The (F.O.O.L.S.) Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society was founded in 1995 by a group of Central Florida Firemen.This group, known today as the Founding Fools, had a passion for not only the camaraderie and brotherhood that is forged between firefighters, but the rich tradition and heritage of the Fire Service. The Leatherhead is a term used for a firefighter who uses the leather helmet for protection from the hazards we face everyday on the streets. The Leather Helmet, is an international sign of a Firefighter, a symbol that is significant in not only tradition from the early years of firefighting, but one of bravery, integrity, honor and pride. This helmet is a sign of who we are, not what we are.
Our South Florida FOOLS chapter was started in 2001 by a bunch of Fort Lauderdale & Miami firemen that went to many funerals after 9/11. We were at a post-funeral event for FOOLS member Dana Hannon when we met some Orlando FOOLS and some NY FOOLS. These brothers gave us the info on what they were all about and urged us to start a chapter. Around December of 2001, Mike Salzano (the chapter's first President) reached out to Mike Stallings (Central Florida FOOLS) to help us get organized in late 2001. We held our "official" first meeting as a chapter in January 2002 and have been going strong ever since. The chapter founders included Mike Salzano, Dave Carter, Joe Fox, Rob Soto, & Ray Bell. The 2019 E-board is happy to continue forging the path of tradition and brotherhood the original chapter founders initiated many years ago.
The FOOLS, like the traditional leather helmet, has always existed through the brotherhood and tradition of the Fire Service, and will continue to grow and flourish as long as there are fires to fight and emergencies to respond to. All firefighters are welcome to be a part of this great organization, one does not have to own a leather helmet to be considered a "Leatherhead". The only qualification is that you are true to your profession and true to your Brother and Sister firefighters. One last thing that we as the Founding Fools ask of each and every one of you. Let us never, ever forget those of us that have gone before us in the line of duty. Because those brave souls have given all, it is up to us to always keep them alive in our hearts and our memories.
Long live the FOOLS,
Leather Forever (FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF-DTRT-DPT)
WHAT THE ACRONYMS STAND FOR
FTM-PTB - "FOR THE MEN - PROTECT THE BROTHERS"
EGH - "EVERYBODY GOES HOME"
RFB - "REMEMBER FALLEN BROTHERS"
KTF - "KEEP THE FAITH"
DTRT - "DO THE RIGHT THING"
DPT - "DUTY, PRIDE, TRADITION"