Pauline the Wise and Wonderful

Our Wedding Day, September 5th, will always be a day that signifies love, life, and loss: the day of Pauline’s birth and also the day she left her dear daughters, Danella and Jo, her sweet Siddy and Orlando, and so many, many friends.

Dear Pauline, when I think of you, I think of wisdom, artistry, and kindness. What a giver of love and life you were!

I will miss knowing you are not in Dunedin waiting for us to visit again, but I am thankful that I will wake every morning to your painting of daisies and when at work, the gorgeous painting of me on my bike.
Friends, please visit Alys Milner’s blog post about Pauline so that you may learn more about this remarkable woman.

* I am on my honeymoon and am not able to access much of my photos; I will add images of Pauline’s paintings when I return *

 

We Will Not Be Quiet

THE RIDE OF SILENCE WILL NOT BE QUIET

Tomorrow, May 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM, the 11th Annual Ride of Silence will begin in North America and will roll across the globe.

Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways.

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Here in the City of Radford, we’ll be hosting our 7th Annual Ride of Silence, an effort that was started when friend and fellow cycling advocate and enthusiast, Fess Green, was hit by a motorist and died from his injuries.  A Ghost Bike is placed at the site of the tragic accident each year a week or so before the ride.

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It’s a solemn, thought provoking event, and an incredibly powerful ride.

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In the next day or so, I’ll be posting a summary of this year’s ride.  Be sure to look for a Ride of Silence event in your area and check out this link to last year’s post for more information.

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38 Boots 19 Lives

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Almost 30 years ago, I was a firefighter.  Once a firefighter, always a firefighter, even if just in my heart and in my memories.  I loved everything (well, almost everything) about that job.

The adrenalin rush when the call came

The drive / hike / flight to the location

The sights, smells, and feel of fire

And then there’s the work.  Back breaking work.  Digging fire line; putting out hot spots; mopping up; feeling the ground for heat.

The soot, found later, on almost every part of the body and in almost every orifice.

The post fire meal of steak or burger, and beer.

 Whether a Groundpounder, a Smoke Jumper, or on a Helitack crew, fire fighters can’ t wait to get out there and battle the fire.

Thirty years ago, we didn’t see massive fires like we do now.  I never fought against such destruction and devastation.  I was aware of the danger, and practiced getting into my “shake and bake” fire tent during training.  But I truly didn’t worry when I went out on a fire.

Perhaps that is the benefit of being young.

I wear my firefighting boots when I ride.  I’ve shown my friends the drops of retardant still visible after all these years.  Those boots carried me up and down the mountains of northern Idaho then, and they protect me as I ride the bike now.

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After 30 years, I’ve had to have the boots repaired a few times and I always make sure that the cobbler knows not to remove the history

The signs of wear,

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the still visible fire retardant,

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and the miles I’ve worn them, whether on the ground or on the bike.

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I look at this picture from 1982, of myself with my buddies and dear friends, Kevin and Randy.  Look how YOUNG we were.   Randy, a 30 year smoke jumper who just retired last year knows and lived the danger.  Me? I thought of it as the best job ever, but I never really felt the danger.

I see us in this photo and realize that at 21 to 23 years of age, we were the same age of many of the young men who died on the Yarnell Hill Fire.

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We can argue the reasons for the tragedy:

triple-digit temperatures, erratic winds, and dry conditions that caused the fire to explode;

years of fire suppression that increased the fuel on the ground

the building of homes too close to that fuel

budget cuts

But what really matters is that 19 wildland firefighters are gone.

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The Granite Mountain Hotshots

Andrew Ashcroft – Age 29

Robert Caldwell – Age 23

Travis Carter – Age 31

Dustin Deford – Age 24

Christopher Mackenzie- Age: 30
Eric Marsh – Age: 43
Grant McKee- Age: 21

Sean Misner – Age: 26
Scott Norris – Age: 28
Wade Parker- Age: 22
John Percin- Age: 24
Anthony Rose – Age: 23
Jesse Steed – Age: 36
Joe Thurston – Age: 32
Travis Turbyfill- Age: 27
William Warneke – Age: 25
Clayton Whitted – Age: 28
Kevin Woyjeck – Age: 21
Garret Zuppiger – Age: 27

To Donate to help cover costs for funerals, and family / survivors, please see the website for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation

http://www.wffoundation.org/