Sunday, February 24, 2013

Trial By Tire

Shredding a tire while traveling 70mph in the fast lane is never good for ones health--doing the same exact thing 60 miles further really makes one think!

Does lighting strike in the same exact spot twice? Everything I have ever read tells me that it is nearly impossible for that to happen. In my case, a long ride home from a trade show in San Diego to LA, proved to be an experience I will never forget.

I had been at Firehouse World in San Diego where we had exhibited a booth with the 9/11 Patch Project, Xtreme Valor and Hero Industries. It was a great time with great friends yet leaving to return home by 4pm, was something I was ready to do. I had very important career interviews the next day at noon and was really wanting to get home and prepare.

As luck would have it, I was giving one of our partners a ride back to his hotel when he frantically began checking his pockets for his car keys. Soon he discovered that his partner, who had left 45mins earlier, had taken his keys. So he made the call and asked her to drop his keys at a gas station off the 15 fwy and then asked me if I could take him there and then back to his hotel. There was no reluctance on my part, there was no question that I was going to help a brother out.

Traffic had precluded his partner from traveling more than 15-20 miles so it took us about an hour to get his keys and then return to his hotel--we had dinner in between.

By now, it was about 8pm and I decided to head over to the 5 fwy for a fast trip home. About 40 miles out of San Diego I began experiencing a major speed wobble and frantically attempted to keep my Sequoia under control as I made my way to the narrow emergency lane. I safely arrived next to a call box.

As I inspected the rear left tire, it had come apart on the rim and there was not much left--thoughts of a flat spare immediately entered my mind along with my meeting in the morning and a long wait for a tow truck. So I called and told the operator I had Geico road side service and he gave me a 60 min ETA.

While I was waiting, a CHP officer pulled up behind me and said it was best to try and move the vehicle to a safer and wider lane. I drove another mile as the tire continued to shred and tear apart the wheel trim and mud flap.

Finally, the tow driver appeared and suggested he replace the shredded tire with the flat spare--he would later put as much air as he could in it. All seemed to go well as I got back on the road and exited at the nearest gas station to completely fill the on, it gets better! (or worse, actually)

60 miles later, as I was about 30 miles from home, the same exact thing happened--the left rear spare tire completely shredded off the rim and I attempted to make my way to the right shoulder. There was much more traffic at this point and people would not let me get over. Finally, I made it to safety and noticed as I exited the vehicle, that much more damage had been done to the rear wheel well area. I felt lucky to have survived yet another shredding but at the same time, knew this was going to take me into the wee hours of the morning.

Again I called Geico and 30 min's later, a flat bed arrived. By now it was about 1am and all I could think about was my three interviews coming up at noon. By the time he had towed me and my wife arrived, it was about 2am and I finally made it home and in bed at about 3am.

Despite the life changing experience, I arrived for the three interviews at noon with little sleep, but still nailed them all!

Later on I thought about the experience and was thankful that my friend had left his keys in his partners car. Had I just went home from the event at 4pm as planned, I may have made it as far as the location where the 2nd tire blew--changed to the flat spare--gone home to go to bed--and then lost the spare on the way to my interviews. I am confident that I would have missed the three interviews if that scenario had played out.

It was truly a Trial By Tire that I had survived but also a personal experience that proved things do happen for a reason. That tire was going to blow and so was the spare. Having it happen on the open road late at night was much better than when my entire family was in the car--things could have been much worse!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rescue 4 - FDNY's Terry Farrell

The Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund was established in memory of Terry Farrell, a decorated member of Rescue 4/FDNY and Chief of Dix Hills Volunteer Fire Department. Terry, along with 342 of his brothers, perished on September 11th, 2001 in the World Trade Center attack. Our fund is here to assist Firefighters with educational, medical and equipment needs.

Every 3 days, on average a Firefighter gives their life to protect us. Every few minutes a Firefighter is seriously injured. The fund is here to assist the families of those Firefighters when the need arises. We support the Firefighters who serve our communities.

Brian Farrell, brother of Terry and President of the fund, is a gruff out- spoken man with a big heart who has raised 100's of thousands of dollars over the years in his brothers name. Many firefighters and their families have benefited from his persevering hard work since he began this national effort in 2002.

I met Brian on a phone call many years ago, and then finally in person only a couple of years ago. He is a big man with a big presence. Like fellow New Yorker and activist John Feal, Brian is not afraid to say what needs to be said and get the job done. I am proud to have Brian as a friend and happy to use the 9/11 Patch Project as a means to raise much needed funds for the Terry Farrell Fund whenever possible.

The Fully Involved Comedy Tour is the latest fund raising project initiated by the 9/11 Patch Project to attempt to bring a night of the healing power of comedy and fund raising to hundreds  of Southern California residents. The Terry Farrell Fund is one of the great funds that will benefit from this event that stars actor and comedian, Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me, Top Gear U.S., Comedy Central).

As is mentioned on the Terry Farrell Fund website, without the help of citizens out there, his fund will cease to exist and our show will not achieve its fund raising goals. As is the case with the Feal Good Foundation (FGF), the Terry Fund helps firefighters and other 1st Responders in need today.

The 9/11 Patch Project is seeking $911 Lifetime Sponsorships to offset the nearly $12,000 it costs to produce this show which will be at the House of Blues in San Diego on Feb 20th.

Tickets range from $25 (standing room) to $45 (box seats) and can be purchased now from TICKETMASTER.

It is a sad truth that 9/11 happened 12 years ago and many have since moved on--even firefighters. We are indeed a resilient nation but too many of us have forgotten those we need to continue to remember and those who continue to need the nations help. Will you help us and our efforts so we can continue helping those great organizations like the Terry Fund and the Feal Good Foundation continue to do their best work? Remembering and continuing to give will make us a better nation.

Thanks in advance for whatever you are willing to do to support our efforts on Feb 20th down in San Diego. Here is more information on this great night of comedy and fund raising: Fully Involved Comedy Tour

Monday, February 4, 2013


John Feal- Activist for the health rights of 9/11 1st responders

900 more 1st Responders have died because of their selfless actions at Ground Zero...

Because of activist John Feal, (Feal Good Foundation) the Zadroga Bill passed through congress and the senate and over 50 different cancers were added to the bill. The Zadroga 9/11 Compensation is finally beginning to help the thousands who are still alive and dealing with mounting health bills. John is a good friend to the 9/11 Patch Project and we are continuing to raise funds for the Feal Good Foundation and several other related organizations. The 9/11 Patch Project's next event is the Fully Involved Comedy Tour at theHouse of Blues in San Diego on Feb 20th. This is a night of comedy (the healing power of comedy) and an event where all ticket sales will raise funds for the Feal Good Foundation and several other 9/11 related charities.

The tour is the co-production of the 9/11 Patch Project and Xtreme Valor, a company owned and operated by two of FDNY's bravest.

At the center of the event is an actor/comedian who is best know for his role as Chief "Needles" Nelson on the FX series Rescue Me. Adam is currently the co-host of Top Gear America and also has several Comedy Central hits to his name. Here is a message from Adam.

This event will not be successful without the participation of Southern California residents, local fire departments and the quests of Firehouse World. $911 Lifetime Sponosrships are also being offered to offset the nearly $12,000 costs associated with putting on a show of this caliber. 

To help out with a sponsorship or attend the event, please follow this link with all details about this great night of comedy and fund raising: ALL ABOUT THE TOUR