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Welcome to the Official Site of the Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society

The Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society (F.O.O.L.S.) is an organization started in 1995 by a group of Central Florida Firemen. This group, known today as the Founding F.O.O.L.S., had a passion for not only the camaraderie and brotherhood that is forged between firefighters but the rich tradition and heritage of the Fire Service. Since 1995, this brotherhood has grown to over seven thousand ... (full story & photos)

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2020/2021 F.O.O.L.S. International Convention
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Brothers and Sisters of the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society,

 

Over the weekend, on August 21st, the F.O.O.L.S. International E-Board met with the leadership of the Central Florida F.O.O.L.S., and Mike Gilbert and John “Bart” Simpson of the Founding F.O.O.L.S.  Together we discussed the ethics involved with holding the Convention in Orlando, where hospitals are overwhelmed and out of bed space.  We discussed the liability involved with potentially contributing to the spread of Covid to a firefighter’s family inadvertently.  We discussed the fact that no one is shutting anything down in Orlando and yet the Mayor of Orange County is still pushing to do so.  This area of Florida is currently the hottest Covid spot in the world, with 1 out of every 5 new cases in America.  I took significant actions to educate myself on the current situation in Orlando and its surrounding area.  In such an environment, it is hard for the E-Board and the Founding F.O.O.L.S. to justify holding the Convention, regardless of how we personally feel about going ourselves.  Due to Covid, one member of the E-Board cannot attend and I myself cannot go without facing the fact that we have similar conditions approaching in my own small community with our one hospital at capacity and the staff wearing out.  

 

I know this is not a popular decision.  The vote was four to one to cancel, strongly backed by the Founding F.O.O.L.S.  As president, I am fully prepared to take responsibility for this decision.  The Central Florida F.O.O.L.S. and the International E-Board are working together to resolve any outstanding debts which will exceed $10,000 dollars.  We will not let the chapter and its leadership suffer for our decision.  That being said, none of us at the meeting feel that the decision is not warranted.  It is simply not the one we desired to make.

 

I would like to thank the Central Florida F.O.O.L.S. for working so hard to bring the Convention to us, only to be shut down twice.  I’d also like to thank the Founding F.O.O.L.S. who stood by us in this decision, without pressing us in one direction or the other.  Together we kept our minds not on our own desires or reputations, but on our love for our membership and for the organization itself.

 

The International will immediately begin to draft an exception to the Articles in order to accept bids for the 2022 Convention.  We do have some chapters interested and we will accept bids as soon as possible.  Stay tuned for that.

 

There will be those who might not respect this decision.  To those I would simply say that our “right” to gather and celebrate our brother and sisterhood, our need to gather and keep up with tradition does not trump our duty.  Contributing to the difficulties that Covid is causing is not what this organization is about.   I desire to share a glass with my friends.  Unlike most of you, I get to see them very rarely.  This decision was very hard, but in the end, the right one to make.  I am a public servant first.  

 

DUTY, PRIDE and TRADITION

 

Duty will always be first.

 

 

Benjamin Fleagle

President, F.O.O.L.S. International

president@foolsinternational.com

foolsinternational.com

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A Director of Emergency Services position at 1-800-BOARDUP is available now in your area. Apply Today!, please click here. For a job description please click on the 1800 Boardup logo. 

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New Year 2020 President's Message
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2020!  A quarter century for the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society!  As the newly appointed President of the International E-Board, I wanted to send you all a New Year's greeting and thank those of you as well who have sent your encouragement and good will to the members of the board for the coming year.  We will be introducing a few new things this year in social media, upgrading the Articles of Association and returning once again to the F.O.O.L.S. beginnings in Florida for the 2020 Convention in Orlando!  Your 2020 E-Board is ready to do work and motivated to get it done! 

 

But before we get too excited about the New Year, the other members of the E-board and I would like to look back at the past several years and thank the brother that shaped this new E-board, encouraged us to lend our skills to the task and really turned us loose to bring the organization to the point where it is ready to move ahead in the 2020's! 

 

Richie Stack, was integral to the organization's transition from the Founder's leadership, to the present day. President of the Southside F.O.O.L.S., Richie was appointed to the E-board when the Founders stepped aside at the Seattle Convention in 2008.  He has served as Secretary, Treasurer and as President. It is fair to say that the E-Board here today was shaped by his character, his leadership and his love of the F.O.O.L.S.  He provided a stabilizing influence to the E-board over these years, helping the Society to find its place in a changing fire service, focusing the E-board's attention on such things as firefighter suicide, depression, supporting chapter success while also remaining true to the F.O.O.L.S. mission.  Richie led the E-Board through consensus, listening to our individual opinions and concerns and ensuring that he had agreement before then shouldering the burden of the decision on himself.  Once he led us in a decision, he made sure the responsibility was his to answer for.  I will always admire him for that.  Stack does not side step, he plows through! 

 

Richie has been our friend, and as for me, my dear friend and mentor.  It has not been easy for him to walk away from this, and certainly he did not have to.  It is a testament to his leadership that he chose to move on, he felt it was time for change and that it was for him to make it.  His presence in our company will be missed.  We'll be looking for him at convention!

 

"Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" -- Proverbs 27:17

 

Your friend, your brother,

 

Ben Fleagle

President, Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society

Welcome Dave Dubowski as the new Secretary 
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Please help us welcome Dave as F.O.O.L.S. International newest board member.  Dave is taking over the duties as International's Secretary.

If you have been a member of the F.O.O.L.S. more than a minute you know about Dave and his passion for the F.O.O.L.S. If you have not had the privilege of meeting Dave. Please reach out to him he is a wealth of knowledge and experience. Here is the bio on Dave.  

Dave began his journey in the fire service as a volunteer firefighter in 1984 with the Riverview Fire District. After graduating the St. Louis County Fire Academy in 1985 Dave was hired as a paid career firefighter. Dave has been with the Spanish Lake Fire District in north St. Louis County since 1988 and has been an engine company captain since 2004. He holds an associate degree in Fire Protection Technology. Dave is also an accomplished fireground photographer and the recipient of the I.A.F.F. 1 st Place Award for an outstanding fire service photo.
Brother Dubowski is a charter member of The Muddy River F.OO.L.S. which was founded in 2006. Dave has served as President of Muddy River since 2009.
Dave has been married to his wife Peggy since 1995. He is the proud father of 4 sons, Michael, Matthew, Daniel, and Joseph

Dave's email is secretary@foolsinternational.com 

Unraveling Substance Abuse: The Florian Program

Here is a YouTube video from Battalion Chief Dan DeGryse produced by Sons of The Flag. Please check it out. If you are struggling or know someone who is please reach out to the Florian Program or call them at 888-928-5278.