This week has been interesting to say the least. Why, you ask? Well, I can begin by saying I got to be present at three different trainings. First, I was present with the National Guard, Army and Air Force, while they had training on South 4th Street. They had a warehouse set up for the trainees to check for hazardous materials and/or weapons of mass destruction (bombs). The two trainees had on orange hazmat suits, which frankly were kind of big on them, and checked out both outside and inside the building signs of radiation and then they investigated three separate set ups to figure out what they were and if they were dangerous. They found one that was not a danger and two that were. I’ll be posting the videos I took of this soon. Then, Tuesday night about 6 p.m. I met the Cleburne County Search and Rescue team to watch their training on rappelling down Sugarloaf mountain to rescue a “hiker” who had fallen and was hung in their ropes (this “hiker” was a 200 pound dummy). Of course, to do this, it meant we had to go up Sugarloaf Mountain. I had never climbed Sugarloaf Mountain, and was a little worried about being able to do it. I think Scott Cresswell, the Director of the CCSandR, was a little nervous about me too.

Now, they had already went up the Mountain once to set the training up and while they were getting their gear together, I decided to get a head start up the mountain. They soon caught up with me and several of them went ahead, while I waited on Scott and a couple other team members, to lead me up. There were a couple places that I had to have a little assistance (due to my short legs lol), but I made it. Not to the very top, but we would’ve had to rappel up the mountain to get to the top. After we got to where we needed to be,  As I watched, Chance Schuren Ethan Cresswell and Ryan yoder (I think that’s who it was anyway) came down the mountain to rescue the “hiker”. It was breathtaking to watch these guys just rappel down to the “hiker” .  They practiced different scenarios and then let the “hiker” down to a ledge where they put him in a basket of sorts to bring him out. The only problem was, we were steadily losing daylight. By the time they had the “hiker” ready to transport, we were almost completely in the dark. But with headlights and phone lights, we made it safely down the mountain. I was pretty proud of myself and Scott gave me the best compliment when he told me later that I had completed one of the toughest drills. Not bad for an old woman like me.

On Wednesday morning, I met back up with the National Guard for another training drill on an “island” (dam site’s cliffs that are an island at the moment since the water is up) where various suspicious items, a couple of chemical barrels, cardboard boxes and a propane tank were investigated. They, too, were in hazmat suits, but these fit better. I have to say they have some pretty cool equipment with them. They had these packs for gas masks, that were like a small backpack that attached to the side of their leg, and they had a backpack for assorted other tools that they wore on their backs. What was cool about those is that everything in there was held in place, making them easy to find when needed. I could use something like that for sure.

I have had a few learning experiences this week that just made me glad we have the National Guard and the Cleburne County Search and Rescue team in case of emergencies!  Thanks to Col. Tolliver of the National Guard and Scott Cresswell of the CCSandR for letting me hang out with you and your teams!!

When I have time to breathe, I’ll be writing stories on both of these adventures!

Until next time...