In honor of 9/11 and the first responders…

Hello everyone,

Today is a day in history that most of us won’t forget. We can never forget.IMG_0948

Last weekend, the Kansas City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb was held downtown and the crew put on a fantastic event.  We were able to watch 343 firemen climb 110 stories to remember those firemen who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11.  Each firefighter carried the name and picture of an actual firefighter that lost his life 13 years ago.

Needless to say, it was a memorable and emotional event.


These firemen who volunteered to make the honorable stair climb and took the time out of their lives to get together from all over the country.  There are several of these events around the nation, but there were groups that came from as far as Georgia to participate.

Here’s some of the group getting ready as the coordinators staged them up in teams and sent them up the stairs in waves.  Each firefighter brought their full bunker gear and oxygen tank, totaling about 75 extra pounds to carry; Just like the firemen did when ascending into the burning twin towers:
IMG_0962As the guys were climbing, there were camera sand screens set up that caught the action on several floors.  If one of them slowed down, they all slowed down.  It was brotherhood at it’s best.

IMG_0967When they were done…and descending down the lat flight of stairs…each fireman would announce the name of his assigned fallen comrade and ring the brass bell to signify the honor and remembrance of the individual.  This part hit hardest for me as I watched these guys sweating and pushing after almost two hours of climbing.

IMG_0985I won’t miss the event ever again.  I encourage anyone that has not been involved in one of these honorary stair climbs to research your city to find out if and when it is.  To me, being so far removed from the individuals that paid the ultimate price on 9/11/01, it draws me closer and allows me to reflect on the day, and to pay tribute to those that sacrificed and lost so much on that day.  I am grateful for what I’ve got.

As it turns out, Tom Hoegler, one of the event coordinators, will be performing his climb this Sunday. He has invited me to climb with him…all 110 floors…and we’re starting Sunday morning at 8:00am. I’m going to make it; I’ve accepted the challenge as an honor; and I’ll be thinking of all that have been affected 13 years ago to now.

Wish me luck.

Take care, Ryan

Casey, call 911!

Hello everyone, how was your 4th of July?

I ran the full gamut of emotions, and we’re going to talk about my last 2 days of experiences. It all started Wednesday night (July 3rd) after work…let me set up the scenario.

My son, Casey is in high school and he works part-time for me at Mission Repair. He’s a great worker, and stayed until the end of the night with me and we decided to drive home together, following one another, in separate cars.

My wife Dandra was out of town so I had nice thoughts of staying at home with Casey and having a “boys night”. Maybe I’d cook some steaks, we could play a little xBox together, maybe even watch a movie as well. You know the kind of stuff that you don’t do on a daily basis with your son, alone, unless you’re really lucky.

So I’m leading us home putting together a fun filled night in my head and I see a fireworks stand – and pulled him with him following me.

“Casey, let’s get some fireworks and we can light them tonight together in the backyard!” We both agreed that this would be a great way to start our night off right. Fireworks are legal for sale and for use in our county so we went for it. We spent a few bucks on several different assorted devices and toted them home.

We couldn’t even wait to go inside the house. Casey and I were drooling over the assortment, so we decided to start with the Black Cat “Missile Base 50 shots” box. This is 50 whistling “missiles” that shoot in succession into the air…and sounds great.

Here’s where the story gets good. Remember that it’s only about 6:30pm, so it’s still very light outside…also off in the near distance I see dark clouds and the threat of thunderstorms heading our way. The responsible dad in me would have said “Ok bud, we’ll just stop here. It’s going to start raining any second, so let’s go in and make dinner.”

Instead, I said “Hey man, it’s going to start to rain, so let’s hurry and get one more going before we have to dodge the rain.” In addition, like it was predestined, the wind started gusting heavily.

So we chose the “8 flaming balls with report” firework and Casey lit it. You could count them – 1…fire, shoots up, bang! 2…fire, shoots up, bang! Well it ran through 7 “flaming balls” until the wind knocked the box over, and the 8th flaming ball shot straight into our field behind our house! Fire, shoots, bang!

Instantly there were about 10 separate small fires in the dry grass.

Casey yelled “Fire!”

I dropped my soda, ran out there in my work clothes, and started stomping out fires. I soon realized that there was no way I was going to be able to stop this. I ran back to the house and grabbed the hose and a bucket. I was getting nowhere. Now each of the fires that I was not able to stop were are big as a car, and the wind was blowing them into huge proportions.

Fire at the Arter house.


“Casey! Call 911! Now!”

Within a few minutes we had 3 fire trucks, police officers, Casey and I with our buckets, stomping out the fire that was spreading out of control. Remember that it’s just about 15 feet from my fence, so all I could imagine was the my house was going to be engulfed within a matter of minutes.

Just as firemen do, they put out the fire. I cannot tell you the amount of stress that this instantly on Casey and I. The police officers handled us well too…when they asked “who lit the fuse?” – naturally I pointed at Casey and said “he did it” 😉

I got into a little bit of trouble for that one.

So what did we do next? We went inside, warmed up some leftovers, and went to bed. Boys night was over!

The next day wasn’t as bad, but there’s an interesting tale there too…I’ll follow up with that story shortly and a brand new blog coupon code for all of our customers.

Take care, be safe, Ryan