Alaska Chief Racks Up Miles While Acquiring Fire Truck

Thorne Bay Chief Ronald Currit and his 18-year-old son Joseph flew to Perth Amboy, N.J. and drove back a pumper truck.

"We didn't need the windshield wipers until we hit a blizzard in Oregon," he said. "When we turned them on they fell apart."

Currit stood outside the truck, covered in snow, putting the windshield wipers back together at 3 a.m.

Aside for the frigid moments, there were plenty of highlights.

In Idaho he talked to the scale master for almost an hour, who was amazed by the sight of the truck.

In Wyoming, two retired state troopers followed the truck into a rest stop and wanted to take pictures with it.

During the entirety of the trip, the truck averaged a speed of 55 miles an hour, "Which is a little slow on the freeway," Currit said. But he added that despite that, people just kept "waving and smiling at the pretty truck."

Back in town

"The fire crew was very impressed," he said. Because of the distance between the two stations, however, the other half of the crew didn't see it for about a week.

A few weeks ago, the pumper truck saw its first action by way of a 10-acre brush fire. Before that it had only been used for training.

Currently, the truck still has Quality 1st Basement Systems' logo on it, but soon Currit plans to get it painted. He's also still looking for parts for the old American LaFrance that broke down and hopes to eventually have three active trucks.

It was time well spent for the man whose family moved to the small town in 1959 when he was eight years old. Since then he has moved and came back three times with the last move back occuring five years ago.

"I have a feeling of pride that I am able to do things for the town I grew up in," he said. "To be able to take this trip and get something they desperately need ... It's very special"