Friday, December 31, 2010

History Lesson, How it All Started Part 2... Day 24/30

He got to work in Alaska on the Brooks River studying fish.

After graduation, Bill's first job was in the Las Vegas area. Summers were unbelievably hot and lasted nine months a year, with only three months of decent weather. But he was doing what he was meant to do. He was so into his job that his senior officer had to insist he take a day or two off. When he was home, he just knew that someone, somewhere was doing something wrong. Nervous as a cat, he would pace. And more often than not, go out anyway.

His next assignment was Winnemucca. What? OK, we have to find some good here. It's closer to Boise, the big city where my parents live, and it's out of the heat. There must be other redeeming features. In summer sand blew 24/7, in winter it was cold beyond imagination (one winter it was 24 below zero). The town was a small gambling town with a red light district not far from the stores and restaurants. Most of the town residents were good people, respected the Game Warden and we made good friends. We were there five years, a year longer than planned.

Bill had applied to Idaho for a position as Conservation Officer and was offered a job in Challis. Before he could accept, the Winnemucca City Council asked, begged him to take the position as Chief of Police. There were some things going on that weren't quite proper and needed to be addressed. After much deliberation, we decided that he would take it, but only for a year. It was agreed upon and being the most honest cop on the force, he made enemies by doing away with under the table "Christmas Bonuses" and some other "benefits." The year seemed long but at last time was up and the new job offered by Idaho was ----ahhhhhhh Garden Valley

Garden Vally was heaven. It was in the mountains, deep forest all around and our new home was a beautiful two story (with full basement) log cabin. Our rent -
$25.00 a month. We were all delighted and excited which lasted the entire time we lived there. Bill had a huge area to patrol, no two days were ever the same. The kids grew up in the nicest of areas , knowing everyone in school, freedom to roam, ride horses and I was truly happy with our lifestyle and friends. We were there seven wonderful years.

In 1973, Bill was promoted to the Boise office, a desk job. That didn't last, as he longed to be out in the field again. The department heads, shook their heads and at last let the crazy man be a Game Warden again. Out in the field, he was like a kid, as usual not able to take days off, rarely even all day Christmas. At some point during the day, the pacing would begin and, surprise, he would say "guess I'll take a drive down the road,--see what's going on." Well, we had him for the fun part of the day, opening the gifts, which he enjoyed as much as the kids.

Bill's life as a Conservation Officer changed many lives. There were some teenagers and some college kids to whom he issued citations in such a way---explaining, counseling, showing care and concern, that they in turn became F & G employees or Conservation Officers themselves. He taught gun safety in junior high schools and aided many people in the field. Being a CO isn't about just issuing citations. It's about educating and assisting the public. Bill was that kind of officer. Dedicated.


kate said...

We need some pictures of the GV house!

He loved his job, that's for sure. If ever there was a man not cut out for a desk job, it was him!

Jodi said...

I'll find one and add it to this post if I can. Wasn't that an awesome place to grow up!

Terry said...

This one really touched me, as I sit in GV, today. It looks like a Christmas card out and is below freezing. It was/is a great place to be. The picture of Dee and Bill is great.

Dee said...

Garden Valley really was heavenly after the horrible heat of Vegas and the sand and vicious cold winters of Winnemucca. All the seasons were awesome, in the true sense of the word.
One day as I stood at the window looking down at the creek, a wind came up, blowing all the Fall leaves from the Aspen trees in a golden cloud, drifting, tumbling downward, so beautiful. In all the years, that was the only time I witnessed that happening.
In winter, when the snow was piled high on tree branches, oft times a warm sunshine or perhaps a breeze would send the snow cascading down like waterfalls. Only in the mountains can those miracle memories be created.