Sunday, August 14, 2011

Amber Hagan-Prince William Forest Park-Final Week

It is hard to believe the internship at Prince William Forest Park has come to an end. We were just starting out here 3 months ago and that 3 months has vanished. I've never learned so much in my life as I have in 3 months at the park. It felt surreal as we were being checked out of our house. I'm sitting here typing this on a Sunday expecting I will be heading back to work tomorrow morning, but it's time to face the facts: the internship is over.

This week began with Law Enforcement and ended the same way. Monday was a great start to a wonderful week. Jim, Cailin, Mark, Jay, and Mo came to our Park to join us for a day at the range. Cheif Sirk-Fear, Ranger Ballam, and Chris Alford brought joined us as well. Dave and Cindy went over weapons safety with the entire group before we went to the range. I am never let down when it comes to safety talks in the park service. Dave and Cindy are very thorough and efficient. Chris offered his knowledge a few times as well.
Throughout the day we fired various handguns, assault rifles, and shotguns. Everybody really enjoyed themselves and I observed nothing but smiles all day.

Tuesday was a half day for us. We went in during the morning hours and worked on getting our firefighting certificates together. We also stopped in for resource managements morning meeting. It was nice to see everybody and spend a little bit of time with them knowing that our last day was fast approaching.
We went to lunch with the administration crew at olive garden. We arranged this lunch meeting several weeks in advance. It was important for us to spend time with each division saying our goodbyes. We were given the afternoon off to spend cleaning our house with our roomates.

Wednesday we went to TREXPO with Dave and Chris. TREXPO is a police exposition, which included presentations by highly trained professionals and weapons demonstrations. I cannot describe the presentations we saw, because they were so explicit, intense, and detailed. We had a tactical medicine presentation and learned a tremendous amount about Columbine, 911, and Beslan. Did any of you know that during the columbine school shooting the guns were never intended to be the main source of the attack? The two young men had constructed 99 bombs. More specifically, a bomb over the cafeteria to cause the room to collapse onto the cafeteria during its busiest lunch hour. The collapse thus forcing the students to exit the building, if they survived, which is where the boys where originally going to wait to execute the survivors with guns. They also planted a bomb in a common area outside where students would and DID run to take refuge from the attack. This location is also where rescue squads and police would and DID arrive at. Why didn't the bombs go off??? The watch the boys bought to detonate them with had a minor overlook. Metal on metal contact was needed to detonate, they bought a cheap watch with plastic hands painted to look like metal. This shooting took the lives of 12 studets and 1 teacher instead of hundreds, because of a cheap watch.
The Beslan hostage situation is unknown to many people. Before the presentation I knew nothing about it. If you don't currently know, google it. Read it, learn it, and know it well. Educating anybody and everybody is how these events can be prevented. The Beslan incident is almost too graphic to talk about. First and foremost it was a SCHOOL take-over which ended with 380 people, including children being executed and sexually assaulted. The day was September 1, 2004, it was the first day of school and parents and family members were in attendance for the ceremony. The attackers took hostage nearly 1200 people and gave them no food or ater throghout the entire siege. I will say no more and hope that anybody reading this will research and discover on their own the terror that took place at this school in 2004. The link below provides a deeper look into the heinous acts that took place. I'd like to warn all of you, this is not for the faint of heart. This is the reason we are all getting into this profession.

We left the presentations and went to the indoor range a few miles up the road where we were given open range time to shoot the manufacturers weapons. We were also given demonstrations. I enjoyed shooting the weapons and learning about lead-free ammunition. The day was extremely educational and productive.

We returned to TREXPO the next morning and went to an Executive Protection presentation. Another great presentation providing us with great knowledge of the profession. Following the presentation we walkd through the exhibit where vendors were set up with a sgnificant amount of free stuff. I tried on shoe inserts with massaging gel and a female fitted kevlar vest. I also picked up a few FREE hemostatic dressings and inquired about a SOF-T tourniquet.

After the exhibit we went back to the park and attended the end of summer all employee meeting. The food was delicious. The SCA's, YCC's, and Charles and I all created a power point presentation including photos of what we did all summer. It was wonderful to see everybody, but it also filled us with great sadness as we were all preparing to say goodbye to what had become our family. Charles and I left the meeting and went to the law enforcement office to bid farewell to one of the LE Rangers we worked with this summer. Finally, we got into the vehicle and left the park. This is was the last time we would be driving down this road together and we knew it. Dave arrived later to check us out of our home and it was very difficult to say goodbye to him. We went to dinner with resource management and the SCA interns. I had a wonderful time with them and am fortunate to know these lovely people.

It is my hope that each and every ProRanger had a tremendous experience this summer at their parks. I hope that you all had a meaningful, memorable internship and look forward to our after action meeting on the 29th.

I have no regrets for this summer and am anxious to move forward with this career.

Note: The photos are a collection of the summer! Enjoy!

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