First Post

I’m following the “Learning the Fundamentals” email course put on by the good folks at WordPress.  The first assignment is to tell you who I am and why I’m here.  Basically what I’d like to get out of this blog.

As of now, I don’t even have a title for my blog, so maybe I’ll get some ideas as I go, or maybe get some suggestions along the way.  I can say who I am though.  My Twitter bio says: Western Nebraska Native | Natural Resources Professional | Beer Brewer | Husker Fan.  I’d say that wraps me up in a nut shell.  I grew up in a small town in the Nebraska Panhandle.  I participated in sports and other activities throughout school.  When I graduated, I worked on the farm for a short time before enlisting in the Nebraska Army National Guard and enrolling at Chadron State College.

While in college, I started working for the US Forest Service as a wildland firefighter.  I got this job as a direct result of the training I’d received in the National Guard.  The summer of 2002 was especially dry and resulted in many wildfires in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge.  As a result, our unit was called up to help the local, state and federal firefighting agencies contain these fires.  I loved the work and the sense of accomplishment, so when later that winter, our leadership asked for volunteers to take the “Red Card” training to become certified as firefighters, I jumped at the opportunity.  When I applied to the Forest Service that following spring, I was basically hired on the spot and put into a firefighter position because of that training.  For anyone who has tried to get hired by a government agency knows that it was one heck of a break for a 19 year old kid!

A couple of years later, I was called up with the rest of my unit to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Like many others, this was a life changing event for me.  I saw many examples of leadership, good and bad, that formed the kind of man I am now.  It was at this point that I decided I wasn’t the kind of person who can be lead blindly.  Not that I didn’t trust my leaders, but that a person needs a purpose in what they do.  It also was a turning point for me in that I decided that I wanted to be a leader…I wanted to ensure that the Solders that come behind me have an example of good leadership and that, when it was my time, I’d be able to lead them the way they deserve.

Another thing that came out of my service in Iraq was “Veteran’s Preference”.  I’m not the kind of guy who takes all the Veteran discounts or free meals on Veteran’s Day, but I did take the Vet Pref when I applied for my first permenant job with the Forest Service.  This opportunity was one that I took and have always been thankful for.  I rose through the ranks with the Forest Service here in Nebraska and am now (mostly) loving what I do every day.  Being able to promote and care for some of the very few public lands in Nebraska is an honor and a privilege that I don’t take lightly.  I am a disciple of Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, believing that Americans, past, present and especially future deserve to see and USE the natural beauty that makes this country great.

Outside of work and my National Guard responsibilities, I enjoy golf, my kids athletic events, hiking and most recently nature photography.  So, that gets me to why I’m starting this blog.  I want to be able to share the wonders that I see through my photography.  I want to help promote the natural wonders of Nebraska (and the rest of this nation).  I want to become a better photographer and writer as well…

So, there you have it…that’s me and what I want to accomplish.  It seems like a lot, and I may narrow my focus as I get into this, but that’s about it.  Let’s see where this takes us.

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Nebraska’s State Bird – Western Meadowlark (Canon T1i, Sigma 150-600 C, f 8.0, 1/2000, ISO 400)