywhere in between. We all have. And I believe there's so much We all have the ability to look perfect change right around us how we speak to each other. Uh, that effect that affects the crew performance. If you're on an engine and there's three or four people and your Debbie Downer you're gonna be, you're gonna be affecting that crew. If you're the captain and you set the tone for that crew, you're gonna have an impact on that group. Um, and whatever position you're in, if you're the boot where I used to get told when I was brand new on a hotshot crew, this was back in the seventies. I would ask questions. How can we do this? And they would just shut up and dig. I would say, Well, wait a little bit and I said, Well, what about, you know, what about that? Shut up, dick. But you can ask questions sometimes. And then those questions will lead to, uh oh, yeah, Maybe we should do something different. You know, maybe we the s s the explanation. It's described to you person charged? Well, might say, Oh, yeah, that's not a bad idea. Or later they'll say, Yeah, that's what I think. They might not admit it to you. They might not say that was a good idea. But you find the next time you're doing something a little bit different and you we have a huge impact on those around us that way. Um, and no matter what jobs you're in And, of course, if your supervisor even squad boss or a or an engine captain, um, you start having more influence and speaking up at meetings, uh, I have ah, good friend. Who is was a battalion chief. We would have our or, uh, chase meeting, and, uh, and she was a friend of mine, too. I had known her for years before I was the chief and she was a client, E. And it was a big organization, you know, we probably had. We probably had a battalion chief on that unit, and and after the meetings, I would say, uh hey, did you like what happened? Oh, yeah, Yeah, it was good. They said, you know, you didn't say much. Well, no, but everybody was saying what I thought, and it went the way I thought it should go. And I said, Well, you want to see yourself. You want people to see you as a leader, right? Well, sure. Of course. Well, How do they know what you believe to be the caged or or, uh, you know, maybe should they wasn't exactly right. How can you How do you impact that you impacted by being visible? I've often said you can't have invisible leaders, you know, on everybody's got their leadership style. But that doesn't mean you can be shouldn't back being quiet being unseen. Um, and so on in her case, I said, if you want, if you want to be seen as a leader, which in my world and my thinking, that means big tables that inch, that means you have to be visible. People have to know where you stand, and that doesn't mean you have to be a jerk about it. You don't be a bitch. And, you know, um, you know, be pushing to the point of driving people nuts, which some people like it
I did that, uh, but I think we all effect change. No matter where we are in the organization. I I'm I think I affected change in every position I was ever in. Um, and I think we all have that ability. You just have to want to do it.
Yeah, I think you know, ability and responsibility. A lot of people think, Well, somebody else is gonna handle it. Somebody else will figure it out. And there's that piece of, you know, being some because people are all thinking, like maybe some people just need to shut up and dig which, Yeah, there is that. There's definitely that fine line is it is coming up that we want people to understand and no, like, when it is when the questions do need to be asked, you know, you do need to work, but you do need to ask questions. And I think a lot of it falls on leaders to is like we we now study a lot about, um, leading by explaining the why by giving the y so that your troops understand why you're there, why you're why you're miserable. What, what's going on? What the bigger mission is. But yes, also being able to stop and be like, Hey, Cap, I'm just curious. I Why are we out on this ridge that's in the middle of nowhere for no reason killing ourselves, you know, And because you have
to know that,
Yeah, it's, um it's important
Well, when you're ah, when you're I would always use the example when I was the division supervisor on a wildfire. Uh, I would always give the why and before I would want the why I would want to understand What's the perfect point of us going from here to there? Because things are gonna change it over the course of the chef to working and and the conditions change to the point where you're gonna have to do something different than what was the plan. If you don't know the Y, you're not gonna know what to do. Uh, two still accomplish the goal. Um,
and you're not gonna know the what ifs when things go sideways. If you don't know the why, you're not gonna know the backup plan or be able to make one. But I I have observed to is that I think it's really important is a leader if you are starting to get a lot of those. But why? But why? But why? Why are we doing you know and all those you haven't briefed right? And you need thio. You need to re brief your folks or re inform them, because if they seem lost all the time, and they're asking those questions. It's really good indicator that maybe you need to start sharing your message a little more clearly or be giving them more of that intent that leaders intent. That is really important. And so it's It's definitely a two way street. Yeah,
Yeah, got weekend. You know, I it's really hard to not have Interviews like this go for hours and hours because I always talk to gals like you that it's like we could sit at the bar and bullshit for so long about so many things. So I think there's we and I think we need to circle back a couple times and talk. And so I want it like your So that was the last couple years, your career. What? Tell me when I ask you what is the like, What's a shining year or a shining just kind of era in your career that when I go, you know, tell me about your career, what is what's a piece that just shines to you and really pops up?
Well, you know, I look back on the 45 years now. Some of that was seasonal time. Uh, some of my favorite time was when I was working for a fire department and I was a captain for about I think I was a captain for about eight years before I went back to grad school. And, ah, I was just about to say nothing significant happened, but lots of significant things happened during those 12 or 15 years on the department. Uh, but, um, that was a great time, because I I loved the camaraderie on the engine. You know, I worked with the same group or a long time. And, you know, um, if you are on a municipal or county apartment where you're on an engine crew, um, or arrest you, you're with the same people day in, day out, huh? And then you develop a lot of close. You develop affections for these folks and their families. And the lesser think so hard for me. There's all these segments for my career, and and they were in that time with the fire department was special in a lot of ways. Um and you know, I tell you what. My stories tell of my website. They, uh, relate back to those those years and the one of the goofy, funny things that happened and some of the ah serious important calls that was on that at the time. And for years I didn't think they were that big a deal. But then when I tell the story and I think about it, or actually, if I tell the story recorded and go back a few months later and listen to the story told, I think, Wow, that was that was significant, that was that was important. So So I have some of those from the years I was on the fire department. Um, I think one of my, you know, here I'll pay you one of the things on them for the votes who aren't federal. They might not understand it quite as much. But my biggest one, my biggest accomplishments I feel personal accomplishments from an organizational standpoint is when I went to the regional office, I am been. So this was the regional office in charge of fire program with Oregon, Washington, Alaska and I had already been a force fire chief in charge of 300 firefighters, uh, 13 engines, helicopter smokejumpers, a big big operation. Uh, now go the regional on fish, and, uh, one of my goals that I had something I've been working on for years was trying to get our engine captain's upgraded to GS eight. Now, that was something that I had been working on for several years on the forced. I couldn't get the regional office support. And so my one of my big accomplishments, I feel like I was able to get the GS age captains changed. I'm just some of the jazz age.
Yeah, that's a really, really huge step in in a lot of areas. People that, like from the outside don't realize what a huge block that was. That's big.
And and they and we got them to permanent full time. So even though, you know, we didn't lay him off during wintertime, but we changed their status. So now that they were officially permanent full time, we are. And then everybody got bumped up. Um, it was a big deal. Um, I feel I feel very strongly. Uh, no. How can we How can we expect professional behavior? Professional performance if we don't treat people like professionals? And so that was That was one of my accomplishments. I felt like I did at the regional office. Now him Children's are a couple of things that I'd always think about.
Well, that's what it is. That's one of those leaders of accomplishments to it didn't have anything to do with you. It didn't have anything to do with it wasn't gonna give you an upgrade. It was gonna improve your benefits. It wasn't you. It was about the people and those below knew that you've led. And those air those are the biggest things to be proud of in someone's career is how did you shift the entire culture? And and that is a That's a real important one.
Yeah, Yeah, I am. I think, Ah, you know, it's it's kind of passage saying, Well, people, our most important resource, it's like, Well, no shit. Their most important resource, they're the ones doing the work, you know? Well, I I think once I got to be a love the station level where I was at the even force headquarters, Um or beyond that, it became very clear I wasn't going anywhere. I wasn't getting anything dumb. I was I don't work. That I'm not done was through the folks that were going the hose, cutting the line and, you know So what should I be doing? Well, I would tell my folks when I got to the regional office, if we're not every day, If we're not thinking about what is just work I'm doing, how is it gonna have a direct impact on the folks on the ground? Then we ought to be thinking about what it is we're doing because that's our job. I think that's important to just keep in mind that simple. I think once you if you move up the ladder to the point where you kind of again or aren't shame the impact this is that your work is having on the folks doing accomplish the work on the ground. Then maybe you need to reassure how you're looking at work.
Yeah, absolutely. I always kind of picture it, like as wth e. You're It's an orchestra, right? You're the maestro. You've got your you got your little stick it and you can make that you can make that song go and move. But if you're not taking care, your flutes song doesn't work, right? If you're not taking care, your wind section songs, the songs out and you got to take care of your instruments. Got to take care of your people and you're the maestro at the orchestra.
We'll see you have that analogy because you're at the battalion chief level and you felt like you could conduct the orchestra. By the time I got to the force level, I felt like all I was doing was trying to get everybody shit down and
open the doors at the event center, like God, everybody get it together. That's up
to the regional office I was doing Nothing, said Everybody, get in
here, You know,
show. I like your analogy, your
parking lot, security. At this point, it's out. Uh, that's interesting, though, because that is interesting, because that's where I exactly where I was at his battalion chief. And so I see that piece and then the higher up that's that is very interesting. But that's how I did feel. I feel like, you know, you're at that point if you took care your people that at that place you could make that sound work and pull off the event and, um and yeah, that's that is God to feel like parking lot. Security at the at the orchestra is frustrating trying to run the show.
You get to a point so far up that you then just like, would someone invite me to the concert?
I want to come in and hear the music, right. Well, that's yeah. And then So you have the Washington level and, you know, we we get so frustrated at our overhead, we get so pissed and yeah, we all talk crap constantly about those above and those above. And, you know, there's a point where it's like, Yeah, but you don't really know how it is up there. You don't know how it is in the Roo. You don't know how it is at the end. I mean, just that the battalion love life be like, Look, you don't get it like I'm getting pressure from this and you're in these little bitty places and it is all politics, and, you know, you look all the way up, But when you do go to some of those places and you go to some of those meetings and you do pull the curtains back, there's times where you're like No, this is wrong. You are doing it wrong. You're not paying attention. You forgot what it feels like to have boots on the ground. And so there's a time to be like forgiving, knowing that there is something bigger going on. But there is a time to have your voice heard. Like you said, Speak up in the meetings. Try to make a difference. Because while we do need to give the benefit of doubt to two above, it's not always earned. So I think it's important that we have people speaking up.
You know, it reminds me of a, uh, story when I was a force fire chief and I would go to the regional, uh, fire management leadership meetings and there would be a couple 100 people in a big conference room and someone is speaking up in the front and they're from the regional office of the Washington office and they're saying stuff that makes you realize they don't really either remember well, just what it was like. Or maybe they never did the work. But they're speaking with some authority, like, you know, and everybody in the in the audience pretty much knows that they're full of beans, and I got to a point where the folks who knew me would like your imagine. You're in a big conference room and there's a couple other people in there. People would start turning around to look at me, and they're waiting for me.
She's She's radio hand
a shake. I gotta call bullshit on this, you know? And you say politely, right? But it happened all the time where people would turn around. Look at me. Are you gonna say something,
Because I don't know why they felt intimidated to the point that they couldn't speak up. But that was, you know, I was meeting with with the National Office leadership. Like the deputy chief of the four service Regional Forster's regional fire directors. This is the highest echelon of the of the four service at the time. And they were, and they were speaking about problems like, where we having? Why are we having a talent show? Only fatalities, huh? Calm what's causing it. And so they were, like, brainstorming and coming up with ideas. And I actually said the words I stood up. I put my hand up, but I gotta call bullshit on this. This is wrong. The old look that made my kind of people there look at me like, Yeah, no kidding. It's B s, uh, thank you for sending the other people look at me like I had just had a big horn growing out of my forehead or something. They were just like, look,
you know? Yeah. And so Ah, you know, that's probably that's probably a good reason why I wouldn't have been a good person, a good fit for the Washington office, but because I was clear like that. But you got it. It behooves all of us to speak up.
Imagine how much change there could be, though, if somebody in the Washington office was that clear on a regular basis and not worried about how they were gonna get smacked down or if they weren't gonna be able to get that next You know that next position or that next thing I mean, it is all politics. You're turning out to piss certain people office. He can get what you need and what you want. And not just for you, but for your program. And and there has to be. I mean, that's why I have so much respect for you because we kind of play on that same field you want. You didn't sit there and think like I'm not going to stand up and call bullshit on this because I'm afraid of A B and C because you knew what was right. You weren't worried about the effects of it. You knew what was right and what was wrong. And it's to our detriment a lot of the time. You know, it doesn't always serve us well, but you know that it needs to be said not for you, but for the program or for whoever infected.
Yeah, you know, there's a by in line and I mentored, uh, other younger firefighters. I've talked to my son about this. He's in the military. Uh, you know, there's a fine line you walk about thinking up, and I think it's important. I think it's important to speak up, but there's a right way to do it in the wrong way to do it. And when I said I gotta call bullshit on this in front of all the worst things about this book, maybe that wasn't the right way to do it, but I was to a point
where I was in shock out of her.
Well, right, that's true on. But you're always walking that line. How much you can push? How much needed boot? When do you just go back? A little bit. It's kind of I mean, this is how I think of it. It's like being on the fire line. Or if you're pulling holes into a structure, same kind of thing and you're watching it you're watching around you. What am I doing? Is, um I still safe is trying to go forward and start If you're on the fire line, you know, Do you still have your LCS and places? You keep changing, You know, you turned the corner. Do I still have lookouts? I still have comma. What's the same way in that meeting with Washington office spokes? Ah, you're constantly assessing. Can I push here? Do I pull back? What? You got to read the room? Uh, when is the time to shock the folks into reality? When do you pull back? Um, you can't just be a jerk all the time, you know, because how you're seeing sometimes you can't. You can't be that way all the time. You have to. Just You have to change your tactics. You have to change the language. Ah, and so you just gonna be aware? I think. But you need Bush. You need to push.
Yeah, well, anyone When you do push and speak up, you wanted to be heard. You don't want to be constant noise. And it is I've always struggled with. Yeah, What I am I gonna bitch about the stripe on the truck. Am I gonna do you know where we're gonna talk about some things, Gonna save lives. You know that? Yeah. Being when those people were, you set a meeting and you feel that elbow jab you in the side. You know, when it's your buddy, like you're gonna say something, right? It's like, Did you stand up and say something? No. You say it like I you know, it's safer if I don't say anything. Yeah, and not everybody has that. Not everyone, whether it's a gene that's inside of you away, that you were raised a way that you you know, there's They're just not everybody has that. So I don't fault the people that don't. But I I I do fault the people that know that they could, And they should speak up and do something because, um, I think there's a lot more people that could bring more change, but they're more comfortable, not. And they need to be. Find that discomfort. If you're comfortable all the time, man, let me know what job that is and what you picked for a career. Because everybody wants that, you know? But we got we not be able to speak up. So yeah, those air, some really great points. I love hearing your wisdom from your your years, and I don't want you to stop sharing it, Which is why I love that what you're doing now. What in the hell made you think that you wanted to go start recording your experiences? Tell me about that Bobby on fire.
Well, show my friends, uh uh, here in Arizona of their their friendship had since high school. And there's some of my best friends that they have, and I just naturally, I guess, tell stories, you know, you you know, how did you get a couple firefighters together? And you start saying someone tells a story that's like, Oh, yeah, that reminds me up and then you tell us very well. I think
it was three o'clock in the morning at the bar. And you still have a guy? Of course
you're involved. And they get better with beer. You know, show, um, she'll approaching retirement, I thought, Well, I'll tell you what. It started it started that when I worked for the fire department that when I had a little little floppy disks on our computers. You know, somewhere I have one of those floppy disk with a whole list of story topics from calls with a gun. And I and I thought about putting them into a story for him, For my kids. Well, uh, I still have a floppy somewhere, but I don't have anything to read it.
You gotta find that. Take it somewhere and have him find it.
So I thought, Well, you know, that's when it started the idea of recording. So the stories, And then when I got to close to retirement a good friend of mine who is now back in the Washington office, one of the if Piri inst um, knowledgeable, uh, female firefighters who's now back in the Washington office. She said I said I told her I was gonna write the start writing these stories. Oh, no. You need to tell the stories because your voice when you tell it, you know it challenged. It's different way. Like to hear my pie. Well, okay, I guess you know. So I told one of my friends here in the Arizona who he has a, uh John who? Anyone listens to my stories. He's who's often on my love. I am. He said, Oh, I can help You set that up and you know, So he did all the technical stuff showing me how to set it up. Well, I kind of thought, Well, I'll tell maybe 1/2 a dozen stories, and I'm gonna run out of stories,
And then so I have on my phone, I got a little list of Oh, um stories.
All those times you're driving down the road and you remember one.
Yes. So I go ahead and start writing them down, and, uh, and I realized I've got more and more and more stories, and every time I think I'm not run out the list of keeps growing. Uh, and so I love to all the stories because, um, it's interesting. I didn't think they were important stories. I mean, many of the stories I tell on the website I think I'm up 27 28. Many of the stories aren't significant in terms is just some goofy behavior of the firefighters working together at the station doing pulling pranks from each other. The show her that way. But then some of them have some significant lesson in them. And at the time that I I was thinking of the story, I didn't see the lesson. Sometimes it takes me to tell the story that I've told a dozen times before, but when I recorded and then I go back and listen to it, I realize there's a lot to story.
We have the one. I was just listening to view about that call with the very affluent woman that you went on and knocked on the door. What's wrong in this house? And she seemed so put together. And you know, when you go, you tell this whole story about this and how actually her home care provider was laying with a stroke on the kitchen floor and and you go through the whole thing, and then you're in the end. You're like, I don't know what the lesson of the story was. And then it hits you. You go. Well, wait, I I guess it's always, you know, be looking for more and be looking deeper to see what's going on. And, yeah, surprise. There was a really great lesson in that story,
you know, there was the story. One of the stories I tell that, really, I think about a lot now, after I've listened to me telling the story is the one where the young gal fell off the cliff Have we have to rescue her from a real steam talus slope at the bottom of a cliff. And she was so banged up and she would have she would have been dead the next morning. Had had we not found her that afternoon that evening and And we were about ready. We're loading up on the truck tow leave because we couldn't find anyone. We didn't know for sure if there was anything there and it was like that voice in the told the captain. So one of those times where I pushed I was a new firefighter. I should. Captain, please let me take one last loop on the trail and see by here when he did one more time. Because we have made a couple loose. We spend 1/2 an hour looking for an hour looking, couldn't find anyone. We didn't hear anything. Uh, and it was that ability to say no. Wait a second. Now whom? I have a boot firefighter. The captain's been doing the job for 25 years. You should let me. Do you mind if I just make one last run up there? You don't want your enough. The founder. Um and so, uh, yeah. So there's some There's some significant stories to me. The funny part of that story, what was funny to me is the reason I used to tell the story is because when I gave her age and I have talked him into their I'm talking on the radio to the hospital, I said, uh, seeing found this patient's He's falling off cliffs and possibly 50 p. She's approximately three year old female. And this gown was so be induction couldn't speak. Her face was all baked up. I mean, terrible lacerations, that stuff I said she was probably 30 year old. Uh, she was trying to talk, and she said when I realized that you say I'm only 22.
Oh, my God. Like a woman, right? No. God, I'm dying to ask her that up. Next thing you know, you're gonna tell her fat, and it's all I
know. See, that was whole areas to me until that was what I always remembered the story. But there's a whole bunch Martin that, you know, when you get into it anyway, Yeah, those stories are I mean, I tell them as much for my benefit as for anyone. Coalition to, uh
well, you have from memories to cash them in it and to have those just Washington. You know, I think every time that one of my mentors would retire, it would just it would eat me up like I would feel like I would get in my point in my career where I was just really learning from these people or really being, you know, giving being given opportunities by these people. And then it was like surprise time for retirement, and they just float away. And it's like, Oh, but I had so much more. I need to learn from you and absorbed from you just from like those from dinner in the at the at the fire camp and from B s ing on the side of the line like I needed to hear more of that. So I think it's important that you leave that legacy because it kills me when people that have lives like you go on and then you're just done and it's like the whole like I don't expect you to keep going 80 for the rest. Your life, my guy. Live a great retirement, huh? Take those experiences so that those after us can can learn from them and, er than one not feel so crazy. You know, you hear these other stories in your life, you can resonate with them, and then to is to hear stories. And then when you run into them in your life, you know, it's gonna because just that story that I just reference where you went on that medical call, and it turned out to be something more serious or that one when you listen to that voice in your head and you wouldn't look for that girl again, people will hear the stories, and now they will be If those points in their lives and whether they're gonna that voice on their shoulder could be your voice, they're not gonna realize it's going to be their subconscious. But they'll hear this story. And it's not just a made up movie that they saw, you know, where Will Smith was doing something crazy. They're thinking about a real person who lived a real story, and and so I think it's important. So I really appreciate that you're doing it. Yeah,
thanks. Yeah, It's, uh if anyone can gain something from the stories and that's just a huge bonus to me because, uh, uh I mean, I I don't know what it is about it. I mean, we all have stories. We all we all have stories that we can all learn from. You've got a story that I can learn from, but I think sometimes we just don't. We just don't think they're worth telling. And we don't realize how valuable they might be. The other people now I'm just like you. I don't know. Mine are all that valuable. Uh, but I hope they're entertaining. And still, then maybe from the entertainment we can we can learn.
Yeah, well, when I was thinking about listening to your stuff and it reminded me of like I can't imagine probably how many classes you've taught in your career fire classes and and the best part of a class is the storytelling. That's how you really get a point across, right? You're trying to share this experience and course. Then there's there's a point where some your classes are 24 7 storytelling. You're like, OK, guys, we actually have to instruct her at some point, but that's the best part of the class is hearing old fire stories, old war stories, right? And that's really so listening to your stuff is like it's like the best parts of the class because you're hearing the stories that tie in the lessons tie in the you know, the training and that those are the most important thing because I can remember. I mean, all these classes and he took I don't remember what the hell was on the power point, but I remember this story that the instructor told me, and that stuck.
Well, I think some people learn better by the stories I think people ever doubted stories, and I know that I teach better when I'm related. I mean, there's a power point and there's the curriculum. That's the approved curriculum. The teach. Uh, but my mind instantly goes to a story that, uh, that support and teaches that little lesson. And so, yeah, when I I am taught a class for a couple of years, But I love teaching.
You're teaching your class every time you tell a story on your thing. So try just without powerful.
Uh um, yeah, I, uh I I I think that that's how I think I think in terms of stories, you know, there was an old Star Trek episode where Captain Picard ended up on the on the planet with some guy, some alien, and they were forced to work together. But the alien on Lee spoke in allegory. He didn't speak like you. And I are saying words that mean one thing he would say something like, uh, you know, he would say, like the mountains over the, you know, I don't know. He would speak in this, uh, and I guess it would be called allegory. And so the card had to figure out what that all meant. And I think, uh I think in some ways I think that way, you know, if someone says something to me, my mind goes to an example of that. And so anyway, this is my getting off topic. But I find that, uh, I find the storytelling. Ah, good. Waited to teach even when I was teaching him. I don't think that now is teaching that you're they give me change my view. Maybe a little bit.
Yeah, well, yeah. I mean, it's not a bad thing. It's a great thing. It's staring your legacy. So people are learning from it, not just be entertained. I don't want you to doubt that they're being They're learning Toso. Now you tell me. So you started a website. But you I you've started podcasting it though, too, right?
Right. So the bobby on fire dot com bill be the i e. Bobby on fire dot com, it's a website, and then I just link those stories too. I guess it's Google play and Happel podcast. And so it's all. And so, um um, it's evolving. You know? I started it last year, and, uh, and so it's evolving. But so each story gets a little introduction. It gets, you know, written introduction. It gets a picture. That kind of, uh, exemplifies what I'm thinking at the time that I'm going to tell the story. And then it gets for the little link to the recording. Actually, I guess you can access it one of three ways through Google Apple and just going to website. Uh, yeah, but I'm having
awesome. I'll travel to you. I'm proud of you getting all Tiki because, you know, a lot of people like I don't know how to do that. I don't know. It's like go google it and figure it out, you know, do something. They don't
know how to do it either. My friend John, who comes in
he's my uncle itself. It's been good. And, um, I I hope it keeps evolving too, because I don't want I mean, because it started out just being the funny stories. And then I realized little, You know, even the funny stories have a lesson, and now it's evolving into I realize I'm thinking ahead of time. What does this mean in the bigger picture? And you know the lessons learned, Senator, uh, wink last week to one of my stories. Um, still, they were obviously fig. Some
to it is, well,
rate. That's good. Yeah, that's what they're all about. So that's that's perfect. I'm well became one last question they have about your website. So maybe you have the story behind that. But the photo that you have of the guy standing on the roof with all the flames behind him, Who is that? What's that? What's the story behind that picture?
It's not my picture. I I found that picture, and it kind of exemplified to me. Um, it exemplified to me the situation we're in these days with fire and the urban interface. Ah,
I figured it spoke to you. And that's why I wanted to hear Wyatt White Day.
Yeah, well, there's some stories that I have about fighting fire in urban interface and some frustrations that I have about homeowner expectations that were going to send, you know, you know, a huge scene, you know, you're on a fire in urban interface, and you've got, you know, 100 foot flame length, and you're sitting there with 300 gallons on your engine and we're sending, you know, we're sending a four person engine company or three person engine company have to protect some house and the homeowners thinks, well, the fire department's gonna come and take care of me. And I've been on fires where I think I told the story where that homeowners they were in level two evacuation for a week and never did anything to prepare their houses. And then they went to level three because I'm driving up to switch back to the fire front. Come on out. That will just love a little spot trays, for example, the people. Ah, now we're raking the leaves off of their rough. Now they're moving. They're woodpile away from the woods stance that's connected to the house. And, uh and it was right after the expert. That was a year after Esperanto. You know what? We lost by firefighters and I was so angry. I was so mad, I wanted to go up it just hit those people on the side of the head of the two bite for out there. You. How dare you expect us to save your house when you have nothing you saved your own. So that picture, as you asked that picture to me speaks to that. There's a guy in a rough, you know he must. We'll have a little hose with a you know, couple of fortune. Our coming out of the end of the hose standing there.
Yeah, that was really good. Descriptor. I like it. Well, great, Bobby. So Bobby on fire dot com. And what all you guys to go listen to her stories? And if you can look it up on where we listen to podcasts through Google Player like I looked it up in my apple podcast. So I am subscribe so that whenever you do drop one, it will just pop up for me. Cuz that's how that works. It's severe. I know it's it's not. It'll pop up not not super techie, and then it'll I can listen your story's air great to listen to while you're driving or getting ready in the morning. And just a little little twist of either funny or shocking or or sad in them, which is what we all love. So thank you so much for sharing those. Bobby, I I really appreciate you. I want you to know that I appreciate you how you're carrying on your legacy, and but don't forget to retire. Looks like you are doing that. But I think that the problem with these jobs with these careers that we have is they weren't they weren't real jobs. They were dream jobs. Whether they were frustrating, some days seemed like absolute hell, you know, But But I think that's why so many people have a problem with just retiring and being done. There are some people that do, and they do it great and they walk away and they never think about it again. But I don't want to have a job where I'll never think about it again. You know, I want. So I think that speaks a lot to it about how you're still living it. You're still mentoring. You're still, you know, doing all this. So you know, if I I commend you for that, Thank you for doing that. And because I know not all of your career was easy. You guys, that it's all these, there's all of us have a lot of darkness in our careers. There were there were troubles that we had. There were sad times. There were moments where me either You didn't want to go on with the rest of your life or you didn't want to go to tomorrow. You don't want to show back up, but but it's great to think about those moments where you're like, Holy crap. I'm getting paid to do this. And so, But now you can do it and do say whatever you want from a bunch from Arizona, so Oh, God, I love that. I've got to come see that boat at some point, So
Well, you're welcome in Arizona or the boat.
I appreciate it. I think I might take you up on the boats. I usually don't get Arizona unless it's on fire. I love you guys in Arizona. I really do. But yeah, you should have been on so many fires there. It's like I tend to move to the north wind when it comes time for fun. All right, well, with that body, you guys go see or go visit Bobby on fire dot com. Listen to her stories. Give her feedback. Will you guys leave her some reviews on, um, podcasts? You can do that? I don't know about Google play, but I know one apple you absolutely can. And, um, Bobby, is your website made for commenting, or how can people reach out to you?
Oh, they kid. Yeah. You can leave comments. You can leave. Comments. Bobby fr dot com. You can contact me through that, uh, website. Um, and I really appreciate it, but feedback. I mean, I've had over in just 67 months now, I've had over 30,000 downloads of stories. I don't get that many comments until I like it when I do get comments, because, uh, I like it when someone says, Yeah, that happened to me or, you know, how did how to do handle this, Um and so that that kind of feedback really makes it easier for me to tell the mid story.
Perfect. And do you have out on social media? You're floating around on there.
Ah, Bobby, I'm Fire is all full on Facebook.
Perfect. Great. So you guys reach out. She loved to hear some feedback. And with that Bobby, I'm gonna let you go. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you Was very fun. Talk with the abbey.
That is all We have for you. In this episode, you've been listening to her brotherhood with me. Abby Bowl. Thank you so much for being here with us. It is just an honor to spend this time with you and to have your support. Go to Instagram, check out her brotherhood there and on Facebook. Just let us know what you think about the show. Simeon, email Check out the show notes. You sure to go check out Bobby on fire dot com. She is sharing some really inspirational and funny stories. Thank you. I really appreciate you everything that you d'oh with that. Don't stop choosing hard right over. Easy. Silence. I'll see you next time.