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!

Friday, December 21, 2012


 Down on the beach.
House in the middle of the swamp.
Holly Beach before and after.

In December of 2005 I went on a Incident Management Team assignment to Hurricane Rita Recovery and was assigned to Cameron Parish, Louisiana.  The damage and destruction that we saw was almost overwhelming.  Our Incident Command Post was at the Cameron Court House because that was the only building in the Parish that did not have extreme damage.

We were near a school that had the walls knocked out but the roof and supports were still standing.  We recovered the wrestling mat in tact over 50 miles away.  This was the hardest assignment I ever participated in.  When I think back about it I still get choked up and teary eyed.  This entire Parish (County in the west) had a total population of less than 10,000.  The destruction from Rita was unbelievable.  Politically this poor Parish suffered greatly.  They did not have a lot of pull as they were competing for assistance with places like New Orleans that had lots of people affected.  The locals called it the "FORGOTTEN PARISH."

We were assigned there almost three weeks and returned home on the 24th of December.  Our team took up a collection of money to buy some gifts for the displaced kids for Christmas.  We did pretty well and collected about $5,000 which some of the team went North to an unaffected town and purchased as many gifts as this would buy.  They were delivered to a school that had less damage than the rest of the area with Santa on a fire truck.  It was awful to see the kids faces when the truck missed the road and had to continue quite a ways to find a turn around and come back.  It was great to see their faces when the truck returned.  It brought a lot of satisfaction to us to see how happy the kids were to be getting something for Christmas even though it was not a lot.

I always go through a withdrawal when I return from an assignment but never like this one.  I sat on the couch in our lovely house, looking at our tree surrounded by lots of gifts, with our kids and grand-kids gathered for this great celebration and cried.  I have never had an assignment take as much from me as this one did.  To this day I refuse to participate in team assignments to hurricanes because I cannot face seeing the suffering of so many at one time.

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