Between 1989 & 1996 I spent time on various engines & hand crews, then took a 4 year break to go control air strikes for the USAF as a Forward Air Controller.
In 2000 I returned from the Military, found out my old engine captain Jack Sevelson was runnin' the Hotshots on the Plumas- So I called him & asked for a job. Wasn't too long before I picked up a saw & became half the 2nd saw team with Jermey Kroaker.
So then what's with the wheelchair?
In late October '01 we went to Kentucky to help with an expected rash of Haloween arson fires.. I guess that's the thing to do there when your bored... Get some beer, some bottle-rockets, and go torch the woods. We got there before there was even a firecamp... Nothing was burning... BUt the next day we had 30 some fires.
On our 2nd fire we were almost done... Brett & Andy (1st saw team) had gone off to (ironicly) take care of a hazard tree somewhere... Jermey & I took lead & we were cleaning out the edge of the fire so the crew could hand feel it. A bomber had hit so nothing was burning, but we had to check anyway..... I remember reaching with the saw to cut a little leaner who was hanging over the burn edge, and I awoke 2 weeks later in the neuro ICU at the University of Kentucky.
Came to find out later 67 feet into the burn a black locust snag had been smouldering at the base- It finally burned through & fell. The crew saw it coming.. I had a live saw, earplugs in & my back was to it. It hit me right over the top of the head. 30 some broken bones later I'm in a wheelchair for life. It smashed the thorasic 4 & 5 vertebre & damaged my spinal cord- So I'll never walk again.
But I still have my mind & hands- And ideas for things to make life easier on the line.
So the "silver lining" is I now have the time to work on those ideas.. Sometimes.
The bitch of it is I cannot make anything from my inventions.. here's why:
I get $1,845 a month disibility pay from the Office of Workman's Compensation (OWCP). If I work at all in any given month and make (say) $500, OWCP will take $500 from my disibility pay. So effectively any work I do is free. How do I get around that? All mony from any inventions I sell goes directly to my Parents- I see none of it. I'll get it eventually... But I can't have it now coz if I do OWCP will take it.
Yes I'm a bit (Just a bit) bitter about that... If it sounds like Crap to you please feel free to write your Senator.
Oh- And don't forget- If you're a Federal firefighter & you get permanently injured you'll fall into the same "any work you do is free" trap. So beware.
So anyway- that's me.
Now please don't buy something because you feel bad or some crap- Buy it because it's useful to you.