Captain Michael David
IAFF Local 1271 ~ Surrey Fire Rescue
Designs IAFF-MG Colors
Mike David wanted to be a firefighter from the age of 6. He joined the volunteers on his 19th birthday and was hired full time in the Surrey Fire Rescue 6 years later in 1983. From a very early age, Mike always had a pencil in his hand drawing. Family and friends were always asking him to draw or design cartoons, designs, posters, t-shirts and logos. Mike’s father is a shipwright and carpenter and Mike spent countless hours in his wood shop since age 6.
He has since built his own shop and spends any spare time away from riding he can working in it.
Mike has designed and built 14 model training towns for fire departments all over B.C. They are 6’ by 6’ table top models of towns with residential, commercial and industrial areas. They come with a fleet of hand made, wooden fire rescue vehicles and departments use them for training, critiquing, strategies and tactics. Mike also took up soapstone carving at a young age and has sculpted hundreds of carvings for fire department’s retiree’s, awards, promotions and gifts.
When computers came along in the mid 80’s Mike was one of the first in his department to own one. Since then he’s become an expert on Photoshop and has designed dozens of logos, t-shirts, patches, apparatus door decals and other designs. In fact, the computer is all he uses for designing now, rarely drawing freehand.
Mike has owned motorcycles since he was 16 years old. Starting with his first Honda 125, a BSA 250, Bonny 650, Harley XR750 flat tracker, Honda 550 and now `Goldie``, his 2004 Harley Road King. The same year he bought his new Harley, he was surfing the net and noticed that there were a lot of firefighters that owned bikes. There were a few talk groups on the subject and a lot of firefighter motorcycle clubs, but not one paticular site that was dedicated to firefighters that rode motorcycles. Mike decided to build his own website for firefighters that rode, not just in North America but all over the world. Madmyk.com was born through the help of Leanna at Free Spirit Media and Mike’s love of computer aided design. The website features information on the IAFF MG, Fire theme bikes, Harley firefighter special editions, Working fire bikes, Firefighter rides, Firefighter motorcycle groups, fire department related chrome parts and accessories, Fire related bike paint jobs, 911 dedication bikes and many other subjects related to the love firefighters have for riding. The site has been a huge success with firefighters of the IAFF and others around the world. Madmyk.com is linked on hundreds of fire/biker sites on the net.
In 2005 when Mike heard about the IAFF starting a motorcycle group, he wondered about what they would use for their colors. He decided to lay out a few designs and send them in. Mostly to give the organizers some ideas about what details could be used on the new colors. He sent the designs to District Vice-President and IAFFMG Committee Chairman Ricky Walsh. Chairman Walsh showed them to the General President Schaitberger for his review and approval. To Mike’s surprise, they picked one of the designs to use as the official logo and colors for the new IAFF-MG.
Mike talks about how the new IAFF-MG Colors came about.
When I first sat down to draw the design he thought, what would represent firefighter’s that rode motorcycles the best? I started with the union logo in the center. That was a no-brainer. It’s a highly recognisable logo with the public. It is the most important part of the logo and rests in the center for that reason.
The next thing I thought of was how the firefighters in my department, Surrey, go above and beyond the line of duty when serving the people in the city of Surrey.
I have seen these men and women treat people with heartfelt care and compassion. Yes we all fight fires but many departments provide emergency medical assistance as well. It was memories of these actions my firefighters have performed that impressed me. Things that are not in the job description, things that no one would want to do. I thought if my guys do this, all the firefighters in the IAFF surely do the same. As humbling it may be for firefighters, the first thing you may notice on the IAFF MG Colors, are the wings. Without going into depth, these are not eagle wings. They are simply angelic. I also thought about the firefighters we have all lost in the line of duty and the angelic wings remind us all of those who gave their lives. The flame tips were added for color and to also represent our nemesis - fire.
Because of the two countries in the IAFF I had to represent both of them. I did this with flags. I tried actual flags but they seemed to take away from the design a little. I thought of the axes when I saw one of my guys repairing one. I had to do a little modifying with the American flag because I could not fit all stars and stripes into that little space.
There were many prototypes after Ricky Walsh first told me the design was accepted. Ricky had input into the design as well as President Schaitberger! They added “established 2005” , the black background for the rockers top and bottom and were a big help. After the design was presented to the union there was a lot of talk about the 1% factor and how they are very sticky on designs of other club’s colors. This wasn’t new to us; Ricky and the President, the committee and I had many discussions and design changes due to this factor. It was initially going to be a ‘Club’ but it was changed to ‘Group’ to distance it from any ‘outlaw clubs’.
The rocker discussion was a long one too. Avoiding territorial rockers like ``New York`` or ``British Columbia``. It was decided that our district numbers would also distance us from other clubs. Yes, not every member of the IAFF knows what states or provinces are in what district. The thought there was, if a firefighter wearing the colors saw another member wearing them, they would approach each other regardless of where they were from! They could find out those details after. The FIREFIGHTER on the top rocker stands out and people usually see that first. This was also another easy decision.
If there was anything I could change on the logo, I’d make the rockers a little bit larger so they can be read from behind easier. I’ve noticed that riding behind other riders with the colors, they can’t be read from too far away.
The colors where unveiled in Las Vegas at the inaugural ride by General President Schaitberger in March of 2005. It was an honor to be there for the unveiling with fellow riders from my department Capt. Tom Rupert and Capt. Ron Henze and hundreds from locals all over the US and Canada.
It was a proud moment for Mike then and still is now, every time he meets a brother or sister wearing the colors, they thank him for doing a great job on the colors.
Mike has indicated that he had a lot of support from IAFF local 1271 Surrey and 6th District VP Lorne West and he thanks them for that. Forming the IAFF-MG was a great idea for the IAFF and our members and their familes that enjoy riding motorcycles. He notes that their camaraderie, their knowledge, their charity and their compassion for the love of the fire service and biking make the IAFF-MG a special group.