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, and 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. and recipient 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 - Chris Bednarek
South Chicago Heights Fire Dept., Illinois
Chris is a veteran of the E-Board, having served two terms as Treasurer and most recently transitioning from the role of Public Information & Technology (PIT) Chair.
Chris is the Deputy Fire Chief of the South Chicago Heights Fire Dept., where he has been since 2021 following a 20-year career with the Chicago Heights Fire Dept. Chris is also the Fire Certification Specialist Supervisor for the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal's Division of Personnel Standards & Education. During his 30 year fire service career, Chris has worked as a Paid-On-Call firefighter, contract firefighter/paramedic, company officer, and training officer. Chris also spent several years as a rescue specialist and safety officer with Illinois Task Force 1, the state's Urban Search & Rescue team.
Chris has served as an instructor for various academies throughout the north-central region of Illinois, most notably with the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), where he has worked primarily in the rope, confined space, and vehicle & machinery rescue programs. He was also instrumental in the development of the IFSI's online basic firefighting programs.
Chris currently lives in Flossmoor and is a proud member of the SouthSide F.O.O.L.S. His wife Natalia and dog Jessie are kind enough to share their home with him. His daughter Teagan has just completed her sophmore year at the University of Illinois.
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. 1st 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.
Treasurer - Dana Larkin
Camano Island Fire and Rescue, Washington
Dana is currently a Lieutenant for Camano Island Fire and Rescue and works in the training division. Dana started with Camano Fire in 2001 as a volunteer and was hired as Camano Fire’s first part-time firefighter in 2004. In 2006 he was hired full time. He was involved with the training division from early on and assisted as a company officer, assistant Drill Master, and Drill Master in about a dozen department run fire academies. Over the last four years he has been the lead instructor for training all of Camano’s new part-time and full-time firefighters.
Dana has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Western Washington University and a bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science Administration from Eastern Oregon University. He is also an ISFSI certified live fire instructor and has conducted live fire training for multiple departments, but search, along with Firefighter safety and survival, are his favorite training topics. In addition to training firefighters, he also been the lead instructor for the Stanwood High School Cadet program the past 3 years.
In 2019 Dana started a new chapter of F.O.O.L.S. International, The Cascade F.O.O.L.S., and still maintains his position as chapter president. He lives on Camano Island with Michele, his wife of 28 years, and has 3 sons – Maverick, Jax, and Chase.
Public Information & Technology (PIT) Chair - Currently Vacant
To Be Determined Soon
F.O.O.L.S. International Support Staff
West Coast Representative - Robbie Fisher
Rob “Robbie” Fisher is a suburban firefighter from the Pacific Northwest. He has been a student of the fire service for 35 years. Robbie is currently a Battalion Chief with a medium-size suburban department 25 miles north of Seattle in Snohomish County. Prior to being promoted to Battalion Chief, Robbie spent 20-years as a company officer, fifteen of those assigned to the department’s only ladder company. He is a member of his county’s regional technical rescue team. Additionally, Chief Fisher has worked multiple assignments in his department’s Training Division and is one of the cadre instructors for Snohomish County’s fire academy.
Robbie instructs with multiple groups outside of work. He is affiliated with Brothers In Battle, County Fire Tactics, Roof Pervs, and the Highwaymen. Robbie co-administers a few social media groups focused on truck company operations and he co-developed a mentoring group called, Young Officers on Fire.
Chief Fisher has been an active member with the F.O.O.L.S. since 2002. He is active with his local chapter, the Puget Sound F.O.O.L.S. Robbie has been on the International’s E-board since 2013, most recently as the Education/Training Chair. In 2022, Robbie accepted a new position within the International as the West Coast Region Representative.
When not instructing or talking shop, Robbie enjoys traveling with his wife of 29-years, Jodie. He enjoys cooking, wine, music and spending time with his two granddaughters.
West Central Representative - Jeff Frost
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Jeff has been been a firefighter with the Baton Rouge Fire Dept. for 20 years. He is currently assigned to Rescue 93 as the Driver/Operator. Jeff has been a member of the Bon Temps F.O.O.L.S since 2013 and currently serves as the chapter president. He is married to his wife Brittany and has two children.
North Central Representative - Mike Buhrow
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Mike retired after 38 years as an engine company Captain. He is the co-founder of the Cedar Valley F.O.O.L.S. (2010) and served as the chapter's president until January 2022. Mike currently lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with his wife of 42 years Rozanne. He has two adult daughters and six grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys golfing, fishing, and travel.
East Coast Representative - Rusty Ricker
Rusty Ricker is a 3rd generation firefighter with over 30 years in the fire service. Having begun his career as a call firefighter in his hometown, he is currently employed as a career Firefighter/Paramedic in Metro Boston. A certified fire officer and fire instructor, Rusty has organized and instructed for conferences throughout New England he has also instructed for FOOLS weekends and other events in New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, and FDIC HOT. He is also the President and a Founder of the New England Chapter of F.O.O.L.S. International.
Southeast Representative - Anthony Gillan
Anthony is an 18-year veteran of the Marion County Fire Rescue in Florida, where he is currently a Lieutenant assigned to Ladder 1. He is a member of the department's training division cadre and co-lead of their truck company operations program. Anthony is a member of the Orlando Fire Conference's heavy rescue training cadre and is a member of National Rescue Consultants and Build Your Culture training cadre. Anthony has been married to his beautiful wife Cheryl for over 10 years and has 2 sons Aidan 22 and Ethan 20. In addition to all this, Anthony served our country as a U.S. Marine, where he was affectionately known as “the wee Scot”. He is a member of McFOOLS (Marion County, FL) where he was president for 10 years.