F.O.O.L.S. International Executive Board & Support Personnel
President - Ben Fleagle
University Fire Department, Alaska
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ben entered the fire service in October,1990 and
has been both paid call and a career firefighter for 27 years. His time on the job began
in Southern California, but has been spent in Fairbanks, Alaska since 1996. In 2001,
just after 9/11, Ben accepted a lateral into the University Fire Department, Fairbanks,
Alaska and continues to serve there as a company officer.
Ben came to love Alaska as he learned to perform and teach technical rescue in the
rugged Alaskan landscape alongside his teammates in Tim Kelehan’s “the Rescue
Company”, formerly of Fairbanks, Alaska. Since then, Ben has served as an instructor
for the Community Technical College, University of Alaska Fairbanks, teaching Building
Construction, Technical Rescue, Rapid Intervention Company Operations and
performed as the Senior Drill Instructor for the summer Firefighter 1 Academy from
2011- 2014. Currently he has finished his Bachelor’s Degree, is focused on his family
and the F.O.O.L.s. International. He is married to his wife Paula of 24 years and
together they have four children.
Ben is a past President of the Farthest North F.O.O.L.S., recipients of the John Mickel
Award in 2007. Ben was the recipient of the F.O.O.L. of the Year Award in 2013. He
joined the International E-Board in 2015 as the International Secretary. His blog
“Leatherhead109.com” has been an avenue for him to pursue his favorite topics,
leadership in the fire service and the life of a Leatherhead. He is enrolled in the
National Fire Academy EFO program and will be finishing in 2022. He remains a
student himself, pursuing excellence in service and leadership in the constantly evolving
and ever challenging American Fire Service.
Vice President - Bob Faas
Montgomery County Fire Rescue, Maryland
Bob is a 22 year veteran to the Fire Service currently serving as a Lieutenant with Montgomery Couty Fire Rescue where he is also a member of the local USAR team, Maryland Task Force 1, as well as a Hazardous Materials Technician for the county HIRT.
Bob is currently the President of the Central Maryland F.O.O.L.S. He is also a certified MFRI Instructor as well as an instructor for Montgomery County Fire Rescue.
Bob and his wife Heather currently live in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia with their four children, Mac, Kristin, Anna, and Bobby.
Secretary - Dave Dubowski
Spanish Lake Fire District, Missouri
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
Dave has been married to his wife Peggy since 1995. He is the proud father of
4 sons, Michael, Matthew, Daniel, and Joseph.
Treasurer - Chris Bednarek
Office of the State Fire Marshal, Illinois
Chris currently works for the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal as a Fire Certification Specialist. After a 20-year career, he retired from the Chicago Heights Fire Department as a Lieutenant and department Training Officer. Prior to his OSFM role, he has served as a Rescue Specialist and Safety Officer for the Illinois State USAR team, IL-TF1. Additionally, he is a Field Staff Instructor and Program Lead for the Illinois Fire Service Institute, and a member of the Illinois Fire Fighter Peer Support Team.
Chris currently lives in Flossmoor, Illinois with his wife Natalia, daughter Teagan, and dog Jessie. Chris has been an active member of the SouthSide F.O.O.L.S. since 2004 where he serves as the Public Relations Chair.
Training Chair - Rob Fisher
Snohomish County Fire District 7, Washington
Rob "Robbie" Fisher has been a student of the fire service for the past 30 years. In this time, he has worked as a volunteer, career firefighter, driver/operator, Lieutenant, Training Captain, and Battalion Chief. Currently, Rob is a Battalion Chief assigned to the East Battalion of Snohomish County Fire District #7 in Washington State. Chief Fisher is also an active member of the Snohomish County Technical Rescue Team.
Robbie primarily instructs Truck Company Operations classes. He is associated with Brothers In Battle and a few other training organizations. In addition to Truck Company Operations courses, Robbie instructs for his department and is a recruit academy instructor with the state fire academy. Over the last several years he has been privileged to instruct or lecture at the Firemanship Conference (OR), Mile High Firefighter Conference (CO), FDIC, FRI, and Firehouse World.
Brother Fisher has been an active member of the Puget Sound F.O.O.L.S. since 2002 and was the 2008 recipient of the Dana Hannon Award. Rob is happily married to his wife Jodie of 25 years. Together they have a son, daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter.
F.O.O.L.S. International Support Personnel
Public Relations Chair - Rob Mitchell
Bexar-Bulverde Fire Department, Texas
Rob has 20 years in the Fire Service and is currently a Lieutenant for the Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department where he is assigned to Station 103. Rob is also an instructor for the Fire Department. Rob primarily teaches extrication and firefighter survival. He also teaches at various fire-related events.
Rob is married to his wife Lisa and has three boys, Chaise, Kory, and Kegan. Rob has been a member of the F.O.O.L.S. since 2002, is a former member of the Mountain F.O.O.L.S., and is the current President of the Alamo Area F.O.O.L.S.
Consultant - Ellen Brown
City of Hollywood Police Department / Code Enforcement, Florida (RET)
For those of you who don't know Ellen, she is the F.O.O.L.ish MOM. Ellen has been with F.O.O.L.S. International since early 2001, handling membership and general every day administrative business. Ellen and her husband Dick are retired from the City of Hollywood (FL). Dick retired as a Captain of the Hollywood Fire-Rescue Department and Ellen was with the PD and Code Enforcement. F.O.O.L.S. has been such a tremendous part of their lives, enjoying the friendship and camroderie that comes along with being a F.O.O.L.
Chaplin - Father James E. Swarthout
Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Illinois
The Rev. James E. Swarthout is the Director of Clergy and Alumni Relations at Rosecrance. In addition to his longtime experience as an Episcopal priest for the Diocese of Chicago, he has professional credentials in social work and addiction counseling. Fr. Jim has over 30 years of recovery work as a priest with addiction and mental health support. His resume of community service is lengthy.