In 1975 I found myself yanked from my roots in the Bay Area of CA. Little did I know at the time how this would shape my future. From a world full of plastic and asphalt, we transitioned to the natural rural, mountainous beauty of Southern Oregon. My folks bought the store and gas station in Wimer and ran it for three years. The culture shock wore off quickly as I adapted to an outdoors way of life. The first day of school at RRHS a fund raiser raffle was being held for a new 30—30 rifle. The third week of school we had a break for hunting season! Now that was a vast difference from the suburbs of Oakland.
I joined the volunteer fire dept in Wimer in 1975. That began my lifelong career in public safety. In 1976 I went to work at the RRFD at minimum wage. We drove apparatus, fought fire, and provided first aid. Now that would never work today – child labor and OSHA! The school had a fire squad, three rings of the bell and off to the station to answer the call. Sometimes we actually made it back to class. I walked with Karen Daugherty at graduation in ‘78. I spent two seasons with the State Forestry and then found my way to Valley Fire Service in GP.
Yup – that’s me with the Brady Bunch look Valley Fire Service - 1980
Oregon State Forestry – Graves Cr. Fire 1978 Don Baker (77) and Brett Fillis (79) also helped set the place up. I learned a lot, but the salary could not keep up with the cost of living. In 1980 Janice Reininger, who I met at Rogue Community College, and I married on April 12th. We just celebrated our 33rd anniversary, with the birth of our third grandchild. We took a bold chance in 1982 and loaded everything we owned into a 5’X8’ U-Haul trailer and set out for Texas. After all, they had an oil boom going on in a place called Midland. We looked on the map; it was next to a place called No Trees, TX. We arrived and found they were right, No Trees! We had plenty of beach, just no ocean. I expected to do roughneck labor, instead I found myself on the Fire Department two weeks later! We spent 5 years in the desert, in that wonderful west Texas Town. I was offered a job as the Fire Marshal of Flower Mound, TX. The place had about 9,000 residents and one
My Office â€“ Central Fire
The Town is close to DFW Airport, just 20 minutes from Dallas or Ft. Worth. It has grown to over 70,000 residents. In 1992, I became Chief of the department and now have over 100 employees staffing five fire stations. I have been blessed to have some of the finest personnel in the business.
The Village Church
My Halloween Costume â€“ What a stretch?
Because of our location we have many exciting options for entertainment. NASCAR has become a big interest of mine. At each race we camp in the infield and act like we are still in our twenties. It hurts for weeks after though. The Texas Rangers play just 20 minutes from the house. We had a run at the Series and came up short to the Giants. The Cowboys are also here. The team has been a mess, but Witten and Romo often are in attendance at the Church where I work part-time. The Church has been a big part of our lives.
Texas Motor Speedway â€“ Converted School Bus
Cowboys V. Packers at Lambeau Field
Rangers Giants World Series
Sunrise over the Lake â€“ Balloon Ride
THE FAMILY Janice and I have been married for over 33 years! We have raised three beautiful and wonderful kids. Life has been challenging, but we still keep going. Upon graduation from High School, Alison was involved a Jeep rollover accident. Of the seven kids, she was injured the worst and was given a limited chance for survival. Her internal injuries kept her from attending the University of Texas on a National Merit Scholarship. In the first few days she used nearly 30 units of blood. She not only survived, but has thrived. She decided to attend Baylor University in Waco, TX and earned a degree in Neuroscience. She has worked for the medical school doing research, the American Red Cross (blood donor recruitment program manager) and now for the American Heart Association. Alison has provided us Bill, a son-in-law and two grand kids! London is three and Asher is 8 months.
Ryan is an Aircraft A&P Mechanic. He is currently living here with us. He served in the US Airforce. He loves to work with his hands.
Ryan with a Warthog A-10 Tank buster Aaron had a great job in banking on the retail side, but had a desire to go back to school. He recently earned an English Degree and loves creative writing. Aaron met Rachael at the University of North Texas and together they have given us a beautiful grandson, Holden. He just took a Marketing Manger position for an on-line parts distribution company.
Janice and I have an interesting hobby with some non-conventional pets. As you can see below, we have adopted an entire troop. We are USDA licensed primate handlers. While we donâ€™t actively seek work for the monks, it does happen. We are currently scheduled to do a segment for the Discovery Channel TV Show, Fast and Loud, Gas Monkey Garage. We should do it sometime in July to air this Fall. Tucker has already been seen on AFV last season. We have recently completed a rescue from Hollywood, California from an owner in the entertainment industry who could no longer keep her. We now have five little monkeysâ€Ś.. and, yes, they do jump on the bed occasionally.
We also know folks who rescue little Kitties
We had to make multiple trips to our State Capitol in Austin this legislative session. A well funded â€œanimal rightsâ€? group attempted to destroy the rights of owners of animals. They took on the wrong agenda. Janice worked to stop the bills from being enacted. I could have told them up front and saved them lots of frustration. There was no way they would win against her. I know, because I have never won an argument with her either. All kidding aside, our relationship has done nothing but get stronger as we have negotiated the uncertain paths of life.
Gunney from Mail Call â€“ Full Metal Jacket
Grandbabies are Grand!
I missed seeing yâ€™all this year. We definitely will be at the 40 th! Good luck, good health and happiness till we meet again. Eric Metzger