11 weeks down

This week marks the longest any of us have served on one project. It’s funny how slow each project dragged on for me, yet the project I’ll be at the longest has flown by.

A lot has happened in the past two and a half months here in Crown King that would be difficult to summarize in vast detail. Instead I’ll give you a quick run down of our time here.

We’re still in training, as the Fire Department has agreed to certify us in a number of different things. Last week, we finished up our wildland firefighter certification which means we’re now capable of being called out on a fire (fingers crossed for the Alaska fires!). We finished the classroom portion of S212- chainsaw certification, but the likelihood of us all getting trigger time is rather slim. Instead, I’ve been trained on a brush cutter, which isn’t nearly as efficient as a chainsaw but still a lot of fun to use. Each squad has been on a few calls, some of which we were able to dispatch. My first call was a helicopter transport and I got to help with the hose to ensure a safe landing and take off. My second was a vehicle rollover and I helped with traffic control. Without EMR certification, there isn’t much we can do yet, but we’ll hopefully be EMR certified by the end of the month. Squad Bravo was the first squad to get a call in the middle of the night, around 1 a.m in the morning. They were out until around 4:30, which sounds miserable yet I think most of the squads are looking forward to a middle of the night call. Other than all of that, we’re currently working on clearing 40 acres of defensible space by the end of June to help the CKFD maintain a grant they receive each summer. It’ll be a tight squeeze, but we’ll likely finish it in time.

As I said before, time has been moving fairly quickly. It’s helped a lot with morale to know that we’re getting closer to graduation so quickly. In a lot of ways, staying stationed in one area without the chance of going back for transition has had a profoundly negative impact on us all. Things seem much more monotonous then usual and the little things we look forward to about being back on campus seem even farther away.

We’ve been making every effort to eliminate the monotony and negativity that’s floating around. One of my team position roles is a peer helper, which is a position that focuses on the morale of the team. We decided to do a wishlist while we’re here and work to accomplish at least one wish per member on our team. This has resulted in a piñata filled with Jake’s famous “oopey doopey”, a condom, a pack of ramen, and some other miscellaneous items, as well as an attempt at a food eating contest between two members that unfortunately was never followed through with because we received a call. The town has also found a good way to keep us motivated while here. Food is often the way to NCCC team’s hearts, and the town found that out quickly and volunteered to make all of us dinner every Sunday. With all team dinners once a week, free Sunday meals, and free food that we receive from a worker at the food bank each week, there’s always something small to make the day a little better.

We do what we can with what little we have, and in a lot of ways I think we’re fortunate to have so many of us to help keep things interesting. There’s only so many days in a row that one can stand to pass brush in a line, but the small things help alleviate a little of the day-to-day dullness.

I’ve taken to finding things to look forward to each week and am fairly lucky to have a lot of good things coming up in the next few weeks. At the beginning of July, my grandma will be in Prescott Valley for two weeks, which is where my team goes grocery shopping each week. After she leaves, I’ll be flying to Encinitas to get my wisdom teeth removed and have a full week off with my family and Cooper. It’s been great having something so positive to look forward to and has been an unexpected reminder to appreciate what I have now before it’s over.

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