OUR FIREHOUSE STORIES

GeoC

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Jul 25, 2018
Messages
13
I can a good story back in the late 70’s when I was a fireman at TL-131. (We had a crazy crew at the Happy Hookers then Officers included)
The City was having its inaugural 5 Boro Bike Tour and coincidentally we just received a new Exercise Bike from a local factory. You know the one wheel bike you petal with a speedometer etc.
Well the tour was to go overhead of the Firehouse on the Gowanus Expressway, if your familiar with it it’s the high point coming out of the Bklyn Battery Tunnel where the BQE becomes the Gowanus. It was a nice day and we were supposed to be on MUD. The Captain had work to do and told the BC we were drilling at Quarters.
As was our routine we put the bucket up and drilled with the Captain in his office. The news was full of stories of the Bike Tour and our minds went into a combined thought of mischief.
We had to move down Hamilton Ave to a lower spot on the Gowanus, (it’s 109’ above the Firehouse), to put the bucket up to road height. In the bucket we put our new exercise bike and placed it along side of the roadway in the air with Rickey Bruno peddling away! As the bikers road by Rickey would wave and keep peddling as fast as could.looked like he was floating in the air to the riders.
Little did we know it was all on TV via a Helicopter filming. You know what happened! The phones started ringing mostly from other companies laughing but a few came from Bosses who didn’t appreciate the humor.
Capt. Norm Whalen (great guy) looked out the office window started yelling something about Chiefs etc. We took up from our training and waited for our lecture. But Norm covered for us and nobody came around for the talk.
Still a great story for those who were there.
P.S. looked up the date 43yrs ago. Time flies but memories stay!
 

NFDTillerman1971

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Jul 17, 2020
Messages
4
Working in a small city department had its moments, in the Spring of 1972 I was working as the Tillerman on our Ladder Truck and we had a lifenet on board. This one morning the Captain on duty decided that at some point in the day we would have lifenet training, in other words he would jump into the net and we would do the catching. Well it was one of those very warm early Spring days and our Chief's Office was on the 2nd floor of Headquarters, his Secretary was a tiny woman only about 4 foot nine whose husband was a firefighter on his days off. Stella, the Secretary opened the windows in her office which was just outside the Chief's and these were huge windows all of nine to ten feet in height with a very low sill to the floor. All morning long the Captain had been going into Stella's office bitching and muttering about this that and everything. Now about 1000 the Chief left for a meeting and the Captain had us set up outside one of the windows with the net, in goes the Captain and he announces in a loud voice that that is it he has had it and he is going to end it all by jumping out one of the windows. Before Stella can say a word out the window goes the Captain right into the lifenet, poor Stella fainted right on the spot and when she came too she is looking at the Captain and screams. I quit. this place is a Fing nuthouse and with that she walks out, gets in her car and drives off. In the mean time the Chief calls his office but there is no answer, he does this a couple of times still no answer. When he gets back to the station he finds out that Stella quit because of the lifenet prank and he is pissed, says he will deal with this crew when he gets back. It took him a couple of hours of wheeling and dealing to get Stella to return to work that day, and true to his word he dealt with the Captain transferred him out of Headquarters to the station we called the Leper Colony and we got the Captain from the Colony better know as Powderkeg and the rest of us paid for that prank.
 

nfd2004

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Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,868
I guess I should call this story; "HE DIDN'T FORGET US".

This past Sunday, August 9th, it was a very hot and humid day. Not only that, but with no electric power from Storm Isaias, it was time to go to my favorite local ice cream stand, name "Millie's". Millie's had not lost power and is only a few miles from the Ole' Homestead. So along with my lady friend, we go out to get us our treat for the day.

So we are sitting in the car putting down a cup of three scoops of our favorite ice cream, when I see this guy give me a big wave and yell; "hey how you doing" ? I wave back but I don't have a clue who this guy is.

When he returns to the parking lot, I asked him if he knows me from somewhere ? He says: "Don't you remember me, David Holland from the firehouse" ? "My brother, and I used to come down to the firehouse when we were kids". You guys used to show us around the firehouse, let us sit in the trucks and we used to have water fights with the fire extinguishers (aka the "can"). "We loved going down there".

I could NOT believe it. He remember me from when he was a little kid. He asked me how long I had been retired and I told him about 16 years. David and his brother were only about 10 or 12 years old when they used to come down to visit us. BUT HE NEVER FORGOT US. He asked about my buddy Jimmy T (see Rely # 13), because Jimmy T was a part of it too. I told him that Jimmy T had to get off the job because of a heart condition he suffered one time at a job. But he's doing okay and we still keep in touch.

David told me that both him and his brother appreciated coming down to the firehouse to see us. Of course these days things are much different. No water fights on the apparatus floors anymore. It was just so much fun to be on the job then.

But if a "job" came in, you better turn that notch up and do what's expected of you. As Johnny Gage sometimes puts it in his Glory Days stories, "Engine 88 in the Bronx had Captain Tough Timmy", but Norwich Squad "A" had Captain "Tough Tony".

Myself and JT used to tell those kids, why don't you think about being firemen when you get older. Like most kids their age, it sounded like a good idea. But we told them you got to do good in school and stay out of trouble. Well, they didn't become "Fireman", today of course referred to as FIREFIGHTERS with woman proving themselves they could do the job too.

So I asked David what he's doing now. He told me he is now the Pastor of the "Cornerstonecity" Church only a few blocks from where that old firehouse was that both he and his brother would come down to visit us.

But after all those years, now Pastor Holland, NEVER FORGOT a couple of "firemen" that just took some time out to spend with those kids.

Pastor Hollands wife took a picture of us together. A couple of friends who hadn't seen each other in some 35 or 40 years. David did NOT become a firefighter like myself and JT had suggested, but instead he answered his calling in another way of helping people in need.

Once again, I'm going to ask Brad, aka "signal 73" to post a picture for me. If he does, you'll see me wearing a Chicago FD tee shirt. No, I never worked on the CFD. That tee shirt was given to me by two guys from Chicago when the Bergen St quarters of Rescue 2 was closed last year and I was invited to that closing by my friend Retired B/C Jack Kleehaas, aka "68jk09". Those Chicago guys have been friends with the members of FDNY Rescue 2 for many years.

So Brad, if you can once again post a picture on here for me. I'll tell Santa Clause not to forget you if you do that for me, okay.
 

NFDTillerman1971

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
4
That is a great photo Willy funny I have seen his name in the local rag a while back that his church was leasing the old Saving society building and never put two and two together that he was the little kid that would show up at the station. Capt Tough Tony haven't seen him since Lepage's funeral.
 

twoteamtease

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2012
Messages
97
In L114 Lt Bill Dunn started a policy that when we sat down for lunch or dinner we didn't start to eat
until the officer working that day said grace.
the funny part of this story..
was when we had a covering officer..
we would inform him that we couldn't eat until he said grace.
to see the reaction on his off-guarded surprising face was priceless.
also returning covering officers were prepared for the next time and actually liked our policy.
after the meal we would remain at the dinner table for an hour or so just talking.
made each and every meal that more enjoyable.
Covered there quite a few times and love that tradition.

A Lieutenant in L-114 outranks the 40 BC in Tally Ho!
 

fdce54

Active member
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Messages
997
Thanks Rev.

What flavor of ice cream ?

Notice the small little white spots on that tee shirt I'm wearing. Those spots are from the vanilla ice cream that I spilled on my shirt.
You told me you had "chocolate" ice cream.
 

columbusfire

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2015
Messages
36
Why do firehouses seem to attract these mascot-type people? We had many over the years. Chief Bill, who was from a group home somewhere, really thought that he was a chief. We treated him great and offered him lunch every day AFTER we were done. This went on for years. There was even a video of his fake swearing in ceremony that made the rounds all over the city. It finally came to an end when he was caught stealing money out of the food locker. Some of these people know more about apparatus than the firefighters! Jimmy and shoeshine/big head Kenny, who shined shoes for a donation. We had a guy called ''Hook'' because of his nose who would come around selling ''fresh'' produce cheap. One look under the top stuff and it was clear that it was not fresh! Lots of characters over the years.
 

ta176

Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
34
Working in Brownsville for 24 years seemed like almost every run had a unique story to it. We get a run at 3AM to Fulton St. with a reported water leak. As we arrived at the scene we see it is a commercial building used as a church. The preacher meets us and brings us in and we observe water coming out of a florescent light fixture on the ceiling. The officer asks how long has it been leaking and the reply was about a week. He was then asked why call us at 3 AM and his answer was I knew your not too busy at this hour. So we open the light and turn off power. Another water leak run. We just returned from a run and when we approached the fire house 232 ran out and give us a bucket with a mop in it and told us we had water leak at Saratoga and Park and we knew they were the Projects. As we got closer to the building we observed water cascading out of the side of the building on the 7th floor. When we got to the apartment we learned someone sat on the wall hung basin dropping it to the floor and ripping out the supply lines. And the fun continued and never stopped.
 

nfd2004

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Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,868
Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, all the guys hired were required to become EMTs within one year as part of their "probie time". At that time the EMT course was 81 hours to complete.

As part of the training, if possible when treating a patient for things such as possible heart attack, stroke, etc you were taught to ask what the patient was doing before the symptoms started.

One evening when called to a possible heart attack victim complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing our new firefighter named "Stuie" had just completed that EMT course. Along with Stuie, myself and another firefighter respond to this call. We let Stuie, being the new EMT treat the patient under our watchful eyes.

As we watch him give the guy some oxygen, take his blood pressure, everything is going great and just by the book. Then just as Stuie was instructed, as the guys wife is by her husbands side, Stuie ask "What were you doing before this happened" ?

The guys response is, "I was with my wife".
Stuie says; "Yes, but what were you doing before this happened" ?
Again, the guy says; "I was with my wife".

I think Stuie asked the guy that question THREE Times before we told Stuie, "it's okay, we're all set". Thankfully the ambulance pulled up and they transported the patient to the hospital. When we got back to the firehouse we explained to Stuie what the guy meant when he said, "I was with my wife".

Of course that story stayed with Stuie for a long time.

Stuie and I worked together for a long time as well. Stuie and I sure had a lot in common.

We were both into the job. We loved what we were doing.

When Stuie was a young kid, I delivered mail to his house where I worked as a letter carrier in Westport, Ct before becoming a firefighter. A long way from the firehouse we would one day work together in.

During Stuie's collage days, he would buff the New Haven FD. When I found that out, I asked him if he wanted to buff the FDNY with me, I think sometime in the 1980s. Like so many of him before, "he got hooked too". And yes, we still talk about those days.

Stuie was NOT only a great firefighter but he was a Role Model for the guys that came on the job later. He would always take the time to help those guys and show them the tricks of the trade.

Stuie rose up through the ranks to Lt, Capt and retired as a B/C. Carrying with him the respect of all those under his command.

After his retirement Stuie became a "flight attendant" with Jet Blue. That was the BIGGEST SURPRISE to ALL of Us. Because all you had to do was follow the spilled coffee trail in the firehouse and you'd surely find Stuie.

These days, I think Stuie is a member on this site and enjoys catching up on the stories and rundowns that are posted here by the members. So Stuie if you're out there, "This One's For YOU".

Your Brother from a Different Mother,
Willy D - Retired Rose City's Bravest
 
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nfd2004

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Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,868
Thank you Joe. Each picture a story in itself
 
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nfd2004

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Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,868
Here is a very Different Kind of Firehouse Story from the previous one's told here.

Whether it's a firehouse in the FDNY, Columbus, Ohio or a little place called Norwich, Ct., the basic job of ALL firefighters is to save lives. That is the goal and oath of ALL Firefighters. Most guys like doing that job. Perhaps because of such a high sense of accomplishment and of course the Brotherhood that goes with that firehouse life.

Here a Richmond, VA firefighter talks with a paralyzed young man about the day he was a part of that rescue, 9 years ago on August 11, 2011. The young man who was rescued, invited this firefighter to talk about the incident.

The video is titled: "Meeting the man who helped save my life".

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKVyNLQNDgs
 

nfd2004

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Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,868
In reply # 32, I tell a story about my good friend and Brother Firefighter, now Retired B/C Stuie, aka "scarter" on here. That incident occurred on Lake St in our city. A small narrow street of closely packed 2 1/2 frame private dwellings, but with a lot of both police and fire activity at the time.

The next story also includes Stuie, and is also about Lake St as well.

We are responding to a routine EMS call for an elderly woman having trouble breathing. It is a cold winter night and as we approach the apartment on the first floor, a male directs us in. He tells us that everybody is sick with the flu and he just got home from work.

As Stuie and I go inside that apt we see sick kids sleeping in the beds along with the guys wife. We treat the elderly woman (the kids grandmother) with some oxygen and get her out to the street to a waiting ambulance to transport her to the hospital.

Only a few days earlier, I had attended a class sponsored by the late FDNY Lt Jim Curran. For a small fee about once every three months he would bring in guest speakers from the FDNY who would donate their time to give classes at "The Rock" (FDNY Fire Academy) on a Saturday morning from about 10 am - 3 pm.
Some of those guest speakers were guys like Ray Downey, Andy Fredricks, etc. who were killed on 9/11. The money for the classes would include lunch and the left over money donated to the NYC Firefighters Burn Center.

With CO detectors unheard of at the time, one of those classes was "What to do for CO calls". I believe the class was given by the late Capt Fanning, who also died on 9/11. I learned a lot in that class and I am sure what happen at this incident with Stuie and I, along with another firefighter, played a big part in saving the lives of 4 or 5 kids and their mother at that Lake St call.

With the grandmother treated and on her way to the hospital, we get ready to go back to quarters. As we approached the rig, I said to Stuie; "You know Stuie, maybe we should go back in there with our CO meter and check things out". So that is exactly what we did. The guy let us back in and we got very HIGH readings on that meter. We called for additional EMS and all the kids and the mother were transported to the hospital.

The next day, I contacted the hospital. Told them who we were and what went on. I wanted to know if everybody was okay. The nurse told me, "They ALL had high readings of CO poisoning and would NOT have survived much longer".

In this case, attending that class as well as "second guessing ourselves" probably saved their lives. We didn't crawl into a burning apt putting our own lives at risk. There were no medals or newspaper stories about it. Just the simple fact that once again, maybe we were able to help these people and that's what made the job so GREAT.

It's one of the reasons why so many retired firefighters consider The Job, "The GREATEST JOB in the World".
 
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GeoC

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Jul 25, 2018
Messages
13
I saw this story Parrot story and had a laugh, it reminded me about an incident I had many years ago .
I’m sure we have or heard of calls about pets etc. But I had one when I was working out of L169 in Brighton Beach.
It was a cool windy day in the fall when a civilian came to the Firehouse, after trying the ASPCA and NYPD, looking for help. His African Parrot flew the coup. He lived on the 4th floor of an apartment house and the bird flew out the window and was perched on a branch of a tree. His efforts of luring the bird back was not working.
I was all set to tell him we weren’t equipped to help but my Chauffeur stepped forward to say he has a bird and could handle it.
So we went and sure enough there was the bird about 40 ft up in tree. Couldn’t use a TL so up went our aerial with my Chauffeur (Billy Ellis)
Mr. Greenberg told us the bird was named Mr Green (naturally since it was green) and talked.
Now Billy is trying to talk to the bird and was told he likes to sing ‘Yankee Doodle’
Yep you guessed it Yankee Doodle was being sung by both bird and Billy. But as soon as he got within 3ft. Mr. Green came out with a F”**k You! And although his wings were clipped he was last scene heading west on a zigzag course.
We left Mr. Greenberg chasing Mr Green crying.
Sorry no happy ending but still brings a laugh when I remember that day.
 

nfd2004

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Jun 22, 2007
Messages
5,868
In the very first paragraph of this topic I mentioned; "Often the firehouse can offer more comedy than any high rated comedy show".

Going back to "Television from a Different Time", as seen on this site in the "History Section", our firehouse had it's own "Barney Fife, aka known as Elwyn Marceau (R.I.P.) of The Andy Griffith Show.
We also had our "Felix Unger," aka Greg Despathy, of the Odd Couple Show.
I guess looking at it now, maybe I was known as "Oscar", of that same show except I didn't smoke cigars.

But like Firefighters are dedicated to do, "when it came time to go out into those streets and do what we were supposed to do, everybody turned UP the Notch and gave it a hundred percent".

I remember talking to a member of the FDNY during those very busy War Years. Of course, I couldn't come close to the fire activity that he was seeing. I remember telling him that and he responded back with a question to me. That question was "Did you ever go to a working fire". Of course I did and I told him "yes".
He then said to me; "well the smoke and heat is the same here as it is where you are". I NEVER Forgot those words and I shared those same words with the guys I was working with.

As we have been telling some of our funniest firehouse stories here, there were also times we discussed our personnel lives. Sometimes Our Own Brothers we worked with were the Best at giving advice when it came to helping us with our individual problems.

I remember it being contract time. We all had our ideas on what to ask for and what we needed to give up if necessary. I remember our discussion was getting a Drug Program in place for anybody who needed to get help dealing with a drug issue. As we talked; "I was dead AGAINST such a program". I felt that I shouldn't be working with any guy who has been using drugs.

When the final vote was taken it was very close but that Drug Program DID PASS. The deal was any firefighter could be granted a One Time offer to leave 30 days for a drug treatment center. After completing that program he would be allowed to return to full duty.

I remember the first guy that took advantage of that program. We only assumed that because he was off for so many days. When he came back we sat down and he told me his story one on one. "I could NOT believe that this guy had been using drugs". He told me he was addicted to cocaine and booze. I NEVER suspected that at all. He had been a HIGHLY Respected Firefighter. I believe after he told me his story he then told the other guys too.

About three weeks later we are working together. Another firefighter who recently became a member here is also working with us. His name Stuie Carter, aka "scarter", and I introduced you to him in the "News of Members" on page 84.
It is about 5 am and "it sounds like a job". On the way we get a report of a person trapped in a basement apartment on Union St. When we get there, just as the FDNY member had told me years earlier, "it's a hot, smoky job". As Stuie and this other firefighter entered from the front, myself and FF Gerry Kirby go in through the back.

I then hear that firefighter yelling through his mask; "I got him, I got him". Both Stuie and that firefighter get the victim out and he is transported to the nearby hospital with serious burns and smoke inhalation. He is then transferred to Bridgeport Hospitals Burn Center. My sister in law is a nurse working at that hospital and I contact her a few days later to ask if he made it. She tells me "Yes, but it's going to be a long recovery". That was GREAT NEWS.

That other firefighters name is Jody Sheeley. The first guy to admit a drug problem and go for rehab. He came back and along with his partner Stuie Carter. saved the guys life. "FF Jody Sheeley was the same kind of guy that only a few weeks earlier, I didn't want to give a second chance to".

After Jody retired, he had stopped to help at a serious car accident in his home town. During that time he was hit by another car and both legs were pinned as he suffered in pain. Throughout his long recovery "he never took any pain medication while in the hospital for fear of becoming addicted again.

Jody always loved boxing and he donated a lot of his time teaching young kids that sport. Today Jody has his own gym at his home where he teaches boxing.

Sadly we had another very highly respected firefighter who refused to go into the same type of program. A very smart individual that had been a gifted high school football player. The Chief, myself, and our Union President, "begged him" to go into the program. Instead he walked out on us, lost the job, and died about a year later from a drug overdose. He left a wife and two kids.

Here is a local newspaper article that tells Jody's story. The article came out in February, 2020.

www.theday.com/business/20200229/second-chance-for-2nd-chance-gym
 

manhattan

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
1,883
In the very first paragraph of this topic I mentioned; "Often the firehouse can offer more comedy than any high rated comedy show".

Going back to "Television from a Different Time", as seen on this site in the "History Section", our firehouse had it's own "Barney Fife, aka known as Elwyn Marceau (R.I.P.) of The Andy Griffith Show.
We also had our "Felix Unger," aka Greg Despathy, of the Odd Couple Show.
I guess looking at it now, maybe I was known as "Oscar", of that same show except I didn't smoke cigars.

But like Firefighters are dedicated to do, "when it came time to go out into those streets and do what we were supposed to do, everybody turned UP the Notch and gave it a hundred percent".

I remember talking to a member of the FDNY during those very busy War Years. Of course, I couldn't come close to the fire activity that he was seeing. I remember telling him that and he responded back with a question to me. That question was "Did you ever go to a working fire". Of course I did and I told him "yes".
He then said to me; "well the smoke and heat is the same here as it is where you are". I NEVER Forgot those words and I shared those same words with the guys I was working with.

As we have been telling some of our funniest firehouse stories here, there were also times we discussed our personnel lives. Sometimes Our Own Brothers we worked with were the Best at giving advice when it came to helping us with our individual problems.

I remember it being contract time. We all had our ideas on what to ask for and what we needed to give up if necessary. I remember our discussion was getting a Drug Program in place for anybody who needed to get help dealing with a drug issue. As we talked; "I was dead AGAINST such a program". I felt that I shouldn't be working with any guy who has been using drugs.

When the final vote was taken it was very close but that Drug Program DID PASS. The deal was any firefighter could be granted a One Time offer to leave 30 days for a drug treatment center. After completing that program he would be allowed to return to full duty.

I remember the first guy that took advantage of that program. We only assumed that because he was off for so many days. When he came back we sat down and he told me his story one on one. "I could NOT believe that this guy had been using drugs". He told me he was addicted to cocaine and booze. I NEVER suspected that at all. He had been a HIGHLY Respected Firefighter. I believe after he told me his story he then told the other guys too.

About three weeks later we are working together. Another firefighter who recently became a member here is also working with us. His name Stuie Carter, aka "scarter", and I introduced you to him in the "News of Members" on page 84.
It is about 5 am and "it sounds like a job". On the way we get a report of a person trapped in a basement apartment on Union St. When we get there, just as the FDNY member had told me years earlier, "it's a hot, smoky job". As Stuie and this other firefighter entered from the front, myself and FF Gerry Kirby go in through the back.

I then hear that firefighter yelling through his mask; "I got him, I got him". Both Stuie and that firefighter get the victim out and he is transported to the nearby hospital with serious burns and smoke inhalation. He is then transferred to Bridgeport Hospitals Burn Center. My sister in law is a nurse working at that hospital and I contact her a few days later to ask if he made it. She tells me "Yes, but it's going to be a long recovery". That was GREAT NEWS.

That other firefighters name is Jody Sheeley. The first guy to admit a drug problem and go for rehab. He came back and along with his partner Stuie Carter. saved the guys life. "FF Jody Sheeley was the same kind of guy that only a few weeks earlier, I didn't want to give a second chance to".

After Jody retired, he had stopped to help at a serious car accident in his home town. During that time he was hit by another car and both legs were pinned as he suffered in pain. Throughout his long recovery "he never took any pain medication while in the hospital for fear of becoming addicted again.

Jody always loved boxing and he donated a lot of his time teaching young kids that sport. Today Jody has his own gym at his home where he teaches boxing.

Sadly we had another very highly respected firefighter who refused to go into the same type of program. A very smart individual that had been a gifted high school football player. The Chief, myself, and our Union President, "begged him" to go into the program. Instead he walked out on us, lost the job, and died about a year later from a drug overdose. He left a wife and two kids.

Here is a local newspaper article that tells Jody's story. The article came out in February, 2020.

www.theday.com/business/20200229/second-chance-for-2nd-chance-gym
Beautifully told, Bill. Thank you.
 
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