Archive for New York

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Posted in 2011, History, Our Heros, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , , , on 12-19-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

volunteer firefighters in ColoradoThe Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911 began as 275 workers started to collect their belongings leaving work on a Saturday. Stairwells were locked and exit doors opened inward, effectively locking the workers in the burning building. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling (or jumping) to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three but the youngest were two fourteen-year-old girls.

This fire was a horrible event, made more horrible by the workers desperation to get out of the building. The ladders from the fire trucks only reached to the seventh floor of the ten-story building, and the factory occupied floors 8, 9, and 10.  When the girls on these upper floors realized they couldn’t escape, and the firefighters couldn’t reach them, they began jumping from the windows to the pavement below. People trying to help could only watch in horror as the scene unfolded in front of them.

The company’s owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, who survived the fire by fleeing to the building’s roof when the fire began, where charged with manslaughter but were not convicted. However, they lost a subsequent civil suit in 1913 in which plaintiffs won compensation in the amount of $75 per deceased victim. The insurance company paid Blanck and Harris about $400 per death. One reason the owners were acquitted is because no regulations were violated – there were none in existence to protect the workers. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.


~ ~ If you haven’t gotten your 2012 Firefighter Calendar yet, it’s not too late! You can purchase them at The Big Chili. 100% of the proceeds from every calendar sold through the end of the year goes to our local fire departments.


National 9/11 Flag

Posted in 2011, Around Town, Evergreen Lake House, History, Our Heros, Remembering September, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , on 08-04-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

The New York Says Thank You Foundation goes around the country, helping victims of natural disasters. The foundation inherited the National 9/11 Flag, which is one of the largest American flags to fly above the wreckage at Ground Zero. For many, it has come to symbolize the American spirit that grew from the embers of the disaster. On September 11th, the flag was reduced to tatters. Yet, The New York Says Thank You Foundation kept it with them, as volunteers traveled across the country helping other communities rebuild after disaster — just as so many Americans helped to rebuild New York after 9/11.

When the group was in Greensburg, Kansas seven years ago helping tornado victims, several ladies noticed the flag. They began stitching it back together, as members of the Foundation worked to rebuild their city. At that moment, the 9/11 National Flag became a piece of living history. The flag is now on a journey across America as the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 draws near.

On September 11, 2011, The Big Chili Cook-Off will also remember those lost during the September 11th attacks. Please join us.


Posted in 2011, Our Heros, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 05-16-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

Volunteer firefighting requires commitment, physical strength, and courage. Although Ben Franklin started the first volunteer fire department in 1736 with a company of men, women have been involved in firefighting from early on.

In fact, it was in 1815 that women began serving as volunteer firefighters. The first recorded female volunteer was Molly Williams, a black slave who belonged to a New York merchant named Benjamin Aymar. Molly fought fires wearing a calico dress and checked apron. During a blizzard in 1818, she helped physically drag the engine she worked on, Oceanus No. 11, to the scene of a fire.

In 1820, Marina Betts served as a volunteer in Pittsburgh and claimed she never missed an alarm during her ten years as a firefighter. Betts became famous for dumping buckets of water over male bystanders who refused to help fight fires.

Then there was Lillie Hitchcock, a resident of San Francisco, who was possibly America’s most famous female firefighter. She worked with Knickbocker Engine Company No. 5 beginning in 1851. It all started for her one day on the way to a fire when there were not enough men to pull the engine for the Knickerbocker Company. Not only that but when the Knickerbocker Company’s engine was passed by the Manhattan No. 2 and Howard No. 3 on the way to a fire, the men received humiliating remarks from the other firefighters. Fifteen-year-old Lillie Hitchcock saw their plight and dashed to the vacant spot on the rope. Pulling with all her might she shouted to the bystanders, “Come on, you men! Everybody pull and we’ll beat them!” This teenage socialite began attending fires and the company gave her an honorary membership.

The tradition of female firefighters continues today. If you know a female volunteer here in our mountain community, take a moment to thank her for making our home a safer place.

Mile High Magic

Posted in 2011, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 05-03-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

It’s springtime in the Rockies, which means … snow. And since springtime in America means baseball, baseball in the Mile High City becomes something special, but not just because of the unpredictable weather patterns here. There’s something else quite special about being a mile high – and that’s how far a baseball will travel. A ball travels 9 percent farther at Coors Field than at sea level. This means that a home-run hit 400 feet in Yankee Stadium would travel 440 feet in Denver. When Coors Field was built, the designers ‘compensated’ for this by creating an outfield that is much larger than other stadiums; yet, in spite of this, in 1999 Coors Field achieved a record of 303 home runs, the most ever in a season at one venue. Then ten years ago, since dried-out baseballs fly farther, a climate-controlled storage room (the Coors Field humidor) was installed at the Field to keep the baseballs moist. Although this helped even the playing field, so to speak, Coors Field remains a hitter’s park. This is the magic of being a mile high.

But, there is something else spectacular about seeing a game at Coors Field. Even those who don’t love baseball can sense it. It’s as if there is an electric spark in the air. The crowds, the noise, the dads with their children, the hot dogs – it all creates an infectious sense of excitement and a true feel of Americana. And although this probably exists at other ball parks, here we have something extraordinary, because we have all this with a piercing blue sky, the backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains, and as the first stars come out and the umpire calls, “Play Ball!” , we recognize in that moment the indescribable sense of … magic.

Victory in the Dust

Posted in 2011, Around Town, Our Heros, Remembering September, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 04-06-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

The planes hitting the towers on September 11th in 2001, was only part of the catastrophe that would take so many lives and leave a large portion of New York City devastated.  As the jet fuel from the planes burned hotter by the minute the unthinkable happened and the South Tower collapsed.  Knowing the North Tower would most likely follow in its wake, six firefighters from Ladder Company Six made their way up the stairs to help those still stranded at the top.  Each was carrying about 100 pounds of gear and the climb wasn’t an easy one.  When the band of firefighters reached the nineteenth floor they came across Josephine Harris, an elderly woman who had made her way down from the 73rd floor and was too exhausted to go on.  The building was beginning to rumble and the men knew what was coming.  They lifted Ms. Harris to her feet and started their descent.  The going was slow, as Harris was already near the breaking point but the men from Ladder Company Six stayed with her.  At the fourth floor she collapsed again, saying there was no way she could continue, and with the smoke and their heavy equipment there seemed no way to carry her.  She urged them to leave her before it was too late.  Captain Jay Jonas stood his ground and told the others to evacuate, but nobody moved.  The decision was made as the rumbling continued that they would stay with Josephine Harris regardless of the danger.  And then it happened.  The North Tower started its collapse, one floor at a time, “pancaking” on the one below it.  The six firefighters and Josephine braced themselves as the tower literally fell around them, leaving the small space they occupied battered but standing.  Hours later their calls led their fellow firefighters to them and all six, plus Josephine came out alive.  Do miracles happen?  If they hadn’t been on that stairway helping Josephine Harris, and if she hadn’t refused to descend past the fourth floor, the story would have ended with seven more people lost that horrible day.  So, I guess the answer is yes, miracles do happen and they certainly did on 9/11.

A Time for Heroes

Posted in 2011, Around Town, Our Heros, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA, Who Gets This Whole Thing Going with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 02-03-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”
Winston Churchill

Heroes are people who make choices every day to do the thing that they believe is right, even if they do it alone, even if they are inconvenienced, even if there is no one to start the applause when they are finished.  They are compelled by the strength of their character, rather than their own popularity, and in the end they will not understand the word “hero” because they will assume that they have simply done what they were meant to do, based on their moral compass.  I have found that heroes very often run in packs, many of them together, living with that understanding that life is a challenge to be won, and hurdles are all part of the package.  Heroes may prove themselves on the battle field, in the classroom, in the office, or at home, because their heroism can come either in the rescue, or in the commitment to support the rescuer.  Both parts are important and equally heroic, because true heroism comes not from the act, but from the motivation to do the act.  The mountain area is full of heroes.  Some of them fight fires, or rescue people from disaster, and some write checks to pay for the equipment to help the first group do their jobs.  Don’t doubt for a minute that all of you, and you know who you are, have earned that coveted title of “hero”, and for your service we are truly grateful.

What We Are Here For

Posted in 2011, Our Heros, September 2010, The Big Chili Cook-Off, Who Gets This Whole Thing Going with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12-29-2010 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

Well… this blog has been up for a while now and it’s time to get serious.  We have January all planned out for what we are going to talk about.  We are very excited to get this next month started.  We want this blog to honor and support our community, our firefighters, our country, our supporters, and our sponsors.  We are looking forward to highlighting the great men and women who protect us here at home from the danger of wildfire, the men and women who fight for us all around the world, the brave firefighters who responded to the great tragedy on 9/11, our wonderful community and the people within it who make America what it is and who make events like the Big Chili Cook-Off possible.  We want to share about the people who work so hard to recognize our local and nation wide volunteer firefighters and we want to thank everyone who donates to help support our event and the local fire departments involved!