Finding Father Figures in Grey
On her first operation as a sawyer, Greyshirt Lucy Loftus planned to sit back, be a spotter, and let the guys make the chips fly. Two Greyshirts ruined that plan.
Not everyone had the benefit of growing up with parents that were great mentors. Many of the fathers in Team Rubicon bring their guidance to training and operations, which benefits those of us who missed out on that experience. Neither Philip Jacobs nor Eric Mayranen are technically my father, but both have played mentor to me. I know I’m not the only one.
The best example I can think of would be during Operation Farthest Point, my first operation as a sawyer. It had been many months since my Sawyer 1 training, and it was the first time I’d held a saw since. I remembered which end of the saw to point away from myself, but was still a little terrified.
My plan was to be a good spotter, and let the people who get excited about man glitter [sawdust] get their saw time. Phil and Eric ruined my plan.
My first day, Phil was the team leader. He made me use the saw. He gave advice and direction in a supportive and non-judgmental (I would say “humorous,” but his jokes and puns are terrible) way. Basically, he took off the training wheels.
The second day, I was on Eric’s team. More cut time. More feedback. I was getting a large bruise on my wrist from the brake, so we did some troubleshooting. There was no assumption that because I usually work in an office I’m not capable. Rather, he just walked me through taking the saw apart and explained that sometimes sawdust and oil can form a little ball that adds resistance to the brake mechanism, making it harder to push in.
My youngest son, Nathan, was on that Op—his first as a sawyer, too. He said that if Eric taught him one more thing, he’d have to start calling him Dad. I feel the same about both Eric and Phil, and I doubt we’re the only people in Team Rubicon that have benefited this way. We’re lucky to have them.