F.O.O.L.S. International Executive Board & Support Personnel
President - Rich Stack
Chicago Fire Department, Illinois
Rich joined the fire service in 1995 and is a 23-year veteran of the American Fire Service. In 1995, Rich started as a volunteer with the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Department were he served for six years. In 2001 he became a member of the Chicago Fire Department. As a member of the CFD, Rich has worked on Engine 72, Engine 63, and Squad 5. In 2015 Rich was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and is currently assigned as a Relief Lieutenant in the 5th District. Rich is an instructor for the Chicago Fire Department, the Illinois Fire Service Institute, and the College of DuPage. Rich also teaches at various academies as well as a variety of other fire service-related classes.
Rich is married to his wife Jill and they have two daughters, Carly and McKenzie. Rich has been a member of the F.O.O.L.S. since 2003 and is a past President of the SouthSide F.O.O.L.S.
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 - Ben Fleagle
University Fire Department, Alaska
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ben entered the fire service in October of 1990 and has been both a paid on call and a career firefighter for over 26 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 and continues to serve there as a Captain.
Ben came to love Alaska as he learned to teach and work in the rugged Alaskan landscape alongside his teammates in Tim Kelehan's "the Rescue Company", 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 has performed as a Senior Drill Instructor for the summer Firefighter 1 Academy from 2011-1014. Currently, he has finished his Bachelor's Degree, is focused on his family and F.O.O.L.S. International. He is married to his wife Paula of 22 years and together they have four children, Faith, Annika, Jack, and Emily.
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 F.O.O.L. of the Year in 2013. He joined the International E-Board in 2015. 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 remains a student himself, pursuing excellence in service and leadership in the constantly evolving and ever challenging American Fire Service.
Treasurer - Chris Bednarek
Chicago Heights Fire Department, Illinois
Chris has worked for the Chicago Heights Fire Department for the past 20 years and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant and Training Officer for the CHFD. In addition to his roles at the Fire Department, Chris is a Safety Officer for the Illinois State USAR Team, IL-TF1, and serves as the Chair for the FAE, FSVO, and Rescue State Certification Advisory Committees for the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal. Additionally, Chris is a Field Staff Instructor with 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 currently manages their website and social media accounts.
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.