With all that said, it would be remiss of me not to explain why I blog so rarely lately - Fire Fighter I training occupies 20 to 30 hours a week between classwork, hands-on and outside reading, depending on each week's schedule. For me, this is on top of an 80 hour work week, and any free time I have is generally spent with my poor long-suffering wife who puts up with me dashing out of bed at 3 in the morning when someone needs help - she is the hero in the family, not me.
I would also like to mention that many of the folks I admire most on the island are cops, fire fighters, or EMTs, and I am THRILLED with the folks who are training with me in Fire Fighter I - Dan, Darrel, Eric, Flor, Dimitri (who took the photos on this post), Cadet Barbar (the little brother I never had), and Tracy, it is indeed a privilege. While I am publicly giving kudos, let me mention volunteer Captain Gary Sandness, who sets the tone and inspires public service participation at Alyeska Seafoods; Company Vice President Sinclair Wilt, who allows me to respond to emergencies during business hours; Lieutenant Joe Robinson who sets a great example in all things and introduced me to the service; my run buddies FF/EMT Flor Luna, FF/EMT Kris-Ann Wilcox & Captain Salvador Alvarado whose ready smile, quiet leadership and easy going manner at 1 AM inspires us all to try harder. Thanks to Captain Deffendal who has been a volunteer for over 20 years, and has the best bed-side manner on the force. Thanks also to the paid staff - Captains Day and Gray who are leading the charge on getting us ready for the state exams, Captain Sheffield for always striving to raise the bar on the medical side, and Fire Chief Long who is one of the best instructors I've ever had in 30 years of classes at seven colleges and the US Army, and who has a vision for Unalaska Fire Rescue and still believes at the ripe old age of 40 in the inherent potential in all of us.
Much like the three years of island blogging before now, I don't imagine I'll mention much about all this after tonight, except maybe "big deals" like graduation from Fire Fighter I. I know my volunteer service will continue to be challenging, emotionally rewarding, and a source of pride in the years to come - for the island readers, give us a wave when you see us on the road, on a call, or training - we really try to be the best we can because we love the island and the people on it! Cheers, Steve