It happened on a Monday afternoon three hours before the crew was going off the clock.
Throughout the season, as I mentioned in earlier blog entries, I observed countless examples of our core firefighter principles of Duty, Respect, and Integrity, and I learned many lessons that will help push me forward in my life.
We continue with everyday business. Then we learn that we have a resource order to begin project work in Big Bend National Park, way down south in Texas. I was excited and nervous again. My first roll with the shots!
Just 19 years old, graduated from high school, pretty clueless about fire, and I’m walking into Superintendent Paul Cerda’s office, having recently been allowed to join the Alpine Hotshots, one of the most respected fire crews in the country.
Recently I was asked "If this was your last day, and you were never going to return to the hotshots or fire, what would you tell your kids were your greatest experiences and lessons?"
My eyes were burning to the point where I could barely open them, my lungs were on fire, and I just wanted to get out of there. Then Lucas, a fellow crewmember, came over and began a conversation with me. We laughed and talked strategy on minimizing the amount of smoke exposure so that our eyes wouldn't burn so bad. Talking periodically while holding made everything go by much faster. But more importantly, it made me realize that what I was doing was bigger than me, as an individual.