Episode for January 24, 2022

Ret. FDNY Rob Serra and Buddhist Priest, Actor and Writer Episode 526

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Robert “Rob” Serra’s first day as a New York City firefighter was Sept. 11, 2001. Having completed the FDNY training on Sept. 10, the 2001 Hobart graduate expected to have the day off.

On his way to try out for a FDNY hockey team, Serra crossed the Verrazano Bridge and saw the World Trade Center’s twin towers on fire. He immediately grabbed his gear and made his way downtown – where he checked in with the first “white helmet” he saw, an identifier of FDNY Fire Chiefs.

Despite having no experience, Serra says, “it never crossed my mind not to go.” The day changed his life forever.

“Pretty much as soon as I got down there, I started to bleed from my nose.”

Like thousands of first responders, emergency workers and civilians on Sept. 11, Serra suffers from illnesses as a result of exposure to toxic ash and debris on the day of the attacks and in the months following, when he worked at the Staten Island recovery site to search for the personal effects of victims. Having undergone surgery to remove nasal polyps, Serra now faces neurological damage– including neuropathy and fibromyalgia, which has led to intense bouts of shaking, nerve pain and trouble walking. Learn more about Rob Serra 

The Firefighters Podcast is the hottest podcast in America, literally. Host Rob Serra, FDNY (ret.) is a 9/11 First Responder, an advocate, a dad and an all around great guy. Recored in Staten Island the pod will inform and connect a hungry audience and create a home for the country’s 1.15 million firefighters — and their friends, families and fans. And they’ve got a lot of fans.

Host Rob Serra is authentic as it gets. Born and raised in Staten Island, New York, his first day on the job was September 11th. He’s been directly involved advocating for the health issues first responders have experienced as a result ever since.

The show will include interviews with firefighters and first responders, celebrities, and the always popular and delicious Firehouse cooking segment. Everybody loves firefighters. Now they have a podcast.

PETER COYOTE began his film career at 39, after living nearly a dozen years in the counter-culture during the 1960s and 70s. Since then, he has performed as an actor for some of the world’s most distinguished filmmakers, including: Barry Levinson, Roman Polanski, Pedro Almodovar, Steven Spielberg, Walter Hill, Martin Ritt, Steven Soderberg, Diane Kurys, Sidney Pollack and Jean Paul Rappeneau. To date he has made over 150 films.

In 2006 he had a major role in three televison series: The Inside on Fox-TV, the 4400 on USA Channel and played the Vice-President to Geena Davis’s President on Commander in Chief for ABC-TV until the show’s end. In 2011 he starred as the District Attorney in the new version of Law and Order – LA. In 2000 year he was the on-camera announcer of the Academy Awards Ceremony, taking the heavy-lifting off co-host Billy Crystal’s shoulders for the detailed announcements and data which played live to an estimated one billion listeners. In 2007 he was prominently featured as an old boxing promoter in Rod Lurie’s “Resurrecting the Champ” with Samuel. L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett, and also as Sally Field’s disreputable writing teacher on the television series, “Brothers and Sisters.” He recently completed a six hour series called The Disappearance which aired last year. Most recently, he played Robert Mueller to Jeff Daniel’s Jim Comey, and Brendan Gleeson’s Donald Trump. The series is called The Comey Rule and will be released this year on SHOWTIME.

Mr. Coyote has written a memoir of his counter-culture years called Sleeping Where I Fall which received universally excellent reviews, appeared on three best-seller lists and sold five printings in hardback after being released by Counterpoint Press in 1999, it was re-released in November of 2010 and has been in continuous release ever since. It is currently in use as a source text for Sixties Studies in a number of universities including Harvard where he was invited to teach “The Theater of Protest” last year.
An early chapter from that book, “Carla’s Story, won the 1993/94 Pushcart Prize for Excellence in non-fiction. His new book, The Rainman’s Third Cure, released in April, 2015 is a study of mentors and the search for wisdom and he is currently readying a new book for publication in 2021-(TITLE) The I Behind the Mask: The Lone Ranger and Tonto meet the Buddha.

Mr. Coyote is well-known for his narration work, and has voiced 150 documentaries and TV specials, including the nine-hour PBS Special, The West. In 1992 he won an EMMY as the “Host” for a nine-hour series, called, The Pacific Century which also won the prestigious duPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.

In 2010 he recorded the12 hour series on The National Parks for Ken Burns and has recently completed the voice-work on Mr. Burns most recent series—a 16 hour special on The History of Country Music. He won a second Emmy for his narration on The Roosevelts, and has also done Prohibition, The Dust Bowl, and an 18 Hour series on Vietnam with Ken Burns. Mr Coyote and Mr Burns just completed a long series on Ernest Hemingway.

In 2011 he was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest and in 2015 received “transmission” from his teacher, making him an independent Zen teacher. He makes his home on a farm in Northern California, and considers working on his 1952 Dodge Power-Wagon his longest lasting addiction. He has 40 fruit trees and loves to make jam and walk with his two dogs.


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