11-04-2006, 04:52 AM #1
CA Fire Captain walks off of the job...
..and into retirement after 30 years on the job. This guy is one of my good friends. He would do anything for you. I was there for the beginning of the "walk about" and wish I could have joined him on a section. I did call him on his cell sometime in the middle but lost him in the hills.
One of the nicest persons you will ever meet in your life...Bou
Fire captain takes retirement in stride
By CHRIS TOGNERI
BEE STAFF WRITER
ALTAMONT PASS — After 30 years of fighting fires, Capt. Greg Fernandez is walking off the job.
Fernandez retired from the Alameda County Fire Department on Wednesday at 8 a.m., left Station 17 in Dublin and started walking home — to Modesto.
"I'm always thinking of crazy ideas," Fernandez said on Day 2 of his trek, shortly after he'd crested the 1,009-foot Altamont Pass separating the Bay Area from the valley. "And then I think, why not? Let's just do it."
His walk to retirement will cover roughly 70 miles in three days. And while Fernandez says "Why not?" perhaps a better question would be "Why?"
There are many reasons.
First, retiring is "a big deal." Fernandez, 49, has done nothing but fight fires since signing on as a 19-year-old rookie in 1976.
"Not all people are lucky enough to work the same job for 30 years," he said. "I will always remember this."
Second, because miles passed alone on the road allow time for reflection.
"I'll miss the fires," he said. "I don't know what it is about a fire. When I was a little kid, I think I was scared of fire. But (today), it's like a game: Can I get it? Can I beat it?"
And third, because Fernandez really likes to exercise. He has run a marathon and five half-marathons, he's getting into yoga, and in years past he rode his bike home from work on his birthday, just to do it.
The ride home takes seven or eight hours. The walk home will last longer:
DAY 1 — Dublin to Livermore, where he stayed the night at a friend's home.
Distance: about 15 miles.
"I sat down, had a big margarita and we just talked for a couple hours," Fernandez said. "Then they asked if they should fire up the hot tub, and I said, 'Oh yeah, oh yeah!'"
DAY 2 — Over the hill via the old Altamont Pass Road, down to Tracy and to another friend's home for the night.
Distance: 22.5 miles.
"I feel good — nothing hurts yet," Fernandez said halfway through the day. "I have ibuprofen."
DAY 3 — Tracy to his home of 17 years in northeast Modesto.
Distance: about 30 miles.
"Hey, if I need to take four days," he said, "I'll take four days."
Fernandez's friends and family are not surprised he is walking his last commute home.
"He does stuff like this," said Jennifer Wheatley, Fernandez's daughter. "Walking home is just another one if his crazy ideas. He's a nut."
Alameda County Battalion Chief John Walsh agreed. Fernandez is known for his wild plans, including the time he got involved in a "yogurt culture scam, where he's growing yogurt in five-gallon buckets" and stinking up a friend's house, he said.
"He certainly is an individual," Assistant Chief Jeff Ramsey added. "He's one of those rare people you run across in the course of your life that influence you profoundly. I wish I had his outlook on life."
Fernandez began the trek with friend and co-firefighter Dick Kolda, who retired the same day. Kolda, who lives in Discovery Bay, drove home after the walk to Livermore.
Fernandez should arrive home this evening; his family will greet him with a warm meal, a hot tub and plenty of hugs.
And what then?
Fernandez is not sure. He'll continue teaching first aid at the sheriff's academy in Dublin, and he'll camp and snowboard more often.
But right now, he's just walking. And enjoying the steady, peaceful rhythm of each footfall.
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time," comic Steven Wright once pointed out.
"People move so fast today, it's nice to slow things down," he said. "People say, 'My life sucks, I'm so bored.' Well, do something like this. You won't be bored."
Here is the link to the story- http://www.modbee.com/local/story/12...13620931c.html
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 11-04-2006 at 01:22 PM.
11-04-2006, 05:42 AM #2
AKE AKE, KIA KAHA
Forever and Ever, Be Strong.
Pass on the respect from down under when you talk next Bou.
Retired, never forgotten.Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
11-04-2006, 08:30 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 1999
He sounds like he was a great guy to work with. I my mind, he is showing the results of a successful career; rank and position do not matter, if he can retire with his health (and walk 70 miles in 3 days), he is successful. Best of luck to him.-------------------
"The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.
11-04-2006, 09:19 AM #4
now that sounds like one fun person to be around. Bou...........sounds like you were a lukcy person to have known him. What a way to leave 'da job.IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
"but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
11-04-2006, 11:15 AM #5
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
Great story, thanks for sharing, Brett.
Retired at 49 .... sweetSeptember 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
11-04-2006, 12:01 PM #6
Congrats to the Captain!
The ride home takes seven or eight hours.
Wow..talk about gridlock!"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
11-04-2006, 04:49 PM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
Best wishes to Capt Fernandez on your retirement. What a great story. Thanks for posting Bou.
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