29 have graduated recently from the Trapper Creek Job Corps firefighter program

The Ravalli Republic has an uplifting story about the recent graduates of the firefighter training program at the Trapper Creek Job Corps center south of Darby, Montana. The nine individuals that were recognized on December 10 are in addition to the 20 that previously graduated and left the facility. The graduates were given coats as a symbol of their achievements.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

…This past summer they learned that struggle can lead to something good. They learned that what they thought were their limits weren’t really where it stops at all. They discovered that they had much more buried deep inside of themselves than they ever imagined.

“You learned to embrace the suck,” said Trapper Creek’s Fire Training Specialist Danny Atkinson. “You found that struggle can become the goal. When it sucks the most, life is good. You discovered that you are a lot damn tougher than you ever thought you were.”

As a team that started with 44 members, they put in 71,774 hours on 277 assignments that took them to 11 states as far away as Wisconsin. Along the way, they and others at Trapper Creek Job Corps earned $1.2 million in gross pay. There is only one other Job Corps Center that’s broken the $1 million mark before. Trapper Creek has done that two years in a row.

“Some of our students have between $5,000 and $20,000 in their bank accounts,” said Justin Abbey, Trapper Creek’s Fire Management Officer. “That’s the money that they’ll be able to tap into to relocate, buy a car and pay for that first and last month’s rent. It helps set them up for success…”

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Paula.
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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

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