For as long as he can remember, firefighter Rick Weschler has enjoyed drawing. So two years ago when his young son, Logan, asked him to "make stuff up" for bedtime reading, "I basically started scribbling," Weschler said.
Weschler finished his first book six months later. He called it Logan the Ladder Truck, and it teaches children about fire safety. He produced the 30-page book, for which he provided all written copy and illustrations, on his family's home computer.
"I really just wanted to do something for my son for Christmas," said Weschler, a Largo resident who has worked for Palm Harbor Fire Rescue since 2004.
Logan, now 5, was impressed. So was Weschler's wife, Tara, his parents, in-laws and friends. After prodding from them all, he self-published 100 copies last August.
Weschler said only about 75 have been sold, either through word of mouth or via the Internet (www.logan theladdertruck.com). He has donated another 200 to local hospitals, libraries and schools.
"It really is very good," said Palm Harbor Fire Rescue deputy chief Craig Maciuba, Weschler's supervisor. "He did a great job. His messages are applicable to that age group and accurately get across how we want them to react."
Weschler, 41, who has helped design T-shirts for the department's charity golf tournament along with station decals, isn't done. In fact, "I'm already doing another book," he said.
Keith Niebuhr can be reached at 445-4156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.