Some say the world will end with fire.

Others say with ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those that favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate,

To say that for destruction ice,

Is also great and would suffice.

Robert Frost


"Good things come to those who wait, but, only the things LEFT by those who hustle." - Unknown (at least by me)

"Life is wonderful, without it you are dead." - Hy "Pete" Peterson - Park City and Kenecott Miner

"Don't worry about those people in your past---there is a reason they are not in your present." - Unknown

"Life's tough - it's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!" - Vince Lombardi

"If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much space.” ~ Attributed to Jim Whittaker by Doug ‘Swani’ Swantner, Alaska Smokejumper and Air Attack Base Manager (Ret.)

About Me

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I am married and have seven children and twenty grandchildren. I retired January 1, 2010 after working 39+ years for the Forest Service...NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE HAS BEGUN!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I have been debating for a couple of days whether to do this or not and finally decided that I need to write it down for me if not for anyone else. So this is about what happened on April 10, 1985. That's right 27 years and 2 days ago.

I was working on a Ranger District where I was responsible for timber, fire, recreation and lands. I had two full time employees to help me with these jobs. One, the fire management officer (FMO), was responsible for fire and recreation and the other for timber. I did most of the lands work myself. I was way into fire before I ever got to this job so I was tickled to be responsible for what happened there. This is a little about fire but mostly about something far different.

On this day the FMO and I were going to ride horseback into a lake in the back country and light a prescribed burn. For you that are just into the game, this was way before we had to have large numbers of folks on burns to monitor and put them out should they escape. Yes even the time when you were expected to be able to light a fire and know it was going to go out on it's own when it reached your control points.

He went to the warehouse to get the stock ready and I went to the office to touch all the bases that we were, in fact, going to light the burn. I got through with the phone calls and was waiting for the FMO to pick me up with the stock. I started getting antsy (can you imagine that?) so went up to see what was holding things up as we needed to be ready to light the fire before noon in order for it to have enough time before the sun went down to burn to the control point.

When I got there he was shoeing a horse that had got his foot through the fence in the night and pulled his shoe off from his left front foot. He was nearly through when I got there and deftly put in nails 5 and 6 (of the eight) required to hold the shoe on correctly. When he reached for nail 7 he groaned and let the horses foot down and sat down on the ground by the fence.

I asked him if he was alright and he said he had a pain in his chest but would be OK with a few minutes rest. As he sat there he became whiter and whiter and acted like he was hurting more. I stood there and talked to him to make sure he was OK. After a few minutes of this, or maybe seconds, he toppled over and stopped breathing. I immediately asked him if he was OK and there was no response, so I started CPR. I hadn't done it very long when he opened his eyes and told me he was OK so I started to go get a vehicle to take him to the hospital.

As I went out the gate he again stopped breathing so I went back and again started CPR. Again he started breathing, again I started for a vehicle, and again he went into heart arrest. This went on and on until finally I was able top get to the stock truck which was about 100 feet away and get it close enough to the corral to get him in the front seat. I had gone to the warehouse at about 9 am and I got him into the truck at close to 11 am because we arrived at the hospital about 3/4 mile away at 11 am.

I parked the stock truck in the Ambulance entry to the hospital and went in to get some help to get him into the Emergency Room. A Doctor and some others came out and helped get him on the gurney and headed for the ER. The Administrator of the Hospital came out and started yelling at me to get the stock truck out of the Ambulance lane. He had no knowledge that I had just off-loaded the FMO and had him headed to the Emergency Room.

I moved the truck into the visitor parking and went back into the hospital. They allowed me into the Emergency Room where the doctors thought they had him stabilized. The doctor was asking me questions while he worked on the FMO and I was answering as good as I could the medical questions. When the doctor finished asking the questions the FMO sat up and said "Doc can I go back up there and finish that horse. I only need to put 2 more nails in to have him done." We all laughed then when the Doctor told him there was no chance of that.

A couple of days later he was life flighted to the University of Utah Medical Center where he nearly died again. Through this ordeal the bottom third of his heart died from lack of oxygen due to plugged arteries and veins. It was an uphill battle for him to get better but he finally did. No one expected that he would ever be able to do the things he loved again like riding horses, farming and hunting. He does all of those things and more to this day.

Last year, at 75, he killed a giant six point bull elk at one of our favorite locations on the district that is over 10,000 feet in elevation. The doctors told him many times he would never see that spot again.

Every one that has ever supervised others knows that there is one employee that they have supervised that all others are evaluated against. This guy is mine.



Delirious said...

Wow, that is amazing! Doesn't it make you feel good to have made a difference like that?

Nene said...

Cool story! I guess the moral is never give up when giving CPR!

Dee Ice Hole said...

I didn't give CPR for the two hours but gave it in short spurts that I have no recollection of how many different times I did it. It makes me feel great every time I think about it or about him. He wrote a song about it and sang it at his retirement party to the tune of release me. There is one part where he sang "you saved my life when I had pain and made it so I could live again." That was the first time his family stopped blaming me for his heart attack.

~Kris said...

I think you should write all your cool work stories down.