First Responder Accident Deaths Increase

New research shows that many drivers are profoundly distracted by their phones when they’re going past first responders working accidents on the roadways. New research from the National Safety Council found 71% of drivers admitted to taking photos and texting while driving by emergency workers; that’s nearly triple the 24% who admitted to doing it under normal driving conditions. Sixty percent admitted to posting to social media; two-thirds have emailed about what they’re driving by.

And the results are increasingly deadly. Sixteen percent of drivers say they’ve struck or nearly struck an emergency vehicle or first responder on the side of the road. Forty first responders were killed on the side of the road last year, up 60% from 2017. And so far this year, 21 have died, including 10 police officers; 14 officers were hit and killed in all of 2018.

3 things Gold Star families want you to know this Memorial Day

via 3 things Gold Star families want you to know this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of America’s long-standing holidays that has been in place since the end of the Civil War.

When it was first observed, it wasn’t a three-day weekend known for mega sales, cookouts or the unofficial start of summer; it was a day of remembrance and gratitude for those who died in service to their country. But now, Memorial Day’s intended purpose is too often overshadowed by activities that celebrate the first long weekend of summer.

Gold Star families, the surviving family members of military personnel who died in an active duty status, often take offense at the commercialization of Memorial Day — particularly when the “fun-factor” of the weekend eclipses the reasons why this holiday was created. While others are excited about a day at the beach or a good deal on a refrigerator, Gold Star families contend with the intensified feelings of losing a loved one who was also a service member. At Memorial Day ceremonies across the county, they stand with the nation to honor their own service member, while struggling with the personal grief of losing a spouse, adult child, parent, sibling or grandchild.

Gold Star families have learned the hard way about service and sacrifice. As this Memorial Day approaches, here are three things they want you to keep in mind:


1. Understand why there needs to be a Memorial Day. In today’s world, some think Memorial Day is solely dedicated to the fallen from decades-old wars. While the sacrifices made by service members in all wars must be remembered, Memorial Day needs to be a respectfully recognized holiday for all Americans — now and in years to come. There is a potent message in the expression “Freedom is not free,” and in our post 9/11 world, personal freedoms can’t be taken for granted. All currently serving military personnel contribute in some way to protecting our freedoms; some pay dearly. Memorial Day is for honoring those who have recently died, too.


2. Know that service members die in many different ways every day. Many Americans think military personnel only die in wars. While combat deaths embody the ultimate sacrifice we’re all familiar with, service members die on other military operations, during training exercises, because of equipment failure and accidents, or by suicide. The numbers are staggering. According to the Department of Defense, since 9/11 more than 16,000 service members have died in non-combat circumstances, more than double the 7,000 who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It is a disservice to gloss over the loss of service members in non-hostile circumstances. All made the commitment to serve for the greater good of the country.

Gold Star widow Diane Atkins, whose husband Marshall flew in combat but was killed stateside, has often felt his death was seen as less important because it happened in training. “Marshall was killed on a training hop to keep his skills sharp,” said Diane. “Everyone expects our guys to be ready when duty calls.”

3. Reconsider “Happy Memorial Day.” It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase “Happy Memorial Day” bantered about, but that doesn’t make it an appropriate thing to say — especially if a Gold Star family or military veteran who has lost friends is within earshot. “It’s like a slap in the face when someone wishes me a ‘Happy’ Memorial Day,” said Lars Williams, Gold Star father of Army Staff Sgt. Wesley Williams. “It’s been over 17 years of war since 9/11 and many still don’t get the point of Memorial Day,” added Lars.

Gold Star families fear their loved ones will be forgotten. Karen Funcheon, Gold Star mother of Army Sgt. Alex Funcheon, has had Gold Star Mother license plates on her vehicle for 11 years. In all that time, only three people have asked her about them. “If you see a Gold Star license plate, take a moment and ask,” said Karen. “The family will appreciate your actions more than you’ll know.”

This year, let’s replace “Happy Memorial Day” with “We will remember.” Even better: choose to attend a local Memorial Day ceremony. The mega-sales events at big box stores will still be available when the ceremony has ended.

Cancer statistics, 2019 – Siegel – 2019 – CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians – Wiley Online Library

Cancer protection is available with lump sum benefits.  Go to for more information.

via Cancer statistics, 2019 – Siegel – 2019 – CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians – Wiley Online Library

Selected Findings

Expected Numbers of New Cancer Cases

Table 1 presents the estimated numbers of new cases of invasive cancer in the United States in 2019 by sex and cancer type. In total, there will be approximately 1,762,450 cancer cases diagnosed, which is the equivalent of more than 4,800 new cases each day. In addition, there will be approximately 62,930 new cases of female breast carcinoma in situ and 95,830 new cases of melanoma in situ of the skin. The estimated numbers of new cases by state are shown in Table 2.

Table 1. Estimated New Cancer Cases and Deaths by Sex, United States, 2019*
All sites 1,762,450 870,970 891,480 606,880 321,670 285,210
Oral cavity & pharynx 53,000 38,140 14,860 10,860 7,970 2,890
Tongue 17,060 12,550 4,510 3,020 2,220 800
Mouth 14,310 8,430 5,880 2,740 1,800 940
Pharynx 17,870 14,450 3,420 3,450 2,660 790
Other oral cavity 3,760 2,710 1,050 1,650 1,290 360
Digestive system 328,030 186,080 141,950 165,460 97,110 68,350
Esophagus 17,650 13,750 3,900 16,080 13,020 3,060
Stomach 27,510 17,230 10,280 11,140 6,800 4,340
Small intestine 10,590 5,610 4,980 1,590 890 700
Colon † 101,420 51,690 49,730 51,020 27,640 23,380
Rectum 44,180 26,810 17,370
Anus, anal canal, & anorectum 8,300 2,770 5,530 1,280 520 760
Liver & intrahepatic bile duct 42,030 29,480 12,550 31,780 21,600 10,180
Gallbladder & other biliary 12,360 5,810 6,550 3,960 1,610 2,350
Pancreas 56,770 29,940 26,830 45,750 23,800 21,950
Other digestive organs 7,220 2,990 4,230 2,860 1,230 1,630
Respiratory system 246,440 130,370 116,070 147,510 80,380 67,130
Larynx 12,410 9,860 2,550 3,760 3,010 750
Lung & bronchus 228,150 116,440 111,710 142,670 76,650 66,020
Other respiratory organs 5,880 4,070 1,810 1,080 720 360
Bones & joints 3,500 2,030 1,470 1,660 960 700
Soft tissue (including heart) 12,750 7,240 5,510 5,270 2,840 2,430
Skin (excluding basal & squamous) 104,350 62,320 42,030 11,650 8,030 3,620
Melanoma of the skin 96,480 57,220 39,260 7,230 4,740 2,490
Other nonepithelial skin 7,870 5,100 2,770 4,420 3,290 1,130
Breast 271,270 2,670 268,600 42,260 500 41,760
Genital system 295,290 186,290 109,000 65,540 32,440 33,100
Uterine cervix 13,170 13,170 4,250 4,250
Uterine corpus 61,880 61,880 12,160 12,160
Ovary 22,530 22,530 13,980 13,980
Vulva 6,070 6,070 1,280 1,280
Vagina & other genital, female 5,350 5,350 1,430 1,430
Prostate 174,650 174,650 31,620 31,620
Testis 9,560 9,560 410 410
Penis & other genital, male 2,080 2,080 410 410
Urinary system 158,220 108,450 49,770 33,420 23,290 10,130
Urinary bladder 80,470 61,700 18,770 17,670 12,870 4,800
Kidney & renal pelvis 73,820 44,120 29,700 14,770 9,820 4,950
Ureter & other urinary organs 3,930 2,630 1,300 980 600 380
Eye & orbit 3,360 1,860 1,500 370 200 170
Brain & other nervous system 23,820 13,410 10,410 17,760 9,910 7,850
Endocrine system 54,740 15,650 39,090 3,210 1,560 1,650
Thyroid 52,070 14,260 37,810 2,170 1,020 1,150
Other endocrine 2,670 1,390 1,280 1,040 540 500
Lymphoma 82,310 45,660 36,650 20,970 12,100 8,870
Hodgkin lymphoma 8,110 4,570 3,540 1,000 590 410
Non‐Hodgkin lymphoma 74,200 41,090 33,110 19,970 11,510 8,460
Myeloma 32,110 18,130 13,980 12,960 6,990 5,970
Leukemia 61,780 35,920 25,860 22,840 13,150 9,690
Acute lymphocytic leukemia 5,930 3,280 2,650 1,500 850 650
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia 20,720 12,880 7,840 3,930 2,220 1,710
Acute myeloid leukemia 21,450 11,650 9,800 10,920 6,290 4,630
Chronic myeloid leukemia 8,990 5,250 3,740 1,140 660 480
Other leukemia ‡ 4,690 2,860 1,830 5,350 3,130 2,220
Other & unspecified primary sites  31,480 16,750 14,730 45,140 24,240 20,900
  • Rounded to the nearest 10; cases exclude basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers and in situ carcinoma except urinary bladder. Approximately 62,930 cases of carcinoma in situ of the female breast and 95,830 cases of melanoma in situ will be newly diagnosed in 2019.
  •  Deaths for colon and rectal cancers are combined because a large number of deaths from rectal cancer are misclassified as colon.
  •  More deaths than cases may reflect a lack of specificity in recording the underlying cause of death on death certificates and/or an undercount in the case estimate.
  • Note: These are model‐based estimates that should be interpreted with caution and not compared with those for previous years.

Figure 1 depicts the most common cancers expected to be diagnosed in men and women in 2019. Prostate, lung and bronchus (referred to as lung hereafter), and colorectal cancers (CRCs) account for 42% of all cases in men, with prostate cancer alone accounting for nearly 1 in 5 new diagnoses. For women, the 3 most common cancers are breast, lung, and colorectum, which collectively represent one‐half of all new diagnoses; breast cancer alone accounts for 30% of all new cancer diagnoses in women.

Ten Leading Cancer Types for the Estimated New Cancer Cases and Deaths by Sex, United States, 2019. Estimates are rounded to the nearest 10 and exclude basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers and in situ carcinoma except urinary bladder. Ranking is based on modeled projections and may differ from the most recent observed data.

The lifetime probability of being diagnosed with invasive cancer is slightly higher for men (39.3%) than for women (37.7%) (Table 3). The reasons for the excess risk in men are not fully understood, but partly reflect differences in environmental exposures, endogenous hormones, and probably complex interactions between these influences. Recent research suggests that sex differences in immune function and response may also play a role.25 Adult height, which is determined by genetics and childhood nutrition, is positively associated with cancer incidence and mortality in both men and women,26 and has been estimated to account for one‐third of the sex disparity.27


Cancer Protection is here.  Go to for more information

Which insurance protects me the best?

Brian Benedict

While I was on the fire department I always thought there should be an insurance company that specifically provides insurance protection to emergency personnel.  So given the opportunity, I tried to become that person.

A REP YOU CAN COUNT ON to help protect you and your family.   The reality is your family has no idea what daily, sometimes hourly, situations we run into.  Thinking back in my mind I see situations that would be difficult for a normal person to comprehend or deal with.  Highway collisions with mangled passengers, trains that ran over people, babies that fell out of a second story window and deaths from overdoses, gunfire, smoke and then return with a happy face to teach pre-schoolers fire prevention.   Sounds a little crazy.

MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A New Orleans firefighter emerges from the smoke of a fire which heavily damaged a two-story building behind the Spotted Cat Music Club at 623 Frenchmen Street in the Marigny on Friday morning, January 8, 2010. Neighbors said a man who lived there made masks, but they had not seen him in several weeks.

These situations are tough enough mentally but think about the situation you yourself are put in.  All first responders are confronted with similar situations during their career including career, volunteer, reserve law enforcement, fire, ems personnel.

So what protection is best for us?


MY FOCUS: After spending many years with a fraternal insurance organization I realized that becoming an independent agent would give me the ability to find the best product for the best price instead of being confined to one particular insurance company’s products.   For over a decade I’ve researched many companies.  Each has positives and negatives.  My promise to you is to keep up with the best products at the fairest price to protect families to first responders.  Let me help you with providing a safety net while you’re focused on protecting us.

Protecting Hometown Heroes





What gets you up in the morning? | Heres my WHY

Brian Benedict.

Why do I get up in the morning?

So after leaving Police and Fire Insurance I’ve been in search of greater opportunities where I can truly and genuinely help our hometown heroes. I’ve learned much about the insurance industry and what Ive seen hasn’t been pretty. Borderline ethics that make me cringe. Sales over service and many more things. After confronting these hurdles I, without a doubt, know I can provide a better and honest service to not only our hometown heroes but to the neighbor next door.

The truth boils down to the attitude of the company. Are they willing to put morals aside for a dollar or are they going to train agents to listen closely and ficus on the need of the client.

Its been my experience that the little things make a huge impact on those we protect. Understanding policy language for example could positively or negatively impact you and your family when you need it most.

So what am I missing? I’m missing purpose. As a licensed life, health, property, casualty agent in 31 states I can easily be hired by virtually any company as an agent. The problem is my WHY. It keeps getting in the way of other agency owner goals.

Whats My WHY. For me it has everything to do with PURPOSE. Helping those who help others. Protecting those who protect us. Showing up at 11 pm roll call because an officer needed to talk. Helping with a claim, union event or simply being available and returning phone calls.

A few words you don’t hear inside many agencies. Care, be genuine, honest, integrity, help others. This is what Ive based my character on and I can’t be anything else.

Next Steps in Building an agency.

March is a great but April kicks it off.

  • Target Market to Protect. Protecting All First Responders, families and helping Businesses protect their employees.
  • Products to protect are a available through eApps with the ability to email for signatures making it very easy to get covered over the phone. Making the process easy, quick and streamlined.
  • Individual Products include Accidental death with return of premium option, life (adult,child), Cancer, Heart Attack, Accident, disability.
  • Group protection for cities, businesses of 3+ people available through Colonial Life.
  • Logo. finalizing logo
  • Website will be completed towards the end of the month
  • Marketing efforts will be deployed on google, and social media outlets
  • Coffee & Ideas. Would love to see how Protectors Life can help with your upcoming fund raisers and events (i.e. dances, golf outings etc)
  • Hiring. I will start hiring by the fall in Indiana and Ohio.

I’m looking forward to protecting families to first responders.

How can you help?

Spread the news and forward anyone needing direction or protection my way.

Be safe,

Brian Benedict

Protectors life

Providing Critical Illness Insurance Doesn’t Have to Cost You Anything

Offer voluntary critical illness insurance to help your employees cover financial protection gaps.

by Brian Benedict

Protectors Life is now part of the top producing Colonial Life employee benefits agency in Indiana, Rogle & Associates Inc, as well as one of the top in the country.

Colonial Voluntary benefits for 3+ employees ( PDF Brochure )

You’d like to offer your employees a rich benefits plan like in the “good old days,” but rising costs and health care reform complexity may be making that a challenge. If you’re like most employers, you’ve had to reduce your health insurance coverage and offer higher deductibles and co-pays. These changes may have helped keep your costs down, but they’ve probably made it more difficult to attract and keep the best employees. What’s more, these changes could have created coverage gaps for your employees. This means they’re now more vulnerable to financial stresses if a family member is struck by a critical illness. That’s why many savvy employers are offering voluntary critical illness insurance.


How critical illness insurance is different

Understanding critical illness insurance requires a change in thinking. Most of us expect traditional health insurance to cover a portion of the cost of medical tests, procedures, medications and other disease-related medical expenses. For routine medical care, many families may be able to afford their portion of the bill.

With a critical illness such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or cancer, the picture changes. There can be gaps between actual medical costs to treat a critical illness and what’s paid for by traditional health insurance. High deductibles and co-pays can really add up when medical care is intensive and ongoing. Health insurance may not pay for alternative and experimental treatments or treatments at out-of-network providers, such as those at some of the nation’s leading clinics and specialists. Health insurance may also not cover reconstructive medical costs and prosthetics.

In addition, many indirect costs aren’t covered: lost wages or salary, assistance at home, transportation to and from a treatment center, lodging and meals and child care. If the insured is disabled, the family may have to make its home wheelchair accessible or purchase a new handicapped-accessible vehicle. A critical illness can affect a family on many levels.

How critical illness insurance can protect a family’s financial future

It may surprise you to learn that out-of-pocket costs associated with an unexpected health issue can be as high $14,444 for a critical illness.1

This is where critical illness insurance can help protect your employees’ financial assets and may help them avoid financial problems. Benefits from a critical illness insurance policy are paid in a lump-sum directly to insureds upon diagnosis. This way, insureds can use the benefits in any way they need.

Voluntary critical illness insurance is affordable for most employers

You can add voluntary critical illness insurance to your benefits line-up in a way that works best for you and your company. You can choose from individual or group voluntary critical illness products. Plus, you have the option of paying the premium, paying a part of it or offering it as a voluntary product your employees can pay for through payroll deductions.

No matter what the size of your workforce, you’ll find that critical illness insurance can be less expensive than you expect. For example, a 35-year-old employee can buy $25,000 worth of individual coverage for under $15 each month. If this same person is married, he or she can expect to pay under $25 each month for two-parent coverage.2

Critical illness insurance can be a real help to your employees – and to your company’s benefits program.

1 MetLife Accident and Critical Illness Impact Study, October 2013

2 Rates vary by state.

About the author

Brian Benedict is a Benefits Counsellor for Colonial Life. A veteran of more than 13 years in the insurance and benefits industry, Brian is responsible for marketing Colonial Life’s products and services in Indiana & Ohio

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 80,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information call Brian Benedict at 765-277-2770, visit or connect with the company at, and  

Protecting Hometown Heroes

Brian profile round profile pic 100

Protectors Life is now part of the top producing Colonial Life employee benefits agency in Indiana, Rogle & Associates Inc, as well as one of the top in the country.


Firefighter Cancer & Mental Health Symposium

OCTOBER 19 & 20, 2018

Atrium Medical Center, Middletown Ohio

14.5 CEU’s issued for attendance Get your seats for the Firefighter Cancer Prevention & Mental Health Symposium! Premier Health will have skin cancer screenings for students who register. Register at


About Brothers Helping Brothers

Brothers Helping Brothers was started in early 2014, when Nick Magoteaux’s co-worker/firefighting brother, Art Springer, was hospitalized with the H1N1 virus. Originally, Nick started a line of t-shirts to raise money for his medical expenses. Unfortunately, Art passed away from complications of the H1N1 virus on January 23, 2014. The decision was made to continue the t-shirt campaign to raise money for Art’s daughter, Mollie. Through various efforts, Nick and his brothers from the Phillipsburg Fire Department (Phillipsburg, OH) and The Red Knights Ohio Chapter 16, raised over $20,000 for Mollie.

One of Art’s passions was making sure his brothers at the Phillipburg Fire Department had the proper tools, even if it was at his own expense. Many other fire departments out there today are without the necessary tools and lifesaving equipment and do not have the funds needed to buy them. This started the passion to create Brothers Helping Brothers.

They want to build the Brothers Helping Brothers brand, by raising funds to provide vital tools and equipment to small and/or rural fire departments in need. Brothers Helping Brothers became a 501c3 non-profit organization on July 1st, 2014. Since being founded they have given out seven grants and are working on many more. Brothers Helping Brothers is also researching to find out what tools and equipment are most needed in the fire and EMS service, in hopes to raise awareness of what departments desperately need. If you are interested in donating to help our mission, please visit our donate page.

Decatur & Peoria Illinois Fire Department |

Decatur, Illinois

Great visit last week with longtime PFIA member, new PFIA department representative, and Decatur Deputy Chief Lyle Meador.   The Deputy Chief is ready to help his members in Decatur, Bloomington and Springfield Illinois.

Peoria, Illinois

A quick stop in Peoria where I met our representative Phillip Snowden.  I also met another great Peoria firefighter, Shaun Manning.  With many members in the Peoria area, I’m glad to have reps that really take care of their own.

Peoria station 10

Terra Haute, Indiana

On my way back to Indiana I popped by Terra Haute Fire Department Station 7 and spoke to a few firefighters.  Our longtime rep, Retired Firefighter Bob Keifner has retired from PFIA and we wish him well.  Bob was a long time rep who took care of his members for many years.  We’re currently searching for a police officer or firefighter to help our members with claims and coverages.

Thank all of you for being available to your members.

If you’re interested in helping firefighters or police officers in your area, please give me a call at 765-277-2770 or email me at

Visiting Hometown Heroes |

Traveling last week, It was great to meet with Anderson Firefighter and PFIA rep Matt Cole and then to see Fort Wayne Police officer, Kimm Seiss.

Matt protects Anderson, Muncie, New Castle and Kokomo while Kim is making sure her police officers are cared for during this time of inclement weather and injuries.

Two members that are taking care of their own with claims, changes, and protection.  Understanding the importance of connecting and building a history of trust and integrity.

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Great job to both.


Giving CPR to Yourself |

US FIRE ADMINISTRATION: Cardiac Fatalities in Firefighters

via Cough CPR

During a sudden arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), it may be possible for a conscious, responsive person to cough forcefully and repetitively to maintain enough blood flow to the brain to remain conscious for a few seconds until the arrhythmia is treated. Blood flow is maintained by increased pressure in the chest that occurs during forceful coughs. This has been mislabeled “cough CPR,” although it’s not a form of traditional resuscitation.

The American Heart Association does not endorse “cough CPR,” a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet. As noted in the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, “cough CPR” is not useful for unresponsive victims and should not be taught to lay rescuers.

Why isn’t “cough CPR” appropriate in CPR training courses?

“Cough CPR” should not be taught in lay-rescuer CPR courses because it is generally not useful in the prehospital setting. In virtually all lay-rescuer CPR courses, the finding that signals an emergency is the victim’s unresponsiveness. Unresponsive victims will not be able to perform “cough CPR.”

Are there situations when “cough CPR” is appropriate?

“Cough” CPR may be considered in settings such as the cardiac catheterization laboratory where patients are conscious and constantly monitored (for example, with an ECG machine). A nurse or physician is also present who can instruct and coach the patients to cough forcefully every one to three seconds during the initial seconds of a sudden arrhythmia. However, as this is not effective in all patients, it should not delay definitive treatment.




Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.


– Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

– Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

– Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

– Time to call 9-1-1 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.


No response to tapping on shoulders.

The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.


3 Day Fire Conference by

February 8, 9, 10 2018 Fire Conference presented by


Atrium Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Middletown, OH 45005


Tickets can be purchased at

Help me kick off this wonderful conference February 8th, 2018 from 9-10am.  Great speakers from around the area on important topics.  Make a difference today.


0700-0900 – Registration

0900-1000 – Building The Business of “U” – Brian Benedict – Richmond, Indiana Fire Department – Retired

1000-1200 – Mechanism of Injury and Hemorrhagic Shock – Ann Brock RN/Paramedic – Atrium Medical Center Trauma Outreach Coordinator

1200-1300 – Lunch

1300-1700 – Hoarder Homes: Piles of Hazards for Firefighters – Lt Ryan Pennington – Charleston, West Virgina Fire Department


0700-0900 – Registration

0900-1000 – Ohio’s Heroin Epidemic – Angela Sebald RN/Paramedic – Premier Health Careflight Air and Mobile Performance Improvement Coordinator

1000-1100 – Developmental Disabilities and EMS – Mandy Via RN/Paramedic – Premier Health Careflight Air and Mobile Outreach Manager

1100-1200 – The Variables in HEMS – Mandy Via RN/Paramedic – Premier Health Careflight Air and Mobile Outreach Manager

1200-1300 – Lunch

1300-1700 – We Win with Water – Lt. Steve Robertson – Columbus, Ohio Fire Department



0700-0900 – Registration
0900-1200 – Enlightened Leadership – Matt Beakas – Middleton Township, Ohio Fire & Rescue & Chief Ron Kay – Washington Township, Ohio Fire Department.

1200-1300 – Lunch

1300-1700 – Twenty First Century Firefighting: Fire Dynamics and Tactics for the Modern Fireground – Jake Hoffman – Toledo, Ohio Fire Department.


Speaker line up subject to change.

The conference will be at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, Ohio.

Lunch will be provided all 3 days of the conference.

EMS CEUs provided by Premier Health

Fire CEUs provided by Sinclair Community College – Charter #326

IFD Firefighter Creates Peyton Manning’s Statue

Another amazing “Unique” ability from an Indianapolis Firefighting American Hero.  Indianapolis Firefighter Ryan Feeney worked on Peyton Manning’s bronze statue project for 16 months.

Ryan Feeney Video:


Peyton Manning Statue

Indy Star Article from Clifton Brown

Follow IndyStar sportswriter Clifton Brown on Twitter @CliftonGBrown.

The man who built Peyton Manning’s statue has met Manning just once. Ryan Feeney requested to see Manning in person, to get the larger-than-life monument just right.

Feeney wanted to see Manning’s face, his eyes, his body up close. Feeney needed that human interaction, not just pictures, to craft the minute details in the statue that will be unveiled Saturday at 3 p.m. outside Lucas Oil Stadium.

A rendezvous was arranged between the quarterback and the sculptor in August of last year. They met for about an hour, inside a large airport hangar in Nashville. When their session ended, Manning only had two requests for the statue.

“He asked, ‘Can we keep the helmet on?” Feeney said. “I was planning on doing that anyway. It looks weird to have a quarterback throwing without a helmet on. He insisted on that.”

The second request?

“He got me aside and said, ‘Do you mind if we do the 25-year-old Peyton Manning?’’’, Feeney said during a recent interview at his Indy Art Forge studio. “I totally understand. I have gray hair.”

Feeney politely refused to reveal more specific details about the statue when interviewed recently at his Indy Art Forge studio.  The Colts and Feeney want Saturday’s ceremony to be a true unveiling, not an anticlimactic showing of a statue that many people have already seen.

The closer the unveiling, the more anticipation Feeney has. By Saturday, he figures to be a bundle of nerves.

“I’ll probably dry heave in the back, somewhere Peyton can’t see me,” Feeney said.

If images of the statue leak out prior to Saturday, the leak won’t come from Feeney. And don’t bother stopping by Feeney’s studio to get a peak. The statue is not there, being kept in an undisclosed location.

The secrecy is part of this unique experience for Feeney, an Indianapolis native and Cathedral High grad, who is a member of the Indianapolis Fire Department. He is proud of his work, and proud the Colts selected someone from Indianapolis to create a statue of a sports icon, one that is destined to be viewed by millions for years to come.

Feeney worked on this project for 16 months, and the pressure on him to create something special was undeniable. The work is over. This weekend, he will get the public’s reaction.

“I’m excited, I’m anxious, I’m nervous – everything in between,” said Feeney. “To put it in Peyton’s perspective, your main goal is to get to the Super Bowl. To me, having this Peyton Manning sculpture is my Super Bowl. My years of preparation was for a big job like this. It’s going to be really hard to find another project that is this special to me. Anytime they have a Monday night football game, anytime they do anything at Lucas, this thing’s going to get photographed.”

Meeting Manning was part of the surreal experience of doing this project. For Feeney, the get-together was all business. He had heard stories about how meticulous Manning was, and Feeney came with a list of poses he wanted from Manning, so as not to waste his time. Feeney said Manning was completely cooperative and did each pose enthusiastically, at one point even posing as if standing behind center, pointing and barking audibles. Feeney admitted he felt weird, giving instructions to one of the NFL’s all-time greatest field generals.

“I’m saying, ‘Move this way,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Was I just rude to Peyton Manning?’’’ Feeney said. “He did everything I asked and more. He’s a very busy man, but he’s also humble and friendly. You could tell that in the first five minutes. I really appreciate what he did. The way he analyzed the defense, I was analyzing his body.”

Peyton Manning Statue 1

Feeney wants people to know the statue wasn’t just his creation, but a group effort. The statue was first done in clay, before it was taken to Sincerus Bronze Art Center in Indianapolis to be cast in bronze. The clay statue was cut into 18 different pieces. Each piece was then poured in bronze, before the bronze statue was put together.

“You got to have good people on both ends,” Feeney said. “If his arm’s too long, it’s not going to look good. If the bronze doesn’t look good, it’s not going to look good. It’s not just me. It’s a collaboration. The people at Sincerus have poured their heart and soul into this as well.”

Feeney was already an established sculptor in Indianapolis, whose works include the Peace Dove Sculpture for the Indianapolis Library, the Fallen Deputy Memorial in front of the Marion County Jail, and the bronze eagle at the Indianapolis 9/11 Memorial.

However, there was serious competition for the Manning project from coast to coast. The Colts interviewed him three times before giving him the job. During the process, Feeney leaned heavily on people in the Colts organization to get an authentic look.

“I’m 20 minutes from the Colts’ complex, and they were welcome to come by anytime,” Feeney said. “When the equipment guy said, ‘That thigh pad needs to be moved a little bit to the left,’ I moved it. I’m talking a half-inch. And that’s fine. Because in the end, I want it to be perfect. If that meant I had to start over, I started over. My name is going on it. My reputation.

“I pulled up pictures, back to when he was with Tennessee. Where the veins are in the arms. The sweat bands. He wore the bigger ones. I don’t think he ever had a play card on his wrist. He always had bigger shoulder pads. He had longer sleeves. Quarterbacks now have those tight-fitted jerseys. His was loose. That’s the attention to detail that I’m creating.”

Over and over, Feeney would make progress on the sculpture, only to backtrack when something was not exactly what he wanted.

“One of the guys at my firehouse is very particular and a huge Colts fan,” Feeney said. “I show it to him, he says, ‘I think it’s off. The spacing between the No. 1 and the letter M, and the letter G and the No. 8 is off.’ He took a tape measure, and it was off by a half-inch. So I fixed it. That’s the type of people I’ve had look at it. Don’t tell me it looks fantastic. Tell me what I can do to make it better. With all the other bad sculptures that are out there, I don’t want this to be another one. When it gets unveiled, I don’t want people to say, ‘Oh my goodness, what is that?’’’

If people don’t like the finished product, how will Feeney react? He knew that question was coming, because he has thought about it often. He said he would draw from his experience attending art school at Miami (Ohio).

“They sat you in the middle of the (class) room and they’d either rip you, or love you,” Feeney said. “I’m sure there’s going to be both with this one, because it’s art. You can never please everybody. I’m going to guess 90 percent will love it, and 10 percent will be, ‘Well why did you do that? Why did you have that pose? His foot’s not like that.’ That’s fine. I’m glad I went to art school. It taught me to deal with a little bit of rejection.”

Manning is the only person Feeney desperately wants to please. If someone has given Manning a sneak peek of the finished product, Feeney is not aware of it.

“I hope Peyton he likes it,” Feeney said. “I hope he thinks it’s one of the coolest things he’s ever seen.”

For that reason, when the tarp comes off the statue, Feeney will look at the crowd. He will look at Manning, hoping to see a smile.

Read More

Continue reading “IFD Firefighter Creates Peyton Manning’s Statue”

Once a Hero, always a Hero | Brian Benedict

By Brian Benedict

John Parry – Driven

Many great men and women are working hard in the Dayton area fire and police departments.

A shout out goes to a man most in the fire service know well. He was a Battalion Chief for Huber Heights Fire Dept until he retired at age 52. Now at age 57 John Parry continues to have the drive to help others.

John recently completed Dayton Fire Department medic academy and was number three in his class. He’s currently assigned to station 12 on the east side and began his first 24 hour shift Tuesday.

We at Police and Fire Insurance are proud to have him on our team as well. Not only does he enjoy helping the public but also helping those who help others throughout Dayton Ohio.

Thanks for never being satisfied and always wanting to achieve more. You inspire me and many others.

T.R.”U” S.T. | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

T.R. “U” S.T.

Why is trust hard to find?  How many can trust others with private information?  A common saying in the fire service is telephone, tele-woman & tele-fireman.  The gossip and unfortunately the truths run quickly around the firehouse. I’m sure they do the same at the water cooler and break room in corporate america.  So who can we trust?

The answer is … Not many.  If you can find someone to hold on to a secret good luck.  Since we live with each other inside the firehouse we test others integrity.  This is where many of the grievances originate from.  What do I mean by testing?  We lay out a little secret and see if it comes back to us.  Right or wrong it tells us who we can trust and who we can’t.

Become a Person of Trust.  If you would like to become a trustful person please look at the following ways to be trustworthy.


T – Takes Time to build Trust

R – Respond & React Respectfully

U – Understand “U”

S – Sensitive, Supportive & Secure Information

T – Tighten your Tactfulness with each Task


Build the Build the Business of “U”

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F.A.I.L.”U” R.E. | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Everyone fails.  Everyone makes mistakes.  If you don’t you’re lying to yourself.  The most important things aren’t taught in school. It’s by life and experience only.

Why are we afraid of not doing well.  I think we’re conditioned from childhood.  We hear more “no’s” than yes’s.  We have a pass or fail system in school.  We have a system that doesn’t breed “thinkers” just “do as I sayers”.

How do we overcome these fears and begin to think for like a scientist.  Scientist make many mistakes and they find solutions for numerous illnesses and ideas because of it.

If you’re afraid to move forward you’ll never create momentum.  Here are a few ways to face your fears by using FAILURE to overcome it.


F – Face your Fear of Failure

A – Accept the Action & Adapt an Attitude for Success

I – Invest in Improving your Integrity

L – Listen, Learn from Life’s Lessons

U – Understand what went wrong

R – Reorganize & Restructure Tactics

E – Effort and Enthusiasm instead of Excuses


Build the Business of “U”

Brian B&W 2


S.O.L.”U” T.I.O.N. | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict


No matter the organization complaints will always exist.  Living in America, you have the ability to change your direction if you’re unhappy or disgruntled.  It’s up to you to decide.

Firefighters, police officers and others in public service around the country see life in a different way than the typical civilian.  If you complain you must provide solutions with the complaint.  If it falls on deaf ears of leadership you must accept or change your direction.

If you are not agreeing with current practices here is a model for providing solutions to problems that we usually create.


S – See things from the other perspective

O – Observe Obstacles without Obsessing Over them

L – Listen intently to what others are saying

U – Understand that others have different ideas, complaints and solutions

T – Take Action

I – Importance of asking questions

O – Offer positive suggestions

N – Necessary to know the Need to satisfy

S – Strategies for Successful Solutions


Build the Business of “U”

Brian B&W 2

Shake It “U”p to Wake It “U”p | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Picture: Clearwater Beach Police.

Complacency is a killer of dreams.   If you don’t grow yourself and know yourself you’ll become part of someone else’s plan.

So what’s your plan to grow?   Where are you wanting to go?

What do you want by age ______ ?

Are you going to let others dictate what you do with your life?

Many of you reading this have reached your goal of status quo.  For those I say congratulations.  For the others that aren’t satisfied and need more I say, “Go for it”.

Life’s too short to be pulled back.  At the time of this blog article I’m 49 years old.  If I’m lucky I’ll live to be 90.  If I’m unlucky I’ll get Alzheimer’s like my mother by age 65.  If I’m really unlucky I’ll live to 100 where all my friends are gone and I’m coherently existing in a nursing home.  Dude…

Go for it.  If not now then when.  When is a good time.

Don’t worry about “They”.  “They” never did what you’re going to do.

“Just Do It” – Nike

Why do you think Nike is Running Shoes?  Because subliminally they’re telling you to RUN, JUMP and do whatever it takes to create momentum to reach your goals.

 Build the Business of “U”

Brian B&W 2

Would “U” Be Worth Watching if your Life Flashed Before Your Eyes? | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Picture: Denver Sheriff Dept Sgt Mike Bennett, Brian Benedict & Denver Police Detective Sgt Jason Carrigan     Honoring Denver Police Heroes:

  • “If your life flashed before your eyes would it be worth watching?” 

The only way to get out of your comfort zone is to find your new zone of comfort

What are you afraid of ?

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Fear of making a mistake
  3. Fear of the word “NO”
  4. Fear of being embarrassed
  5. Fear of your shadow

Have you heard the phrase, “No Pain, No Gain”?     It’s the truth.  If you want something bad enough you’ll attempt it as many times as it takes to achieve it.

Necessary actions will feel awkward at first.  That’s why you must do them over and over in order to make them a habit.  Once a habit is created it becomes the new normal.  The new zone of comfort.

As a child you weren’t afraid to run, jump or climb.  You weren’t conditioned yet to believe that you may be injured, hurt or mentally bruised.  You just did it until you got it right.

Crack the zone.   Treat fear as a part of your passion.  If you don’t have a little fear then it’s too easy.  If you were afraid of stubbing your toe if you walked forward you’d still be swinging in the chair your folks bought.  Well, maybe a bigger one.

Use the fear as fuel.  When someone says you can’t you say you can.  When others tell you it doesn’t work, you tell them you’ll work until it does.  The important thing to remember is if others your speaking to have failed at what you’re wanting to do, they really don’t want you to succeed.  It makes them look bad if you do it and they quit.  Don’t be immobilized in thinking that their interest is protecting you.  It’s only to hold you back.

Unlimited opportunities are waiting for you.  Nothing moved forward by standing still.

Build the Business of “U”

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Reflection | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

“Look in the Mirror. That’s your competition.”

To Build the Business of “U” the first person to examine is ourselves.  Each morning we look at ourselves in the mirror but do we really see ourselves?  Is our self-perception accurate or distorted?  If we’re not honest with ourselves how can we be honest with others?  Can “U” look deep in the eyes of the man in the mirror and be honest with ourselves?

King of the mountain.  Many of us in the fire and police service become very focused and sometimes manipulative.  It comes from A type personalities living together like a family and it spreads into authoritative positions.   When you look into your own eyes do you see undesirable actions?  Motives?  Or do you see a genuine person willing to do whatever it takes to help others?

The person I know the best is myself; Self-awareness. We size up everybody in the world but ourselves!  We look at clothing, attitudes, actions and ask why did they…why don’t they… why would they…    When we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask the same questions.

What’s my purpose?  Step one of a healthy self-image.  Thinking negatively of ourselves will make us seek validation from others.    Having a positive view of ourselves will give us the ability to add value to people around us.


Creating your own problems.  Admitting this truth will build the business of “U”.  You will never win playing the blame game.   You’ll only whine.  If you’re a complainer and you feel you’re dragging the morale down around you you must change your focus or environment.

Change myself.  It’s not easy to admit or do.  The ability to change yourself, your attitude and want to better yourself will pave the way to self improvement.  Being willing to do so is the greatest step you could take.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

What do I want the future to look like?

What am I really passionate about?

Am I continually trying to improve myself?

Make it a point to figure “U” out first before trying to figure out others.  Believe in yourself before believing in others.  Build your credibility within yourself before depending on others.  Build the Business of “U”.

Build the Business of “U”

Brian B&W 2


Strategies to Connect | Brian Benedict

6 Strategies to connect with others

Communicating with another firefighter while both wearing masks can sometimes be very difficult.  With sounds from engine companies, ventilation fans and radio traffic it’s a challenge to get your point across.   To speak clearer firefighters use a battery operated  amplification attachment to help with louder communications.  Even with advanced equipment communicating is still difficult.

Pictured above: Lt Tom Broyles and FF Chris Morris Richmond Fire Dept

Let’s skip past the emergency scenes and go right to contract negotiations, union meetings and city events.  How’s your communication skills?  Unlike a mask or amplifier we have little assistance unless we allow ourselves to learn better ways to connect.

How’s your tone?  How’s your facial expressions?  How’s your speed and volume?

I strongly believe that building relationships by communicating effectively enough to connect with others is vital to the future of our police and fire service.  Building long term relationships with decision makers depends on our ability to connect.  Here are six ways you can learn to build better communication with others.

1. Do you Know yourself.

How many times have you said something you shouldn’t have.  Maybe you felt bad after you said it or you may not have thought much about it at all.  I’ve said things to others through the years that I wish I could take back and some I didn’t even realize how if actually effected them.  It all starts with self-awareness. When you’re communicating with other people, you need to be aware your mood.  If you’re feeling upset, angry and disturbed you may, unintentionally take it out on someone else.

We have a bad habit of throwing cynical and sarcastic zingers at others without thinking how it effects them.  If you’re catching yourself doing this outside the fire department please remember they may not be use to this type of communication.  Know yourself.

2. Who are you speaking with.

The best communicators understanding whomever they’re speaking with. Knowing what motivates them, different learning styles and what common ground you can find, allows you to adapt your message and increase the odds of effective communication. Empathy builds personal connections.   It puts people at ease and builds trust.  Understanding the other perspective will help you connect.

3. Clear points and an open mind.

Making your point clear will allow you to connect quicker.  If you have a vision but can’t seem to get anyone to buy in then ask yourself why.  Do they have an investment in the idea.  Are you allowing them to help with it?  Are you allowing input, ideas or suggestions?  People will take action on what it is your asking from them if they feel they are part of it.  If your audience is more confused after a meeting than before you know you’ve got some work to do.   It’s better to be open, clear and ready for questions than to leave room misunderstood.


4. How’s your Nonverbal Communication.

Research suggests nonverbal communication is more important than verbal communications.  Facial expressions, hand gestures, posture and eye contact all play a major role in undermining your message.

If you’re an instructor you understand.  Looking out into a shift during a training evolution can be challenging.  Glazed eyes and yawns are their way of telling you something nonverbally.  If they look like this then how are you looking?   The next time you’re speaking with someone, look at your own body language.  Then look at the body language of whomever you’re speaking to. Does your body language match your words and tone?

5. People want others to listen to them

One of the best ways to encourage open and honest communication is learning to listen. When someone is speaking to you,  listen intentionally to what they’re saying. Ask  questions.  This will let the other person know that you are listening.  Keep an open mind and focus on thoughtfully responding to what they say.  Listening will build better long term relationships than speaking.

6. Badge thumping vs Ego-less attitudes

Don’t hold your rank over others or use coercion or fear as motivators. Instead, focus on bringing an honest, positive and ego-less attitude to every situation that arises. Serving as a cheerleader helps maintain morale and can even facilitate creativity and effective problem solving.

These communication skills take practice. You’re not going to master them in a day.  In fact even though I write about communications and connecting its an ongoing challenge.  Trying to learn from communication errors is important.  Try to practice these strategies in your day to day life.  Learn by reading books, attending seminars and becoming a student of connecting with others.   The more you implement these skills, the more they’ll start to feel normal. Ultimately the more your leadership abilities will benefit.



Brian JMT B&W 150  by retired firefighter, army veteran and lifetime student of connecting with others.  Building the Business of “U”

5 Tips to Multi-Tasking? | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Is the next generation able to multitask?

Pictured above:

Dylan Benedict, 16.

5 Minutes before leaving for summer football practice.

That answer would be a resounding YES!   Anything is impossible.  Juggling to do lists everyday in our work and home life is ever evolving.  Because of this we need some type of system.  An order or priority list so we can move our attention at a moments notice to the most efficient and way to accomplish our daily goals.

Here are 5 tips that may help you “multitask” more efficiently.

1. The morning to-do list

I’ve found my first 15 minutes to each day is making coffee, sitting at the table and writing a list of things I’ve been thinking about all night while they’re fresh in my mind.  I’ve also found that if something is keeping me awake at night that it helps to write it down and amazingly it leaves my brain long enough to sleep for a while.  Then I prioritize the list depending on whether they’re phone calls, texts, physical stops or computer entries.  I rarely have to travel back and forth from destinations because I’ve became fairly efficient with managing my drive depending on my tasks.  Doing This helps you prioritize and visualize your day more clearly.

2. Prioritizing the list

Which task is more important?

Prioritize the list to make sure the items with top-priority are handled one at a time.  Focusing on that tasks and not being diverted is more difficult than you might think.

At the end of the day review your list and see how you did.  The next morning you’ll need to take the remaining tasks and put them on the new list.

3. Group Certain Tasks

Do your best to try to group similar tasks which can be completed together.  If it’s a group of emails you can log on and focus on just emails.  If you’re tasks include social media.  Schedule a time to scan your social media pages, read post and share.

4. Are “U” easily distracted

Simple Solutions.  Turn off your phone.  Notification emails and other computer-generated distractions can prevent you from checking off many tasks because they grab your attention and soon you’ll find yourself way off the map.  Allow yourself time to concentration and focus.

5. Getting things done by delegating

Which tasks can you delegate.  Which must you do.  Could you delegate simple tasks like answering phone calls, replying to emails, writing social media postings.  Could easier tasks be simple enough to pass on to someone else?  In a world of virtual assistants and automation, the ability to upload, post, share and organize can be made a little easier.


A great site that can be used to help delegate and manage time better is  It’s simple and you can try it free.


Brian JMT B&W 150

Brian | Build the Business of “U”

Teamwork to Success: Colorado Springs Fire Department

by Brian Benedict

Picture above: Gray Williams-CSFD Chaplain, Brian Benedict, Nathan Raulie Station 14, Brad Starling Training, Austin Pugh Station 4 Honor Guard, Mike Bennett Denver Sheriff Dept, Matt Seube Station 11

Within a few minutes of meeting these firefighters from Colorado Springs their hospitality made us feel comfortable and at ease.  Colorado Springs is a beautiful location and we met many amazing veterans and new recruits during our time there.  Each professional and many from cities around the country to be part of this wonderful organization.  As I left I couldn’t help thinking about the word Team.


What does it take to work as a team?  

No matter whether you’re a police officer or firefighter it’s vital to understand teamwork.  Inside each station, shift or crew I find that teamwork relies on a few things to make the team strong.

  1. Respect for one another.
    1. The ability for an individual to place value on others.  How do you show it to others?     How do you earn it from others?
    2. “You can’t make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody” Les Giblin

  2. Shared experiences.  
    1. All police and firefighters have similar experiences.  Attacking a fire or saving a life is the same no matter where we’re at.
    2. In order to succeed all must have an investment in your mission and all must believe in each others experiences.
  3. Trust
    1. Developing trust through your shared experiences.
    2. Trusting others with your life.
  4. Giving before receiving
    1. Developing a foundation of friendship relies on your ability to give first.
    2. Listen to others.  Ask them questions
  5. Enjoy the moment
    1. During difficult times remember we’re all in this together.
    2. In addition to having respect for another, your shared experiences, trust and an ear to listen is to enjoy the moment.  It’s gone before we know it.

I want to thank Colorado Springs Fire Department for a very enjoyable event.  I look forward to seeing you again soon.


Dream Big! | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Colorado Springs, Colorado May 16, 2017


You probably had several big dreams growing up.   Everyday thinking of all the opportunities waiting on you.   The possibilities limitless.  You were ready to pursue your dream at all costs.  You’d never let anyone take away your dream and those who tried you mentally shoved to the side.  Nothing could stop you.  The future was exciting.  It was fun to think of all the options and places you could go.  If you were like me you probably drew up plans of your mansion or how you’d make your million?  It all seemed reachable.

So what are your dreams now?

Have you lost your dreams?  Have you threw in the white towel and given up on even having dreams?  Why not think of one right now?  Take a few minutes and think big. Let’s try to dream again and see what happens.  Complete the following sentence.

I want to ( be, have, live )  _______________________.    ( That was easy )

So what about the dream killers?

Where are they?  Who are they?

Don’t let the dream killers keep you from dreaming.  Unfortunately in public safety we see bad things happen to good people every day.  After seeing so many negative things we begin to accept it as normal and begin living static.  Our mind starts playing tricks by becoming reactive instead of proactive.   We become numb and robotic just waiting for the next fire, overdose or some other type of emergency that can test our endurance and give us another adrenaline rush.

Recognizing a few of the top dream killers.

  • Responding daily to gloom and doom
  • Career & political beat downs
  • Negativity within our department holding us back

So what’s your dream?

Have you become dreamless? Why?

What’s stopping you from dreaming big?  Maybe its the environment you’re currently in.  Have you quit challenging yourself?  I’ve seen thirty and forty year olds who’s favorite saying is, “It is what it is” or “I’m just riding it out”.

Change the Way You Think

Throughout my career I’ve allowed my ow dreams to start disintegrating.  I eventually snapped out of it and wouldn’t share any of them with dream killers.  The future is bright and I’m moving forward.

A Different Kind of Courage

Having the courage and mindset to allow no one of seniority, rank or even the self proclaimed firehouse expert’s to stand in your way.  When you become focused and begin to move forward you build momentum.  The more momentum the less you worry about roadblocks.   You start doing whatever it takes to achieve it.  Roadblocks and failures become something to expect and learn from but they’ll never stop you.

I’ve seen many firefighters and police officers retire from departments just to find themselves lost.  Some turn to drinking.  Some get divorced.  Others gradually find their way working a part time gig at the local store.  If that’s your dream, great.  If not, join me and focus on the future?

Never Stop Dreaming

Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump are two of the oldest to ever serve as president.  Both with a different history of successes.  Neither of them needed the presidency to complete a lifetime of achievement.  Why did they do it?   They dreamed of helping others and making a difference.  They put their dreams into action and never allowed the dream killers to take away their desire to win.

You can do the same.  You did it as a child and you can do it now.  Politics, emergencies and negative pessimistic department dream killers can be pushed aside if you’re strong enough.

Begin with taking ONE Simple Step

  1. Believe in the most powerful person in the world.. “YOU”!

Milwaukee Police Awards Banquet

by Brian Benedict

May 9, 2017 Milwaukee Police Awards Banquet.

How to Be Productive When You’re Tired

by Brian Benedict

What do all these guys have in common?  

Consistency.  Courage.  The ability to make a difference.

One truth is police and firefighters are extremely hard workers.  Most of them have several side jobs in addition to their careers.  Regardless whether its mowing, roofing or protecting our own with insurance products we do all this on empty tanks and embers.

The Norm?

Remember, your neighbors only confront one or two emergencies in a lifetime. You’ve responded to that many before 9am.   Add combating fatigue of mandatory overtime, running on fumes from side job and family obligations while keeping up high moral and maintaining professional attitudes and proficiencies.


So what’s a few tips to regenerate yourself after a long night of crazy calls and lack of sleep?  What’s their secret to staying productive and motivated when faced with daily exhaustion?  How can we kickstart ourselves when our shifts are filled with overdoses and adrenaline highs & lows.

How do you stay energized and inspired when the workaholic in us becomes robotic and numb?

 It’s in the routine.

Productive people understand the necessity of regular breaks.  That includes Phones but not fun.

Here’s a few tips to jumpstart your productiveness.

1.  Are you always waking up in the middle of the night?  Too much on your mind?  Keep a note pad next to your bed.  Each time your mind races and thinks of even the simplest project, write it down.  Try it for a night.  You’ll be amazed of the sleep you’ll get.

2.  Write a to do list as soon as you wake up. If you’re like me you’re brain has thought of many things it would like to accomplish today.  All the ideas are bundled up inside just waiting to be written down.

3.  Prioritize the list that you’ve just written.  Circle, star, number or however you feel like prioritizing, just do it.  Maybe it’s prioritizing by importance, maybe its prioritizing by driving route.  Which ever is the best case for you will organize your day and smooth out your rough spots.

4.  Do what you dislike first.  If you get in the habit of doing the things you don’t want to do first it’ll make getting your daily to do’s finished quicker.

5. Organize your desk, files and clutter.

Build the Business of “U”

5 “Connecting” Tips

by Brian Benedict

Build the Business of “U” by Connecting

Most firefighters dread walking into a room and attempting to break the ice with a bunch of strangers.  Especially those leaders within the community or city.  The truth is it’s an important part of building you and the departments value and influence.

I visit fire departments across the country and they all have one thing in common.  The lack of city influence.  This not only makes contract and wage negotiations tougher each year but grievances, fundraisers and budgets more difficult.

How can we correct this?  We need to utilize the individual strengths of our firefighters.  Young and old.   Erase the seniority and “get some time” phrase when it comes to community influence.  Your careers are dependent upon your community value.  As firefighters, we know we add value but it’s tested several times a year by the decision makers upstairs or across the street.

So how do we ease the pain of connecting with others and begin to build a network of trust?   Here are a few steps when visiting a community event, chamber of commerce or young professionals meeting.  Remember the younger members of these organizations are made up of future city and county leaders that will dictate your raises and working conditions.

Here are five ways to begin Building the Business of “U”

  • Say “Cheese”. Walk in the room and smile. It’s that simple.   Just smiling will make you and them feel better about the situation.  As a bonus it will make others relax while around you.  I think its a good idea to smile in the car prior to entering the event.  Why?  So you can see yourself calm and confident.  The other is to check and pick food particles from in between your teeth if visible.


  • The crucial “First Impression”.  Share positive enthusiasm. Win people over with your a healthy attitude.  Be the sunshine of their day.  Make every person feel as though they’re the most important person to you right now.  Be enthusiastic and  excited about the future.


  • Ask a question, listen, then ask another.  The quickest way to get the conversation started with a stranger is to ask them a question.  What would you want someone to ask you?   Remember listening to others feels odd when you’ve never focused on it.  Many of us tend to want to win one up during conversations with others. Warning to all extroverts…  It’s not about you!  It’s about them, so listen.


  • Sell “U” First.  Be yourself and keep the salesperson at home. Connecting is all about relationships.  Building long term relationships begin with a question and then listening.  Keep it fun and light hearted.  Don’t use offensive humor or remarks.  Selling “U” first is the key.


  • Be friendly and interested.  A pleasant personality is hard to find.  If you’re attending a networking event after a long work day you’ll be tired, hungry and grumpy.  If you can’t change into a friendly and likable person don’t go.  Splash water on your face.  Do a few jumping jacks.  Get the energy and enthusiasm back so you can turn on your interest and bring your awesome personality out for display. is a site for firefighters who would like to know more about becoming a person of influence within their communities and departments.


Are “U” Moving Forward

What does the word FORWARD mean to you?

To me it means overcoming hurdles.  Overcoming minor set backs.  Moving past those who are preventing you from advancing.

It’s been my experience through the years, those who discount your value or discredit your ideas are just bumps in the road to greater things.  If you allow others to dictate your future you’ve given up.  The greatest person in the world is you.  You should always be moving forward in life.  If you are becoming satisfied with the status quo snap out of it.  Challenge yourself to learn something different.  Learn something new.  Be different.  Look beyond the present and have a vision towards your future.

Like Winston Churchill once said to graduating college students,

“Never, Never, Never Give up!”

Always be moving forward.  You owe it to yourself.

Be safe,



R “U” Helping or Hindering

Do “U” genuinely help others?

Do “U” help others without expecting anything in return?

Can you describe how you’ve helped them? Can you actually say truthfully youve given them value?

I think some people believe they don’t need to help others.  They have a false sense of what helping people actually looks like.

So many people act like their helping someone but instead they’re actually hindering them.  Some do it intentionally while others inadvertently. They give minimal effort towards others I believe for one main reason… “Fear”.  Fear the other person may get more attention. Fear the other person may advance.   Fear causes them to even search to find fault in order to knock them down a step while they use them to take a step up.

Bottom line

If “U” want to connect with others “U” must help others first.  Do it for no personal gain. Do it as your purpose and you’ll grow a network of connections that believe in “U”.

Like John Maxwell says, “If you’re lonley at the top, you’re doing something wrong.”

Your Commercial: First Contact | KeyToSuccess.Blog

Your Commercial

by Brian Benedict
Entrepreneurs  differ on what they believe to be the most important element, although many professionals will argue that creating a solid business plan should definitely be the first step. A well-crafted business plan lays out all the details and strategies, includes projections for revenue and spending, and will be reviewed in detail by bankers and venture capitalists. But in fact, the most important document that should be created even before the business plan is your 30 second commercial.

The fact is, most people will not read a business plan unless they have been motivated to do so beforehand. Your personal commercial is that motivating factor. It’s the hook that gets them into the room. It’s the catchy jingle that gets people to pay attention to the ad. It’s the best parts of the business plan, without the boring details. Your commercial is the place for the excitement, not the place to include all the technology, buzzwords and explanations.

A personal commercial statement should be able to be condensed into a single-page presentation, short enough to be memorized, or read easily within a few minutes and short enough to be presented during the course of an elevator ride. The 30 second commercial condenses your profession into something that can be presented in about a minute or two. Essentially, the parts that really matter are the very essence of your confidence and non verbal skills.

The 30 second commercial skips the hard-core financials, and gets straight to the heart of what it is about the business that really gets you excited. That’s what this pitch is about.  You don’t need to prove yourself.  You just need to quickly give a power statement that connects easily and accurately as to what you want them to know about your profession.  The commercial that gets people interested.

Your personal commercial should be inspirational and creative, hitting the high points of your business or career, and should accomplish the following:

  • Hit the high points
  • Summarize the problem/solution aspect of your concept
  • Describe the business model and how is it going to make money?
  • Create excitement on the part of the reader/listener
  • Describe the profit potential without having to bring out charts and graphs
  • Tell why you/your company are well positioned to accomplish your goal
  • End with a call to action

The first couple sentences are the most critical, and should present your core concept. If you can’t tell what it is you want to do in two sentences or less, then you need to simplify your concept. There will be plenty of time to get into all the details later, once you’ve captured your audience’s interest.

more powerful blog articles at www.KeyToSuccess.Blog


Who’s your freelance hero?


As children, it’s perfectly normal for us to hero-worship a little bit. Whether it’s a famous ball player, a leader of the people, or an expert scientist, children don’t have any qualms about imitating the kind of people they hope to one day become. But, when we do grow up, we often lose our sense of hero-worship. Maybe our pride stops us or maybe we get too busy and preoccupied. And yet, more often than not, there are those that have blazed the way before us and it’s worth following in their footsteps, learning from their mistakes, and letting their lives inspire us to greater heights.

From personal experience, I can tell you that having a few freelance heroes can help light the way in dark times. Here are a few tips for finding your freelance hero – capes optional:

1. Look back

One nice thing about history? It’s full of workers, artists, and intellectuals who might justifiably be called freelancers – since the salaried “standard” is a relatively new invention.

When I’m feeling particularly irritable and uninspired, I think about the many many polymaths who have reshaped history. These were people who didn’t particularly fit any mold – who bounced around from interest to interest – and as a result, revolutionized their fields of study.

In our modern world, there’s a lot of pressure to specialize; there is also an undeserved stigma around changing (or blending) careers.

Next time some close-minded stranger looks askance when you explain that you’re a graphic designer/poet/freelance editor, you just think about Leonardo DaVinci. Would that artist/scientist/engineer/mathematician have cared what Joe Shmoe thought? Or would he have laughed in his face and kept on painting/designing/theorizing?

2. Look forward


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So you are not quiiiiite where you want to be in your career, at the moment. That’s okay!

Look at people you really, really admire – whether inside or outside of your industry. Start probing around their life stories. Read a couple of biographies. But do so with a particular focus; search for the setbacks.

Look for when they stumbled. Look for when they failed. Look at the obstacles they had to overcome. Imagine how people must have looked at your heroes, when they explained their aspirations. Think about how easy it would have been for them to have been discouraged, too.

So many of the MOST inspirational people have overcome significant barriers to become successful (that’s why they’re inspirational). When you’re looking for a freelance hero, imagine how biographers may tell YOUR story; with the hindsight of history, even your biggest obstacles may someday look like tiny speed bumps on your path to success.

Don’t abandon faith. Look at Oprah, for Pete’s sake; she came from almost nothing and now look at her. LOOK AT OPRAH!

3. Look around

All around you, freelancers are making a living.

Yes, many of them grapple with self-doubt and uncertainty from time to time. Many of them struggled, at first. Many of them had to juggle a few jobs when just starting out. Many of them that may seem “successful” to you are constantly working to become better, to land bigger clients, to expand their network – and would laugh if you complimented their “success.”


Join now!

Trust me, if they can make a living freelancing, YOU CAN PROBABLY DO IT, TOO. Most freelancers are not uniquely lucky (although some luck helps). They’ve just worked very, very hard. They’ve moved past some mistakes… and they’ve probably gotten some good advice on the way.

If you’re looking for freelance heroes, start looking at your peers. If you see somebody land an enviable gig, congratulate them… and ask them how they did it! Offer to take them out for coffee, and pick their brain. Heck, Freelancers Union is chock-full of successful, consistently-working freelancers; poke around and find a few mentors!

*Find your freelance hero *

Join Freelancers Union (it’s free!)

Celebrate others’ successes (they’ve proved that it can be done!) and learn from their struggles. Take bits and pieces of advice from all sorts of people – past, present, and future – and use their words as the fuel you need to keep going forward.

Your freelance heroes need not wear capes; indeed, they needn’t even be freelancers! If someone inspires you, take their lessons to heart – and you’ll soon inspire others, yourself.

Source: Who’s your freelance hero?

4 Reasons You Should Use a Business Coach |

Brian Benedict,

4 Reasons You Should Use a Business Coach to Get Results

by Brian Benedict,

Business coaching is a modern day concept. Many businesses, especially those that think outside the box, are recognizing that having a business coach is a powerful tool that your business can take advantage of. Let’s look at 4 reasons you should use a business coach.

#1 A Business Coach Can Show You how to Get Greater Returns With Less Work
You work way too many hours and you believe if you were to leave even for a short vacation, things might fall apart, but boy, you are ready to work less! You can call the coaching by many names ñ executive coaching, small business coaching, business coaching and there are others ñ bottom line is that any one of these can help your company to become far more efficient. That means you will work less hours and make more money. A business coach can help you turn your old business model into a new business model that’s more powerful and profitable.


#2 Business Coaching Can Create More Profits
Are you ready to make more money? If you aren’t making the profits you thought you would it’s time to change that and turn things around. A business coach can help you do that. He or she can help you to jump start your business. Your business coach isn’t there to make the decisions for you, but they are there to open you up and help you explore how you might reach the goals you have and make the profits you desire.

#3 Business Coaches Help You Develop Your Team
You are ready to build a team so that you can grow your business. That’s great news. A business coach can help you recruit, train, and keep the right team members. When you build a team, it can motivate everyone and allow you to create a powerful team with the help of your business coach. You can create passion among your team members.

#4 Business Coaches Can Help You Find Your Passion
If you need to fall back in love with your business, a business coach is just the tool to help you do that. Overtime every business can become a bit mundane and a bit boring. Motivation is key to maintaining and growing a vision and passion. Whether you are building a simple marketing plan or a full business your business coach is an excellent sounding board and can be an invaluable tool and sounding board to help you get your passion back!

A business coach is a service you have to pay for and that can sometimes stop people from making the call. Using a business coach is a great investment in your future.


Are You Entitled?

Are You Entitled?

by Brian Benedict,

I have a successful Podcast where I dwell in all type of subjects.  Most are 2 minute power podcast to get you motivated and ready for the gig.  Yes, I’m a musician and a non-sales professional.  This means I don’t “SELL” anything.  I “LISTEN”.

Listening is hard to explain.  Most of us don’t do it.  Most of us think we are entitled to whatever information we want.  From national security to the high school coach game plan.  Oh yea… That hits home with some of us.

Life’s lesson #495 is don’t question the coach.  I’ve learned many lessons through the years and the ones that stick with me as I get older are all the coaches that I questioned.  Some worth my breath and some not.  If you’re child is in early elementary and you’re judging the coach its probably not so good.  Look at yourself and improve on your personal skills.  If you’re in high school and your looking for the next level the threshold seems worthwhile.

In sales… “NO”… in any profession, its “YOU” that makes the difference.  Are you providing value in what you do?   Are you going above and beyond what’s expected.  Brown nosing only goes so far.  Your value… What you bring to the team is what matters.  That’s whats going to take you to the next level.  If you want to get there together then come with me on the journey.  If not, Please stay home so we have enough room for everyone else.

If you’d like to focus on what you do best please be a member of a powerful website that I’ve developed to help others free up work.  Go to and promote yourself globally.  No Matter what skill!!  Everyone has a different talent.  Everyone can add to this world in some way, shape or form.  Let me help you Get the Gig!

Go to and start listening to the 2 min power podcast where I teach vital components to motivating you to achieve you goals.

“Work Smarter”… It Just Makes Cent$

Brian Benedict

Read Brian’s Book “The Power of I CAN…I Will”

Best Side Jobs for Firefighters

“Outside The Box” Side Jobs for Firefighters

With many different shifts around the globe it only makes sense that firefighters have additional jobs.  Not only is is a great vice for taking your mind off of hazardous scenes and situations but its also a great way to make extra income for your family.  I’ve included several thinking outside the box side jobs that can be done ANYWHERE.  How can you do this?  I’ve came up with  It’s a global community of Freelancers.  Becoming a freelancer means you can work from home or at the firehouse, on the computer and earn money.  Work for anyone, anytime, anywhere around the world.

1. Instructor: Firefighting tactics, Fire Prevention principles, CPR and more.

Why not use the skills that you’ve been given to make money globally.  Instead of just booking a session at a local business, offer books, information and promote yourself and your products globally…For FREE.

2. Firefighter Products

How many fraternal events have we been to where those outside the world of firefighting are selling something.  Although many firefighters have products that make our life easier why not display them for a global market for free.  Promote your books, ebooks, tools and even fire prevention flyers and music for global exposure.

3. Data Entry

Keep it simple.  Earn an income by entering data into a database for customers.  It seems strange but this simple tasks is in high demand.

4. Construction / Carpentry

Many firefighters take on deck building, remodels, roofing, drywall and more.  The body isn’t kind as we reach our mid to upper 40’s.  Think outside the box.  What if you could display items that you build like drawers, tables etc.  Also you could sell Tip Sheets on construction subjects.  These items can not only be sold but your services could be paid as a consultant.  Maybe provide others 30 min conversation at a certain price.

5. Other Skills

Freelancers come in many shapes, sizes and skills.  If you’re a musician, singer, social media wiz, artist, selfie photographer, web developer, website creator and many other areas that are in high demand.

A great place to begin your freelance career is at   


BONUS: Outsourcing

With city budgets the way they are doesn’t it make sense to outsource certain tasks.  Keep an open mind.  Contract a freelancer to do data entry, fire dept social media site updates, fire prevention tasks and many more areas.

About the author

Brian is a retired firefighter, army veteran, and current Police and Firemen’s Insurance Association Midwest Regional Manager who writes from the heart.  A powerful perspective of positive how to’s and outside the box thinking.  A service first firefighter with a goal of bettering yourself, your income and building a business that will grow into a second career after the fire department.  The owner of where he’s building a growing community of freelancers who focus on freeing up work and letting busy professionals focus on what they do best.  “Work Smarter”, It only makes Cent$