John R. Kowalski Integrative Marketing Fusion

Find the Light

Find the Light

light, starburst

Over the past week I have struggled with what these few “controlling” individuals have done to my fire department. Just a year ago we were a shining example for the county and the region as how a volunteer fire department should be run and it’s service and education to the community. And now? Not.

Due to our district county commissioners and members of the “good ole boys network,” they have seemed to dismantle all that we built and have placed our community at tremendous risk with little certified support. It’s truly sad and I feel sorry for those that need to make themselves feel big at even the cost of the safety of the community. We are truly now a community at risk. And this is in addition to the county not investigating or prosecuting arson. Good stuff, right?

light, horizon, flare

It’s Been a Struggle

I won’t lie, but through all of this it’s been a struggle to find the light. Frustration, heartbreak, anger, and sadness were just a handful of emotions I’ve been feeling through all of this. And on top of that, “Why?” A small rural volunteer department and there’s a struggle for control and power rather than all working together for the best of the community? I mourn for these individuals that have truly lost the light and placing personal agenda’s ahead of the greater good.

In working through those emotions I realize I am better than that. Above that garbage. This is a new chapter full of opportunities. And though I want to jump right in, I’m purposely taking my time to let things simmer a while, and to see what bubbles up.


The crest for Lone Oak Volunteer Fire Department

I have served for 7 years as a member and the public information officer. I have been a certified firefighter and board member for 4 years. In addition to serving the community and our mutual aid partners with wildland and structure fires, car accidents, car fires, search and rescues, and medical call there has been a host of other activities.

From building and maintaining a website and Facebook page we were able to get out prevention and education to the community. Fundraising events and grant writing, along with community activities and safety trainings. Lots of behind the scenes stuff and it doesn’t seem now there is personnel to perform those activities at the level we had reached.

It has been one of the most fulfilling challenges I had ever faced, and was one of the proudest moments of my life graduating at the top of my fire academy class.

Embracing Positivity

This transition period has been liberating in many ways. The past week has been a revelation, offering me a sense of lightness I hadn’t experienced previously. The sense of being tethered to my phone has diminished, eradicating the perpetual undercurrent of stress that comes with the possibility of being summoned at any moment. What an unexpected boon this has been! With this newfound freedom, I have been able to dream towards new pursuits that feed my soul and contribute positively to those around me. Cheers to embracing the light and stepping towards a promising new chapter with optimism and determination!

What’s Next?

light, starburst

In addition to mourning what was, I am also looking towards the light and positivity. A new chapter… a new beginning to where I want to spend some project time. There have been lots of things swirling around and I’m going to take my time to see what bubbles to the surface and directs my focus. Just a handful of my thoughts:

  • Marketing
    • Continue writing my book on my marketing model, Integrative Marketing Fusion
    • Develop an online workshop geared towards corporate B2B marketers
    • Expand my mentoring of young marketing professionals
  • Fire Service
    • Revisit and update my marketing program for volunteer fire departments
    • Provide community and regional education leveraging NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) and NVFC (National Volunteer Fire Council) information and resources
    • Work with the NVFC and develop more webinars and on-demand training for their members
    • Join our neighboring volunteer fire department
    • Offer grand writing services
  • JRK
    • Explore a fractional CMO role with a few interested organizations

Stay tuned as I find the light!

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