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Jecobie Waters, in the white helmet, looks on as a member of engine 333 demonstrates how to build a handline. Photo YubaNet

NEVADA CITY, Calif. April 18, 2019 – A 40 hour basic firefighting course is being taught by the Forest Service in collaboration with the Work for Warriors program to transform vets into wildland firefighters. Yesterday, the field portion of the training was held at the Tahoe’s White Cloud station. Under the supervision of the Tahoe’s Jecobie Waters and the Eldorado’s Tonya Blasingame, the veterans got some practical training in cutting line, hoselay, chainsaw work, engines, pump and firing tools – all while lugging backpacks with hoses up a trail aptly named Heart Attack Hill.

Blasingame, a veteran herself, has spent the past 12 years with the Forest Service. “Coming from active duty I thought I was in great shape, but wildland firefighting is incredibly demanding.” She enjoyed spending time with the veterans, providing encouragement and practical advice.

Out of the 45 veterans who started the training, 18 were still going strong during yesterday’s field day. They will be hired as seasonal firefighters thus starting a new career and continuing to protect our communities.

About Work for Warriors

Work for Warriors (WFW) is a State and Federally funded free Job Placement Program in California. The intent of the employment initiative branded “Work for Warriors” is aimed at assisting Post 9/11 Veterans, Active National Guard, Active Reserve members, Spouses, and Gold Star Families in finding civilian employment in their region of California. In February 2012, The Adjutant General (TAG) of the California National Guard, Major General David S. Baldwin, worked with his staff and the Speaker of the Assembly, John A. Perez, to tackle the California National Guard unemployment rate. The goal was to reduce it by 25% in a year, which was accomplished and exceeded. To date, Work For Warriors has assisted with the placement of over 6,000 Service Members, Veterans and Spouses into gainful employment. Additionally, Work For Warriors has over 500 business partners.