Captain 1 Willie Bailey

Our spotlight for the month of December 2011 is Captain 1 Willie Bailey, Public Affairs/Community Outreach Officer for the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department.  Captain Bailey works out of the Fairfax County Penn Daw Fire & Rescue Station (Fairfax County Station 411), located in Alexandria, Virginia.  For 14 years, he has supported the Fairfax County community and vicinity, not just as a firefighter, but he has spearheaded numerous outreach efforts at the Station, which he will expound upon during our conversation.

Destiny – Pride:  Good morning, Captain Bailey.

Captain Bailey:  Good morning.

Destiny – Pride:  Thank you for accepting our invitation to be the Spotlight of the Month for the month of December 2011.  As is our usual first step – we’d like to find out a little about your beginnings.  To that end, please tell us about yourself:  Where you were born; to whom were you born; your siblings and any childhood experiences you would like to share.

Captain Bailey:  Well, I was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1964.  My parents’ names are Willie Garrett Bailey and my mom’s name is Gertrude Bailey.  They’re from Southern Virginia – a place called Halifax [County], South Boston, Virginia.  There were a total of six siblings – four boys, two girls.  I was married, but am now divorced.  I have two kids, a daughter that’s a school teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina [Melondey Giron], and a son that’s a sophomore in college [Willie Bailey, Jr.].

Destiny – Pride:  Would you like to talk about any childhood experiences that may have impacted where you are today?

Captain Bailey explains to volunteers how the process will go for the annual toy drive

Captain Bailey:  Well, the reason I’m being interviewed is because of the community outreach things that I do, and I guess my past has led let me to do community outreach.  I was born in Richmond, Virginia, but I moved with my grandparents in Southern Virginia when I was probably not even a year old, and my parents moved to DC to work – to try to find a job.  I was only supposed to be with my grandparents a year or two, but I ended up staying with my grandparents until I was about six, seven or eight – somewhere around there.  I lived in a house with no running water and an outhouse.  There was a chicken coop I had to keep up.  At Christmas time, when we needed a tree, we’d go fifty yards out, behind the house and cut down a tree.  If we wanted some good fresh meat, we’d go out back and kill a deer – some good venison.  That all played a role in my growing up because when I look back at it now, living in the city, that was some good living!  But I didn’t have the things that everyone else had.  I was the only kid, growing up picking, not “tobacco,” but back then in the south we called it “pickin’ bacca.”  So I grew up taking care of a chicken coop and pickin’ bacca, things like that.

My grandmother and I used to catch a Greyhound a couple times a year to visit my parents here.  My parents moved from DC into Alexandria, in the Del Ray part of Alexandria, Virginia, and my grandmother would bring me to visit them.  I had a couple of brothers and sisters by that time, but really I looked at my grandparents as being my parents because that’s who I was with the majority of the time. When I’d come to the city to visit the folks in Alexandria – and I had an uncle living in DC, so I’d go by and see him sometimes – I’d see all of these kids playing at the playground.  I then would think back that when I was down south, all I would see were animals.  I said, “Grandma, I’m not going back!” [Laughter]  She’d say, “Yes you are.”  So when it was time to catch the bus back that Sunday to Halifax, she couldn’t find me.  I think I was either under the bed or at the playground. 

Destiny – Pride:  How old were you at that time?

Captain Bailey:  I was either seven or eight.

Destiny – Pride:  So it already had impacted you when you saw the difference.

Captain Bailey:  I saw the difference.  I didn’t have any kids in Virginia to play with.  Maybe a possum, a squirrel, a chicken, a buzzard . . .

Destiny – Pride:  I would have never thought it.

Captain Bailey:  But the thing is, my parents, they left me with my grandparents because they knew they couldn’t afford at that time to take care of me and try to find a job, and do all that.  So I ended up not going back with my grandmother.  Until she died, she joked with me about that, how she should have never brought me back up here.  I’d have still been living with her. 

We grew up and lived in different projects in Alexandria, six kids . . .

Destiny – Pride:  Which projects did you live in?

Captain Bailey:  I lived in the “Burg” for a while.  The Burg.  Remember the Titans, and they talked about the Burg?  Well I lived there for a while.  Then we moved to Del Ray; we lived there for a while.  The thing I always think about and tell people is we didn’t have anything.  At the time we were on welfare.  We were taken to the Health Department to get our shots and things like that.  But we always had someone – a family member on my dad’s side – living with us in a small house.  People would say to my parents, “You all don’t have a lot.  But my parents are very religious.  My mom, she’s very religious.  To this day, she’s cooking, dozing off on the chair, or reading the Bible.  One or the other.  They would reply, “The Lord always blesses.  Even though you think you don’t have a lot, you have more than a lot of people.”  So you always have enough to give.

Destiny – Pride:  You have already answered, for the most part, my question about whether you were married and had children.  What about higher education and degrees and/or certificates?

Captain Bailey:  May I touch base on the married part and the kids?

Destiny – Pride:  Sure.

Captain Bailey:  The reason I would like to touch base on that is because that is something that I always tell folks.  I fought and got custody of my kids and I was able to raise my kids.  As a black man, we all know that there’s a stereotype – there’s a stigma out here – that we don’t take care of our families.

Captain Bailey hands out lists to be filled by volunteers at last year’s toy drive/ distribution

Destiny – Pride:  So you became a single parent?

Captain Bailey:  I was a single parent.  My favorite saying – and people will read this and say, “That’s Will” – is “keep it real.”  [Laughter]  And I like to tell people that the reason I do the community outreach that I do is because I feel the man up above blessed me to be able to raise my kids, put them through college, put clothes on their backs, food in their stomachs, and raise them up to be decent human beings.  Now, I feel that God has said, “You owe me.”  So the way I’m paying Him back is by way of the Fairfax County Government; by way of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department; by way of our Progressive Firefighters of Fairfax County, which is a black firefighter organization in our Department; and all these other companies that help.  I feel I’m being used as a vessel to be able to reach as many kids and as many families as is possible because I feel I owe.  It makes me feel good, but at the same time I feel I owe this to the world.  So in whatever way I can help or do it, I’m going to do it.

Destiny – Pride:  What about your higher education? How did you matriculate to where you are?  Are there any certificates or degrees that you want to tell us about?

Captain Bailey:  Well I went to TC Williams High School.  I wasn’t the best kid at times.  You know, keep it real.  I wasn’t the best kid at times [laughter].  That’s another thing.  If you look back at your life – and I always say this, and you have to take advantage of it – there are folks that probably did things in your life that helped you; that kept you out of trouble; or when you did get in trouble, they did things to make sure that the punishment wasn’t as much as it could have been, and you need to take advantage of that.  I look back at that, and I can find a whole lot of people who were there for me.  John Porter.  He was my principal in middle school and my assistant principal for many years at TC Williams.  He went on to become the principal at TC for, I think, close to 20 years.  Then he became the Assistant Superintendent, and he was a big influence in my life because, to this day, if I see him somewhere, he tells folks that a lot of his gray hairs is because of me [laughter].  But he was a big influence in my life because he cared.  As a black kid growing up in the projects, you could sense that this guy cared.  To this day, we’re friends.  He a CEO of a nonprofit organization [ACT for Alexandria] and he reaches out to me and I reach out to him.  You probably saw him; he was here that day at the coat drive.

A gentleman by the name of Chris Thompson.  He’s a Captain here at the Fire Department.  He took me under his wings when I was young; coached my basketball team; taught me how to drive.  So I had an older person that I could hang out with that wasn’t in trouble and wasn’t doing bad things – that kept me out of trouble. 

Destiny – Pride:  What happened after you left TC Williams?

Captain Bailey:  After I left TC Williams, I went to Virginia University, but I stayed there maybe not even a whole year because I ended up going into the military.  I went into the military – in the Army – and I did 21 years total.  So I retired from the US Army.  I did 6 to 7 years active, and the rest as a Reservist, at the same time being a firefighter.

Captain Bailey instructs the volunteers on getting backpacks ready to be distributed to schools and shelters

Destiny – Pride:  Did you do any combat during your tenure?

Captain Bailey:  Yes, yes, I did some of my time in war zones and things like that.  There’s a lot of stuff I just don’t talk about.  I went in in ’86 and retired in 2007.

Destiny – Pride:  Just freshly out.

Captain Bailey:  Right.  Exactly.

Destiny – Pride:  What happened when you came out and changed to being a Reservist?

Captain Bailey:   I got hired by the Fire Department – Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department – while I was in active duty in the Army.  I was stationed in California – Fort Ord 7th ID [Infantry Division], Light Infantry.  I was stationed there, and I was flying back and forth, applying for the job.  Small world, the gentleman I mentioned, Chris Thompson – the guy who took me under his wings when I was young – was a firefighter in Fairfax.  When I came home to visit, he talked me into getting out of the military and coming into the Fire Department. 

Destiny – Pride:  You touched a little on this earlier, but what and who in your upbringing have made the biggest impact in making you person you are today?

Captain Bailey:  Where I grew up, you were lucky to have two parents in a household, so I can say having both parents around, with as much acting up as I did or my brothers and sisters did.  We had two parents there, trying to do the best that they could.  I could probably count, on one hand, the households that had two parents – a mother and a father – in the neighborhood where we grew up.  So I’d have to say my mom and dad first of all just because of all the things they’ve done.  I owe them everything, really. In the summertime, if I have to take a vacation and take them out of town, that’s what I do, because I really believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them.  I didn’t have everything growing up.  They tried to give us what we needed.  We never got what we wanted, but they tried their best to give us what we needed.  When I got custody of my kids, they were there for me, helping me to raise my family when I was working on a 24-hour shift.  So they played a big part in my growing up.

I’ve already mentioned John Porter and Chris Thompson.

Destiny – Pride:  I know it’s an oversight because you mentioned her earlier – your grandmother.

Captain Bailey:  Oh, yeah.  My grandmother, [Martha] she played a big role in my life.  She died at a young age.  To this day I wish she were still around because I would spoil her.  I would take care of her because I know all of the stuff she did for me.  I guess she thought I was hers.  She raised eight or nine kids and then I was the one grandchild that lived with her for a while.  I just remember her.  Before we moved into a trailer, we had a house with an outhouse.  No running water. We pretty much lived off of the land a lot of times.  But as I look back, she was always giving me candy.  If I wanted a dessert, whatever I wanted, she tried her best to make sure that I had it.  Just little things like that I look back now and say that I was doing pretty good.

Destiny – Pride:  At what age did she die?

Captain Bailey:  She was probably 57, 58.

Destiny – Pride:  I meant what was your age when she died?

Captain Bailey:  I was probably around 24 or 25.

Destiny – Pride:  How did that impact you?

Captain Bailey:  That was the first time I’d ever had somebody that close to me pass away, so I was pretty sad.  When she died I just wished that she was around so I could pay back what she did for me in helping to raise me.

Destiny – Pride:  You are a fireman, and that is one of the careers a lot of male youths long to be.  Is that how it was with you?  Explain to our visitors why you chose to become a fireman.

Captain Bailey:  First of all, growing up where I grew up and growing up where a lot of folks like me grew up, you don’t really think about that in the beginning because at a young age, you compared firefighters to the police – you don’t want to be bothered with them; you don’t want them coming around.  If they’re coming around, something’s wrong [laughter].  You know what I mean?  We didn’t have firefighters coming around doing what we now call “community outreach,” like we do – visiting rec centers, visiting schools.  Back then I didn’t see that.  I had never heard of going to a fire station and being shown the equipment.  That’s what we do now, that’s part of my job now with the Fire Department; community outreach – helping the stations get out to the communities and showing kids the equipment.  As a black man, we never saw that.

Captain Bailey looks on as volunteers pack backpacks filled with school supplies to be given to children in need

When I was in the service, when I used to come home to visit my family and my friends, one of my friends – Chris Thompson – told me he was a firefighter and his brother was a firefighter.  He said, “Hey, this is a good job.  You might want to try it.”  But I enjoyed the military.  I enjoyed the strictness.  I enjoyed the camaraderie, and he explained to me that the Fire Department was just like that.  The Fire Department is paramilitary, so I said, “Okay, I’ll check it out, but where we grew up, we . . .”  He said, “Will, it’s not like that anymore. You can be a firefighter.  As a black male, you can become a firefighter [laughter].”  I applied and I ended up getting hired, and it was the best thing.  I owe that to Chris Thompson and his brother, Clay Thompson and Kendall Thompson.  All three of them went into the Fire Department at the same time.  

Destiny – Pride:  Take us through one of your more “exciting” days on the job.

Captain Bailey:  I am now the Public Affairs/Community Outreach Officer for the Department.  So it’s not like I’m out riding in a fire truck.  I’m working in an office.  I’m out in the community, dealing with the media.  When there’s some serious event going on –serious fire or something like that – I have to deal with the media.  But I love doing my job.  I love getting out making the Department and the County look good. 

Doing community outreach, a lot of folks think that’s our job – community outreach, getting out doing the toy drives, the coat drives, the backpack drives, the food drives.  It’s not our job.  If we didn’t do it, we would still get paid the same salary and everything.  Our vision statement is “Dedicated to being a community focused fire and rescue department, ensuring a safe and secure environment for all.”  So when we’re not running 911 emergencies, we’re trying to find other ways to get out to the community.  On top of doing my job, we can also do community outreach and do things to help the needy and help those families that can’t help themselves.  These kids that are born into the world with nothing.  It’s not their fault, and to have a job that will let you – and on top of that, help you – to be able to do these things, it’s a blessing.  So every day, to me, is a good day because I’m allowed, the Fire Department is allowed and the Fairfax County Government is allowing us to get out into the community.

Destiny – Pride:  This is a follow-up question.  The brief time that I have had the opportunity to meet you and to interface with you, your persona exudes an enthusiasm that seems to come from your love of community outreach.  Is that a reflection of maybe what you saw or did not have as a child?  Where is all of that excitement coming from, because you just light up when you’re talking about it.

Captain Bailey:  It’s a little of everything that you just mentioned.  When we’re running 911 emergencies, we’re going into these homes where people who call the fire department for 911 emergencies are at their worse.  They can’t handle it; so they call us.  We go into these homes during the holidays and we see what these families don’t have.  We see it.  We don’t see a piece of holiday candy, a piece of Christmas candy, so we know a lot of these families are not going to have good holidays.  So for us to be able to help, to me it’s just a big deal.  There are a lot of jobs where you can’t do this kind of stuff.  Yes, when I was young, my parents couldn’t afford to get me the nice race car track, or the nice remote car.

Captain Bailey helps to get bikes ready to be given away during the annual toy drive

When we first used to get stuff, we went to places like your organization that had toys and would give to us.  We went to places like Destiny – Pride back then, which was a blessing to have places like that.  So for me to sit around and see and to have the means to go out and purchase all of this stuff and collect this stuff for these kids and these families, and knowing that they’re going to wake up on Christmas with a brand new bike or an older child is going to have a gift card from Old Navy to get him a pair of jeans, some shoes or an Ipod. Or a kid’s going to have a nice race track.  Really, to me, it just lights me up.  We don’t see the kids because we’re only dealing with the schools, the shelters and nonprofits like you; so we don’t see the kids, but I can just imagine.  When I wake up on Christmas, I give a sigh of relief because I know that we helped a lot of kids out, and a lot of families!

Destiny – Pride:  Your Station has for years been involved in community outreach programs.  Tell us about those programs, how it all started, and the impact they have had on the surrounding communities.  You have hit upon some of that, but if you would like to expand upon what you’ve already said, please do.

Captain Bailey:  You said the “Station.”  Right now we do all of our community outreach out of Fire Station 11 – Penn Daw – off of Richmond Highway.  We do it out of the Station, but we’re helping all of Fairfax County, parts of Alexandria, parts of Prince George’s County and parts of Washington, DC.  Pretty much, if we have it and you call us and you say there’s a need, we’re going to try our best to help you.  If you know someone that says, “Hey, we have a need.  We have some kids that probably won’t get anything for the holidays; they don’t have any coats for the wintertime,” it really doesn’t matter where you live.  The Fire Chief jokes with me all the time.  One day he said, “Will, I think we might be helping some families in Hawaii.  You think we can get them the stuff?” [Laughter]  We’re joking about it, but to work with someone that’s in charge of your organization that supports those kinds of things I think is a beautiful thing. 

So we do it out of one station, but it’s for all of Fairfax County.  And the reason we do it out of Fire Station 11 is because it’s near [Interstate] 95.  So if you’re coming from DC or Prince George’s County, it’s easy to get to.

Destiny – Pride:  How does the intensity of your outreach today compare to the needs of years past?  Are you finding there are more individuals in need now than in the past, less than in the past, or about the same?  Explain the difference.

Captain Bailey:  I guess when we first started over 14 or 15 years ago, we were only helping 50, 60 kids in the Gum Springs community along Richmond Highway.  It was only supposed to be a one-time event.  As time went on, the next year, they asked for help.  So we said, “Okay, we’ll do it one more time.”  Last year, I think we did enough toys – just toys alone – for over 3,000 kids.  A couple of weeks ago, we did enough coats for over 2,000; and prior to that, in August – right before school started – we did enough backpacks for over 2,000 kids. 

Everybody asks, because of the way the economy is now, is it harder?  It’s funny, because you wish that it wasn’t a need the way it is now because, yes, there is more of a need.  For the past two or three years there’s been more of a need.  One year we’re getting a thousand backpacks.  The next thing you know it’s twelve hundred, fifteen hundred; but at the same time, folks, companies, businesses have been stepping up with the donations to help us meet that need.  So, that’s the good thing.  We wish the need wasn’t as much, but because the need is even more, we’re able to meet that need – and that’s a good thing.

Destiny – Pride:  Tell us about one of your stakeholders that I had an opportunity to be in their presence:  Operation Warm.  I know that it is one of your major stakeholders.

Captain Bailey:  Yeah, when we do our coat drive, we get our coats from a company called Operation Warm, out of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  They’re one of the biggest nonprofit coat distributors in the country.  As a matter of fact, this year, they’re going to give out their millionth coat.  I met them when I was dealing with a company called Coats for Kids Foundation, locally, which got their coats from Operation Warm, but I didn’t deal with Operation Warm at all.  Coats for Kids gave up what they were doing and put me directly in touch with Operation Warm. 

Captain Bailey thanks the schools and nonprofits for coming out to pick up backpacks and school supplies for the children

What Operation Warm has going on is that it is a tremendous nonprofit organization.  They reach over 30 states.  They don’t just give away their coats; their coats average about $15, $16.  But for the coats that you saw and the coats that you get, you can’t purchase them anywhere for that price.  These coats cost $30, $40, $50 anywhere else.  They ship them to you, so I went out and got a lot of donations – I got people to donate – so that we can purchase these coats.  A lot of folks that I go to for donations come from businesses and different individuals.  They know that they’re going to see me three times a year, at least [laughter].  So when they see me, if they haven’t seen me for a while, they know it’s that time of year.

Operation Warm is a blessing.  We don’t have enough time to talk about how they started.  One CEO of a company saw these kids at a bus stop back in the mid-90’s and saw they didn’t have any coats.  The next morning, he went out and bought coats.  Showed up at the bus stop.  Clothed these kids.  The next thing you know he was retired, starting Operation Warm, and this year they’re giving out their millionth coat.

Destiny – Pride:  Yes, I did visit their website.  they are very impressive. 

Captain Bailey:  Right.  They are just a great company.  Without them, we would hardly be able to reach our goal that we did this year.  We ordered 2,000 in the beginning, and then some more schools and nonprofits contacted us and said, “Hey, we need more coats.”  Four or five years ago, I would have said, “I can’t get you any more.”  I called up Operation Warm and said, “We need some more coats.”  A couple of days later, there were 500 more coats showing up.  But I believe they believe in what we’re doing here in Fairfax County and helping throughout the Metropolitan are.  They believe in what we’re doing; they showed up the day we did our drive; they saw what we were doing; they met folks like you and different people who went up to them and said, “Thanks.”  I think that means a lot.

Destiny – Pride:  As you look back over your life in retrospect, what would you say was your major accomplishment?

Captain Bailey:  I think I have a few major accomplishments, but my first major accomplishment is raising my kids.  Putting them through school; making sure that they’re decent human beings.  I’ve always said when my time comes to leave this earth, as long as I’m leaving my kids on this earth as decent human beings and wanting to carry on some of the things I enjoyed doing when it comes to helping the less fortunate, then I feel that I’m ready to go, because I’ve done something that I feel was great.

Destiny – Pride:  And what was your major disappointment?

Captain Bailey:  It’s hard because I tell people all the time that sometimes I’m too straightforward about things.  Whenever I leave this world knowing that there are communities out there where kids and families don’t have what they need – the necessities – at least a coat to go to school.  You know, if they don’t have a coat to keep them warm, they might not even go to school because they’re not going to go to the bus stop and sit out in the cold.  Food on the table.  During the holiday, every kid should have a toy – something that resembles a holiday.  Every kid should be able to go to school and have the necessities to start out school; have some self-esteem; be able to start out just like everybody else.  I take it personally, knowing that when I read and still hear about this stuff and I’m trying to do the best that I can, Fairfax County is trying to do the best it can, Fairfax County Fire Department is trying to do the best it can; these companies that I deal we deal with, they’re helping us to try to do our best:  Promax RealtorsDeloitte Consulting.  Organizations within the Fire Department:  Progressive Firefighters of Fairfax County; our Union, Local 2068.  All of these organizations come together to try to do their best.  You’re doing your best, but it still seems like you’re not doing enough.

Captain Bailey with his daughter (Ms. Melondey Giron) at her college graduation from North Carolina State

Destiny – Pride:  You kind of stated it, but what do you feel like when you look at what children and families have today and what you did not have and what you became with the infrastructure of your parents, your grandmother and all of the other individuals that have impacted you.  As you said, you lived in “the woods” and you saw the contrast when you came up to visit your parents.  Now, when you look at all of the people who now do have outreaches and they do have toys and they do have backpacks and yet the families and the individuals are not taking advantage of what you could not even begin to envision.

Captain Bailey:  One of the things is – and you don’t hear that that much anymore, but we all know that once you hear that phrase, you will know what I mean – it takes a village to raise a child.  You don’t see that anymore.  It doesn’t matter that you were living in the projects.  Even though we lived in some rough neighborhoods in the projects, still if you were doing something, you had other neighbors who would keep an eye on you, looking after you.  These days, I just don’t think you have that anymore.  When kids are doing something wrong, people will close their doors.  They won’t pay attention to it or they won’t tell their parents, “Hey, I saw such and such in 7-Eleven stealing something.”  No, they won’t even go and tell their parents about it.  It’s just different, and it’s hard to explain, really.  It’s just different. 

I grew up with hardly anything, but I guess I had love and when you don’t have anything, when you start out with nothing, every little thing you get is something.  So you feel like you have a lot.  When I grew up, I didn’t have anybody to compare myself to, so I felt I was doing okay.  

Destiny – Pride:  Until you went up north.

Captain Bailey:  Until I went up north [laughter].  Really!  So I felt I was doing okay.

Destiny – Pride:  I see on your badge, and I’m acutely aware when I see a black tape on it, and I saw on TV the reason it’s there.  Do you want to explain to individuals what occurred?

Captain Bailey:  A couple of weeks ago, a firefighter, Horace Pendergrass – who was a good friend of mine; I worked with him for over half of my career – passed away in his sleep at the Fire Station.  It was a shock to everyone – a “line of duty” death – as we’ve never had that happen before.  I’ve never heard of it happening in the Metropolitan area before – that a firefighter didn’t wake up in the morning.  That really hurt a lot of people.  We don’t want anyone to die, but we have firefighters who retire, and after a while we get an email that they have passed away.  We go to the funeral and do things like that, but this is the first time we’ve ever had something like that happen that was this close to us.  And as you saw when you came to the toy drive, we had pictures of him up, helping out, because he was always at our different events helping us out with our doing community outreach.  When we first started doing community outreach down on Richmond Highway in Fairfax, Teddy – his nickname was Teddy – was always there helping out.  That’s why we thought it was appropriate to put a lot of pictures up of him doing community outreach with us.  But, yeah, he was a good person, a good firefighter and a good friend.

Destiny – Pride:  What do you do for enjoyment?

Captain Bailey:  People ask me that all the time [laughter].  To be truthful, enjoyment, to me, is when I’m doing community outreach.

Destiny – Pride:  Yeah, sure you’re right [laughter].  I do community outreach, too, and I get a lot of excitement from it, but what else do you do that brings you enjoyment?

Captain Bailey:  I guess I enjoy family.  A week after Christmas, I’m going to be picking up my grandson, to keep him for a week.  That’s probably going to be my “other” highlight of the year.  If I get to do something with my parents, like take them out of town.  My parents, they never really traveled.  They couldn’t really afford it, so I take them out of town and do little things with them.  This summer I’ll probably take them to the beach for a couple of days.  Taking them places and doing things with them is enjoyment.  A lot of people probably look at me and say that I’m crazy, but it’s funny.  I’ve spent all these years raising my kids, doing the community outreach, coaching sports – I don’t know anything else.  I said after I retire, maybe I’ll start having fun.  We’ll see, but at the same time I’ve said that when I retire, I want to get more involved with community outreach and nonprofits.

Destiny – Pride:  Well I tell you that there will be – speaking as a recently retired person – a period of time where you will do some “decompressing” from the process.  Personally, I’ve gone to Africa a couple of times – South Africa – for two to three weeks at a span, and I started a nonprofit organization [Destiny – Pride, Inc.].  But then, you’re going to get back into it.

Captain Bailey:  I definitely will want to touch base on my nonprofit, too.

Destiny – Pride:  Do you have any last thoughts or insights that you would like to leave with our visitors?

Captain Bailey’s son (Mr. Willie Bailey, Jr.) with his sister at her college graduation

Captain Bailey:  I didn’t speak much on a nonprofit I started, called Firefighter and Friends to the Rescue, and the reason I didn’t speak much on it is because everything I do, first I give the credit to God, who has given me the ability to be able to do these kinds of things, but I also give it to Fairfax County and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department because without them allowing me, giving me the time and giving us the facilities and the means to get it done, it wouldn’t get done.  So even though I have a nonprofit, I don’t take credit for it.  The nonprofit is for these businesses and these companies that want to give and they want to be able to use it as a tax write-off – you know that nonprofits are tax exempt – so they can write it off on their taxes.  But I don’t push it; I don’t tell people a lot about it.  It’s there.  I have a Board; I have firefighters that’s on my Board; school educators that’s on my board; but I give all of the credit to them.

Destiny – Pride:  Do you have a website?

Captain Bailey:  No, I don’t, but, once you turn the tape player off, that’s what we’re going to talk about – because you’re going to help me with this website [laughter].

Destiny – Pride:  We can also let our visitors know that at the end of this Spotlight, if you want to get a hold of Captain Bailey, at the end, there is an icon you can click on where they can leave information.  If they do, we will forward that information to you.

One last thing.  You have a quote that you use a lot.  Please tell us about that.

Captain Bailey:  Well, I say it, and I really mean it from my heart.  I know it upsets folks sometimes when I say it, but if you feel guilty about it, you probably need to step up.  That quote is “If you’re not doing something about the problem, then you’re part of the problem.”  You can sit back and complain about the problem all day, but if you can do something about it, why don’t you step up?  So, I like it and I think I got I got it from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I do really believe that.

Destiny  Pride Honors Firefighter Horace Pendergrass

Destiny – Pride:  Captain Bailey, Destiny – Pride appreciates your taking the time to share yourself with our visitors.  The Fairfax County Government, the Fairfax County Fire Department, the Local 2068 folks at Penn Daw Fire and Rescue Station; the Progressive Firefighters of Fairfax County and all the businesses, companies, nonprofits and individuals have all contributed so much to the surrounding communities, both in the area of rescuing and saving lives, and in the numerous outreach efforts you all have spearheaded.  I’m sure the residents you service are grateful for all of the tremendous work you are doing, and we are honored to have gotten to learn more about you.  We also extend our heartfelt prayers and thoughts to the family and friends of Firefighter Horace Pendergrass and celebrate with you his life’s work and thank him for all of the good he has done for the communities as well.  Again, many thanks.

Captain Bailey:  I appreciate it.

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