Friday, August 8, 2008
The other day, when I got news of the Helicopter crash in Trinity County, I wondered if it might have involved anyone that I knew in the firefighting community. I knew that the helicopter was from Carson Helicopters based in Grants Pass Oregon, and I had never worked with that company before on any fires .
I don’t know why it makes a person feel any better, or worse, when you don’t know anyone involved in a tragedy, but I guess we all know that it makes us, somehow, feel differently. So it was with some relief that I assured myself that at least I didn’t know anyone. But today, when they released the names of the people involved, there was a William Coultas, from Cave Junction listed. I remember thinking that I knew the name from somewhere, but I just couldn’t put the man in a fire-fighting situation.
This morning Janis’ Radio shack Rep, Laine, called and asked if we had heard about Bill. She said no she hadn’t, and Laine said he was the pilot that had survived the fire-fighter helicopter crash in Trinity County. I don’t know Bill that well, but we visited with he and his wife Chris several times at radio shack conventions. He had just got through building a new store in cave junction. They are U.S. Cellular dealers, the same as us. He also sells and installs a lot of TV. equipment. The few times that I talked to him it was about “techie stuff”.
We had dinner at Reno together in the theater of the Nugget Hotel. Somehow the subject that he was a helicopter pilot didn’t come up. He and his wife Chris, are friendly intelligent people, and are fun to be with. The conversation was kept to small talk and Radio Shack talk, which is maybe good or we would probably been sharing fire tales.
When ever a firefighter is hurt or killed it is resounding in the firefighting community. We all seem to identify with each other, and we feel the tragedy a little bit deeper than if it was just another person on the street. I know it is not fair, but you know what I mean. You always feel the loss a little deeper when there is a connection. This time the connection is through Radio Shack, and our families are suffering with Bill and Chris’.
We wish them both well and a speedy recovery for Bill.
Posted by Ernie Branscomb at 12:48 PM