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.

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Thompson Peak in Janesville.  

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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.

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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.

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