"I'd do this again." I commented at the end of my exit review with my boss's bosses. The two men were stunned. "Really?!"I remarked, "Well, yeah. Either next year or the following year. It was fun and a great experience. The people were great too."
The two looked at each other then at me. "Wow!" One stated.
Yes, the work was difficult. There really was no pay, for it was service to country. The stipend given paid for my $189 hiking boots, my walking poles, backpack items, spray bottles of deet and natrapel. My protein bars, my car's usage, gasoline, dungarees, cammies, socks and other miscellaneous items I needed for the three month service stint.
Most serving were between ages 18 to 35. My immediate boss was 45 and his boss's boss was age 50. However, everyone else involved in service were under age 36. All thirty-nine service volunteers. Few were above age 28. And I knew I could trust these young minds. Trust them literally with my well-being. Yes, my life. Our jobs especially as trail crew was precarious to say the least. We moved rocks, used saws, drills, pick axes, sledge hammers of different sizes and weight. We worked in nearly all weather conditions the summer could send our way. It was on slopes, edges and in tight spots we worked together being within feet sometimes inches of each other. Especially when rifting large 700 to 1300 pound stones to build steps. Too, the way the pieces of quartz rock could cut the flesh as it flew into the air yards away from where it was being split or crushed. Or a movement of a large stone could cause crush injuries. Never mind ticks, wasps and other natural hazards of trail work.
The safety measures of the trail crew were astounding. Yet none of them aside from me nearing age 61 were over 35. And now at my age, I can say, I'm uncertain of trusting anyone over 35. ---Jody-Lynn Reicher