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Off the Leash - By Hank

We all need a break.  Fortunately for this hairy feller, my time has come.  As I write this, I’m sitting comfortably on my bed with all four paws suspended in the air, sipping on a nice cold Pina Colada.  In my tenure at the MLA, this is the first time Ol’ Hank has had some time for himself and taken a little vacation.  I think I’m finally going to get a chance to figure out where I can attach my famous MLA suspenders as my life has always been pants free.  Being head of H.R. and security at the office of the MLA is a stressful job and I was told by Mom, I mean Coleen, that I needed some time to reflect on where I see my career going in the next few years and to charge my batteries up.  I have taken this opportunity to partake in a few educational opportunities.  My favorite seminar I have sat in on so far was called “Good Boy Boundaries: the art of respecting personal space.”  I do not want to worry any of you fine two leggers as my triumphant return is soon on the horizon.

The safety boys completed the first aid/RT-130 training in early May.  Those three gentlemen are tired and look about as mangy as the neighbor’s cat. I hope you all enjoyed the continuing improvements to the program.  The guys are already talking of what changes are needed for next year.  They wanted me to say a big thank you to all that participated in your commitment to keeping you and your crews safe in the upcoming season.  This is one training that we hope you never need.  All in all, those guys put on over 20 classes across the state.  That’s a lot of coffee and sugary treats!

Speaking of training, just a friendly reminder that the ALP season is coming to a close.  If you have any training, you want credit for or you still have your sign in sheet from the Intermountain Logging Conference, get them to the office before the end of June.  Any training after the end of June counts for next year’s accreditation so act now!

We have had a new visitor at the office that is a lot nicer than that stupid cat that lives next door.  For the last couple months, a very beautiful and tasty looking male pheasant has randomly shown up.  Spud, (which I want to take full credit for naming him), struts up to the door and just looks into the office.  He will spend several minutes peering in and defecating at the entrance to the office making a nice little mess.  It’s the strangest thing I have ever seen.

While you can say Spud is a strange bird, (see the humor there), I do think he is a good metaphor for us all in the timber industry.  This industry has had many ups and downs over its history in Montana.  From litigation to mill closures, the last couple years have been difficult to say the least.  Safety man Tim remembers when he was a kid everyone in the industry had their boxing gloves on.  The industry was in a fight and by golly we were going to win.  When there was a public meeting, most in attendance were loggers.  Every elected official knew the importance of the industry.  MLA meetings were standing room only.  Every log truck and crummy had yellow ribbons tied to their antennas showing support.  Have we lost the fight and are just like Spud, looking in from a distance and once hitting resistance, leave our stain behind and fly off? I don’t think so.  The future of the industry is in your hands.  I’ve gotten to know a lot of fine individuals in this industry and I know you are not the type to give up.  I think we have put our boxing gloves away and just need to find them.

Until next time,

Keep the treats comin’…..Hank   


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