Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oregon Firefighters

In the summer of 1996 I was about to repeat my Senior year in high school.  Let me tell you, staying back as a Senior doesn't suck as bad as one would think.  I pretty much came and went as I pleased and acted as a lawyer for all of my underclass friends with the vice principal.  He wasn't sure what to think when I started referencing the constitution.

But I digress.

That summer I didn't have a job, nor did I want one.  That was the way I rolled back then.  Work a bit, chill a bit.  Repeat.

The previous summer was a dry one in the North Maine woods and I made a little money fighting forest fires along with my brother and a few friends.  It was good money for the time and location.  I think I was getting $9.00 an hour and working 12-16 hour days.  Mind you, minimum wage was around $4.75 at the time.

Although we were boys, we worked like men and liked the job of slinging hoses through tree mazes and digging up "smokes" as we called them; fires underground.  We would smoke a pack a day and eat like men going to the electric chair.  If I did that now, I'd be in rough shape.

So, back to the summer of 1996.  GT approached me about fighting forest fires nationally.  We went and took the course, passed our step tests and put our names on the list.  Within a month, we were in Oregon, sleeping under tarps and trading apple juice and granola bars like they were smokes in prison.  It was a good experience for me.

I saw this video on the Filson website and thought you all might enjoy it.  These men are hard workers.  They work so hard, you don't even need to add additional adjectives to enhance the last sentence.  Enjoy.


Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel......out.

1 comment:

  1. The spring I did that, the pay was $1.35 an hour. (Or was it $2.35?) Whichever, it was the minumum wage at the time. I wasn't real bright back then.