Well folks, after over forty years of working full time in the technical rescue field – twenty plus years as an Air Force PJ, and almost another twenty with Roco Rescue – I am hanging up my rescue harness for good. It is not that it is worn out, and in fact it is in pretty good shape, as it hasn’t seen much action in the last few years. It is more that I want to get out and play full time before I am totally worn out. So I am retiring.
I want to take this opportunity to say “Thank You” to all of the folks that I have had the honor to work alongside, learn from, teach, and collaborate with on various projects. I can say without any hesitation, and with deep humility, that I am a different and much better person than I was forty one years ago.
That is largely due to the folks that I have been surrounded with in that time. They nudged me, and at times that nudge was pretty solid, in the right direction. Because of the nature of rescuers in general, some of your best human qualities were bound to rub off on me. And for that, I thank you.
I don’t want to single out any individuals for particular thanks, because this article would go on forever if I started down that road. But I do want to say thank you to my supervisors, managers, and company leaders that I have been blessed to have guide, mentor, and support me. This holds true for my time in the Air Force as well as with Roco. My Non-Commissioned Officers in Charge (NCOICs) during my time as a PJ were the best I could have hoped for. And the same holds true for the President, VP, and other managers at Roco. They each had, and have their own unique, and to me, highly desirable styles of leadership. They all impressed upon me the value of setting clear and meaningful expectations, leading from the front by putting in the work and effort to demonstrate their own self accountability, but most importantly, they have all been very fair.
To my teammates as a PJ, as a Roco CSRT Member, and Instructor: I have been surrounded by a herd of type A go getters for forty years, and to say that was never a challenge, would be a flat out lie. But I have enjoyed that challenge as it kept me on my toes and honest. There was never any room for BS or taking shortcuts, because I knew I would be called out on it. That really helps one develop good habits and to avoid the bad ones. I have learned so much from my teammates that it astounds me to just stop and think of all the ideas and efforts to make things better that we have worked on together.
I also want to thank the support staff that have put in so much time, effort, and dedication that goes on behind the scenes. Without the support of our training coordinators, equipment managers, payroll, schedulers, facility managers, operations mangers, sales, general admin, human resources, and so many others, we couldn’t possibly do what we do.
Finally, I want to thank our customers, both our students and our CSRT clients. At Roco Rescue we try to provide the best courses of instruction, as well as the most professional CSRT services we can. This includes listening to what our customers have to say, both good and sometimes not so much. I can’t tell you how much our services have improved over the years based on feedback from our customers. We have had so many characters as customers that my catalog of funny stories is volumes deep. For that alone, this has been a very rewarding career.
So as I rappel off into the sunset, I bid you farewell, be safe, and remember that the path you have chosen is a noble and very rewarding one. Walk down that path with pride, dedication, and with the knowledge that your efforts in being the best rescuer you can be, will ultimately give those that need you in an emergency, that chance to live out their own dreams.
Until we meet again, you can find me sailing on Lake Champlain, mountain biking some gnar in New England, exploring with my lovely wife and our dog, gathering mushrooms or seeking the perfect sunset and doing some community volunteerism.
In other words, I ain’t dead yet.