You think you know, but you have no idea

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I thought I would take a minute to tell you a little bit more about me.

I was born in 1977 in Cincinnati, Ohio. My full name is Rhett Matthew Fleitz. I have lived in Mason, Ohio; Loveland, Ohio; Kansas City, Kansas; Baltimore, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; and now Roanoke, Virginia. I lived most of my life in (11 years). I moved to Roanoke for the job (Roanoke Fire-EMS). Becky, my wife, noticed the job posted in the paper while she was in school at Virginia Tech. Becky and I have two wonderful children, Preston and Jade. If you want to see more of my family, you can view our family blog.

I was hired on the first attempt with Roanoke Fire-EMS on March 1, 1999, which I thought was lucky for a 22 year old white kid from outside the area without a military background, although I did have a College degree. I often thought of returning to the Richmond area as a firefighter, but never did. I have a lot of friends on the job in Henrico, Chesterfield, Richmond, and Hanover fire departments. Since I have been here I have tested with a few departments outside of the Roanoke Valley, but have not acted on them.

When I got hired with Roanoke City, I was in the fast track, 6 days a week for 12 week, recruit school. It was fun, but it would have been nice to have 2 days off a week. I have worked at the following stations/shifts. 9B, 13C, 13B, 8C, and ARFF- C. I have worked for 5 Battalion Chiefs, 4 of which are still here.

Some of you all feel that I am anti-administration and pro-firefighter. Well to each his own and you are entitled to your opinion. If you opened your eyes a little bit you would realize that I am very much pro-fire department. I want what you want, you just aren’t willing to ask for it. You might say that I am opinionated, however I am willing to listen. All too often do I realize that I have not looked at all the angles of an argument. I think you can learn a lot from a good debate.

I know that Roanoke Fire-EMS is one of the most aggressive departments in the State, while remaining one of the safest. The reason why it is one of the safest is because of our firefighters demanding training, tools, equipment, etc. that make their job safe, and the willingness of the Administration to purchase these items when possible.

Currently I am a Lieutenant (driver) on the ARFF company at Station 10/Roanoke Regional Airport. I am also the Secretary/Treasurer of Local 1132, the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association. I work at the Roanoke Virginia Firemen Federal Credit Union, upstairs of Station #8, as a second job. As a matter of fact that is where I am today. I do not know if anyone knows we are open today being that it is Presidents day.

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