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After doing some code Red teaching written May 11th,2008

f you want to read the good stuff skip towards the bottom. At least I warned ya


Once again home from my travels. This time It was a 12 hour flight home. Which in most cases would have taken me almost to New Zealand or somewhere warmer or more interesting. On the return flight I was able to enjoy most of the remaining villages scattered throughout what is considered YK that I had not been too.


Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. Few words can describe this place cause well it really doesn't need that many. Not to be rude or degrading it is very flat and marshy for hundreds and hundreds of miles. The place that I resided for the week was called Nunam Iqua which in Yupik means the end of the Tundra. Which is justifiably true considering we are at the end of the Yukon River where it enters the Bearing Sea. This village of 200 had a lot of promise from the time that Gary and I flew in. Brand new school, A water and sewage system that will rival most larger cities in construction, new clinic. Very nice place, very nice people.

However, the nice part ends there and thus begins my new Blog.

I have been doing "Project Code Red" for 4 years now. I have been privileged to be allowed to teach with great instructors across the state. It is at this point many are asking what is Code Red. It is the state of Alaska's way of trying to bring affordable fire protection to rural Alaska. Alaska has been the leading death by fire per capita state now for some time. With Rural being the hardest hit. This program has gone to almost 150 communities over the last 6 years. I have been to more parts of Alaska then most would ever dream of. Places that many would never care to go. Places I never cared to go. Not many find s******* in a bucket sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag wondering if you will ever get home fun but, I always have.

I have done almost 30 sites in 3 years. Why, because although a lot of these places I could rather stay home and work on the yard then care about, I believe in the program. I love being a fireman. Love is an understatement. It is who I am. Few professions can define a man. Firefighting is one of them. More important to me is trying to help those that need it. I do this program cause "I and the others" "Believe" it makes a difference. We may not see it in the next year we many never see it. We may not even hear about it if it does.

However, when we leave those places I always feel a little better about myself and for the people that call that place HOME. I feel good cause I believe I have done good and as a man I think that is my purpose in life.

So here I am in Nunam Iqua, or as the white-man named it sheldon point. Class is getting ready to start 3 people are there. 3 out of 200. Now granted they may be busy doing things, hunting, working, but the residents are the ones that pick the dates for us to come out there. The next village over maybe 10 miles had a fire death 3 weeks ago. We figure there would be a huge turnout. I mean Birch creek has 17 people in town and 7 came to class. The students we had did not want class durning the day. So we ended up going from 5 to 10 at night. Talk about making for a long day with nothing to do. That is besides the point.

I was devastated to say the least with the turnout. I don't expect the whole town but come on. Why do their lives mean more to me then they do to them. At what point do you say screw it. This continues on from the last blog about you can only help so far. I was away from my family and home almost 70 days last year teaching on top of my real job, which by the way is the best in the world. 70 days of trying to make the state a better place. I may not be able to solve world hunger dammit but I sure will try and prevent death and loss of property with the best means that I know. With the gift God has given me.

I guess they have never had fire protection before and maybe this is us intervening in something we might not want to be doing. . We have to help you even if you don't like it. Otherwise we might feel guilty. But why, maybe I should start being selfish and say if they want it they can go and get it. Maybe I shouldn't let one place ruin it for me. Although they seem to be getting harder and harder. I feel burnt out. I have a hard time saying no to something I believe in. Maybe it is time to take a brake for me. Do some good for me. That is why I am going camping in the morning or should I say 6 hours. I nice kayak trip to a secluded sight where I can think of ways to make our program more powerful to the people. I want to keep helping and teaching these places. Just hard when they don't want to learn. Which I truly think is the hardest thing for a teacher or instructor.

I think at the end of the day my aloofness will turn into invigoration to continue to do good. I think life presents each of us with opportunities to help serve mankind. Have you found yours yet. If not keep looking you may surprise yourself with the infinite ways that you can make this world a better place. The last part may seem cheesy but its 2 am and thats how I feel. :)

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Comment by Ben Fleagle on July 21, 2008 at 8:44pm
Just to clarify, what I mean by "quality", is that there are few people you would choose to take your place that intend to stay in Alaska long enough to be trained and commit.
Comment by Ben Fleagle on July 21, 2008 at 8:42pm
Brother:

You and I have talked abou this before, I know where you're at. Nothing like doing your best and knowing the whole time the people your teaching don't give a damn and are gonna brain dump as soon as you're gone. Sweep the dust off your feet my friend and then keep going. Maybe there is a point where you should give it up for a while, ...maybe your just tired. I haven't found that point yet either. When it comes right down to it, there isn't that many people of quality to draw from around here in this state, so who do you feel comfortable passing the baton too? Until you find someone suitable, its hard to put the baton down. Hang in there, Brother.

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