It's about the people...
Going into this Kickstarter campaign, I knew that the National Smokejumper Association anticipated approximately 350 people to attend the event; it's my understanding that nearly 900 actually showed up. Throughout the weekend, the laughter came easy, the camaraderie was practically tangible, and the living history was a rush to be around - simply an amazing experience. It was such a privilege to meet the folks that I did, and an honor to interview the handful of smokejumpers who took time out of their weekend to sit down with me.
One of those gentleman, Jeff Davis, had me practically rolling with laughter one day and nearly in tears with the sadness of remembering tragedy the next. Jeff was a Missoula jumper from 1957 through 1978 and considers smokejumping to be his biggest love affair. I can't wait to share his interview with you all.
After 10 days in Montana, I arrived home to California early this morning to find a package on my desk. As promised, Jeff had sent some of his writings to contribute to the project. I just want to share a quote from the note he included because I think it validates the importance of this project and goes to show how your generosity and support helped to fund not just a trip to Missoula to take some videos, but the preservation of a piece of the spirit of these wonderful and fascinating men and women.
"I have no idea how you came up with this far-out idea, but it's one of the best things to happen to the wildfire scene and its many members since canned beer and sliced bread...so much of this valuable, really priceless, history might be lost for all time if we don't do our utmost to record, document and preserve as much of it as we possibly can. I'm proud to be a small part of it; thanks!"
A big "thank you" to Jeff and the others for being willing to participate in The Smokey Generation. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to meet these folks.
Thanks again for your support! More to follow...