Saturday, June 18, 2016

Memories and Knowledge Last a Life Time

Water Tank for Fire Suppression System
Hello All. Hope everyone has enjoyed reading my blogs so far, and I hope you enjoy this one as well. For week 3, I was in maintenance, and it was a busy, as well as dirty one to say the least. For the first part of Monday, I spent it with our safety supervisor. Our project for the morning was to go around to a few of the properties on the battlefields, and check their fire suppression systems. When we got to the properties, our first task was to make sure the system was not in distress, which means to make sure it wasn’t occasionally beeping, meaning there is a problem within the system somewhere. If there was, we had to test the system and see where the problem was occurring, which I was used to, but was interested to see how testing the systems differed between the park and my fire department at home. Our second task was to check the fire department connection on the buildings and houses, to make sure they were clear of debris, animals, or outside obstruction’s. Our third and final task was to then check the water tanks that are used to feed the sprinkler systems if necessary. This was different, and definitely a learning experience for me because we do not have these back home in our area because of the abundance of hydrants and water supplies. After my time with him, I would be spending the rest of the day Monday, Tuesday, and Friday with our fence crew.

Portable "sawmill"
My time with the fence crew was amusing to say the least. These guys, while very knowledgeable, from which I learned a lot, were a funny group of guys to work with, and made the work day more enjoyable. When I first got to their post, which was at Eisenhower National Historic Site, I was tasked with helping them cut fence posts, and coating them with a type of “glue” so they wouldn’t rot. We used a giant what they called “sawmill” in order to cut the posts, a first for me, and a very cool tool to use. The next day, we would work on installing the fence posts into the ground around farm 2, which required a lot of steps and hard work. I think I can say we all got our workout in for the week, as we finished about 65-70 by days’ end. Throughout it all, I would learn how to install them, how to level them, and how to paint them to make them look as if they were the original.

Stone we set
On Wednesday and Thursday, I got to spend time with our stone mason Gary, who is part of the monument restoration crew. Our job task was to set a stone that had to be taken out because of aging of the material originally used to hold it in. This task was very lengthy, and more involved then I would have ever thought, but was glad I was able to help and be able to appreciate the hard work that these guys do, that the public doesn’t get to see and appreciate.

Blackhawk Helicopter
By far the neatest thing I have seen while at the park, and in my life, was Blackhawk helicopters fly right over my head while working with the fence crew, then being able to see them land. The Blackhawk helicopters were from a NJ/PA National Guard Unit, the 28th Infantry Division, which is originally a PA regiment, but now based out of Jersey. They were there to help promote the National Guard, and they had brought teachers over from New Jersey to see the Eisenhower Site and Gettysburg battlefields. Once they landed, we were able to look in the helicopter, sit in the front seat and talk to the crew. This was an amazing experience for me as I one-day hope to be a helicopter medic, or be on a helicopter tactical crew during my career. Before we left, I thanked them for their service and sharing their knowledge with me, and got a group picture with them. This week was definitely a week to remember, as all of the experiences I have had I will carry along with me in the future.

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