Firefighter Friday: Brian Palmer the District Fire Chief for the Town of Trenton
Not only is this week's featured firefighter busy overseeing two fire stations, Brian Palmer is also the Vice President and one of the co-founders of Believe 271, a fantastic organization that provides financial assistance during life-threatening illnesses to those associated with and a part of the firefighter community.
Brian is the District Fire Chief for the town of Trenton, where he oversees Barneveld Fire Department and Holland Patent Hose Company. We were wondering where Brian finds the time to oversee two different fire stations on top of everything else he has to do. He says...
Well, I'm lucky enough to have a couple of great chiefs at each department that do a bulk of the work. I mostly handle a lot of financial aspects, but ultimately I am responsible and in charge of both of them.
Brian started his firefighting journey back in February of 1988, where he worked for the Whitesboro Fire Department. We asked him if there is something that stands out, a "memorable moment," from all his years as a firefighter. He explains that there are so many moments, some that are very good, some obviously, are very bad. But the most memorable thing that sticks out to him is all the great friends he's made in the fire community. He goes on to say they're "true friends," the real deal. Friends he can count on, not just coworkers or acquaintances.
On top of overseeing two different fire stations, Brian is also the Vice President and one of the co-founders for Believe 271. He explains a little bit more about this fantastic organization...
We started about three-and-a-half years ago, to help one man, Brian McQueen, with his fight against cancer, and he's since beat it... We started the foundation to help him, and he asked us to take it to the next level, to help others...
Brian says that's exactly what they did. Believe 271 has handed out more than $110,000 (in Herkimer and Oneida Counties) to firefighters and their families in need during life-threatening illnesses. Brian McQueen now takes care of the educational side, traveling around the state and country, teaching firefighters about preventive measures and the cancer risks associated with firefighting.
Increased cancer risks in firefighters isn't something that's new, but it's a growing concern because of the synthetic plastics and materials that give off toxins when burned. Years before, there was still a risk of toxins being released in a fire, but because of the changes in the products we use (and what our furniture, carpet, and things like that are made out of) there are even more toxins being released during a fire.
We asked Brian what made him first want to get involved with Believe 271, and how it all came together. He explained that when he found out one of his good friends and fellow firefighter (who had actually just retired), was diagnosed with cancer, he just couldn't believe it. It just seemed so unfair, someone willing to dedicate their life to helping others, to get a diagnosis like this. He sat down with the former District Chief Brian Healey and they wanted to figure out how they could help, how they could do something. They began talking to other chiefs in the area, and the start of Believe 271 was born.
Brian goes on to thank the community for all the support they've given Believe 271. And it's not just the support of other firefighters, it's the support of our local communities, the support of fire stations all over, and business communities. He says it's very humbling.
You can learn more about Believe 271, ways you can donate and help, and find out about their upcoming events by visiting: Believe271.com
For all that Brian does as a firefighter, overseeing two different fire stations, and being the Vice President of Believe 271, we're so proud to recognize him and feature him for this week's "Firefighter Friday."
If you know of a firefighter you think deserves recognition for the job they do, you can nominate them to be featured on "Firefighter Friday." Just click on the link below and fill out the form, and we could be hearing their firefighter story on an upcoming segment of "Firefighter Friday."