On February 9 we covered a story about a training program for military veterans that is run by the the Southwest Conservation Corps, called the Veterans Green Corps. From what we’ve read, it appears to be an excellent program and a good fit for military personnel returning from war zones.
Today we heard from BLM San Juan Public Lands Fire Management Officer Shawna Legarza who pointed us toward another article about the SCC’s training program, this one specifically in Colorado. Normally, we would not post two similar articles on the same topic, but we thought that not only is this a great program that needs visibility and support, but this second article is very well written and is something that you will appreciate reading. We are posting the entire article below because there appear to be technical issues about viewing it at the Durango Telegraph site.
Four of the trainees from this local program will be working on U.S. Forest Service fire crews this summer.
Dressed in forest-green trousers and heavy work boots, a young woman leans against a boulder on a wooded hillside. The sleeve of her yellow work shirt is rolled just to the point of revealing the sharp-edged tattoo gracing her skin. Black sunglasses hide her eyes.
After sidestepping a question two or three times, she looks away toward a stand of scrub oak and says, “I guess I’m doing this because there’s not much that I’ve seen in the normal working world that can compare to where we’ve been or offer the same level of challenge.”
She pauses. “This comes close.”
Sarah Castaneda served with the 82nd Airborne as a combat medic. Now she and the four other Iraq War veterans are training through the combined efforts of the Veterans Green Corps and the Southwest Conservation Corps to do fire mitigation and fight wildland fires. The group is currently finding its legs on the flanks of Animas Mountain, where they are learning the ropes of wildfire mitigation and firefighting techniques.
“It’s been a life-changing experience,” said Mike Bremer who was with the Army Infantry. “At fire camp, the training was incredible, and we’ve had great instructors. Everything has been so thorough.”
Continue reading “BLM Fire Management Officer supports firefighting training for veterans”