GreenCorps: “On My Way” Wildland Firefighting with the Umatilla Veteran Crew

Dyllon Hatcher

Coming from a small mountain town of Susanville in Northern California, I’ve always loved the outdoors. Growing up in the Ponderosa forests full of deer and small woodland creatures made me feel like I had a connection with the woods and the nature around me. After a small amount of time in the military, I wound up in the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon, which for me was a big change from the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I love the city and what it has to offer, but I found myself missing the dry air of the eastern side of the western states. After working for the city in the Parks and Recreation Department, a coworker of mine brought me a Craigslist ad for VetsWork GreenCorps, an AmeriCorps program of the Mt. Adams institute.


Thompson Peak in Janesville.  


Portland, Oregon.

As a veteran’s program I was instantly interested and started my application as soon as I could. After months of phone calls, emails, and applications I finally found out I was accepted. My particular internship was for wildland firefighting. Although I ran into bumps in my road to success, some car problems and money issues, I managed to make my way to the Mt. Adams Institute in Trout Lake, WA for our orientation. This is where I got to meet my group of fellow veterans who will join me in the new adventure. After our initial meet and greet, a few awesome activities, pack test and paperwork, we traveled to Ukiah, OR where we are on our way to be a part of the Umatilla Veterans Crew.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 17.09.59

Mt. Adams in Trout Lake, Washington.

Now I am currently learning how to become a wildland firefighter, something I honestly never thought that I would be able to do. Under the supervision of some great leaders, I am working on and becoming certified in chainsaw operation, first aid, cpr and lots of other great things to come. I live in an awesome bunkhouse with some great people who all have helped to serve this country and like myself, strive to become a greater help to not only the community, but to the forest and the land around us. I can’t wait for the rest of my internship to play out, and look forward to all of the great memories to be made. I’m on my way to success.

Partner Logo Banner(GC)