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When it rains it pours :^(

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by Gary D., Mar 10, 2005.

  1. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    Went into work tonight and got some very disturbing news.

    One of our long time team members, a team anchor, a strong knowledgeable member, ice rescue instructor that makes it to better than 90% of the callouts and has around 50 recoveries under his belt, has had enough. He has turned in his letter of resignation from the team.

    He is just one of those that stays to himself quite a bit and doesn’t like to talk about the operations a lot. He was a Marine and has trouble showing any signs of weakness. I have never seen him cry. I know he wanted to and did in private but never when anyone is around.

    This past summer I could tell something was wrong. After we recovered the jumper from below the dam he just wasn’t himself. That one really got to him as it did most of us. Time after time I would ask him, “How ya doin?” He would just say “Fine”. No matter how much we tried I just could not get him to talk and get it out.

    After each of the past recoveries he has become more withdrawn. We can only guess that he feels to keep his sanity he needs to resign.

    This is the thing I try to warn new and prospective PSD’s about. It is very dangerous to not get your feelings out in the open. He will do fine and is not going to bite the end off his service weapon. He just can’t take another kid recovery.

    We are now down to 5 in-house and two from outside agencies. We are praying nothing serous happens or we are in trouble. If we have two operations happen at the same time someone is just going to have to wait. The two that aren’t in house are still in training and one just got voted in last month.

    Fifty cents an hour team pay adds up to a lot of money at the end of the year. Then add in the overtime which the majority of the calls are and it's a chunk of change. For me alone it added up to over $5K last year. You have got to the end of the rope when you turn that much extra money down.

    Yes I still have the majority of my hair. Why, I don’t have a clue.

    Very sad to let him go.

    Gary D.
     
  2. Snowbear

    Snowbear NOK ScubaBoard Supporter

    7,059
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    That's a bummer, Gary. You're having trouble recruiting members and an experienced member resigns. And there's no way in good conscience you can ask him to stay a little longer.

    That's something we have going for us here - very few callouts and a lot of team members. Being a FD, we have 3 shifts, so even the few callouts we get are split up. No-one ever gets called in while off duty to do a recovery. The pay incentive is about the same as yours, but when we have someone leave, there are usually at least 1 or 2 waiting to take his place.
     
  3. ScubaFreak

    ScubaFreak Instructor, Scuba

    1,159
    1
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    Sorry Gary,

    Sounds like a real experienced guy, I know i'd be sad to lose someone with that expertise from my team. Who knows, maybe he might take a training position or something. Share the huge amount of knowledge he has to new recruits.

    Safe Diving

    Scubafreak
     
  4. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    All we will do when a member wants to resign is try to find out why, support them the best we can, get them the help they need and make sure they are going to be ok. We would NEVER try to talk someone into staying just to keep the team numbers up. Making someone stay when they want to leave invites disaster.

    At full strength we are only ten but now down to 5. That is one reason we have opened membership up to fulltime agencies. We need help and are just way to busy for just a hand full of us to get the job done.

    We get a lot of prospective applicants but when they find out it isn’t all fun and games and that we are really busy they decide not to participate. For being so far north and inland we have a lot of water and water related problems. Our MVA’a are down but when one slacks off another one raises to take it place.

    I think it was 4 years ago when we had 50 or 60 people wanting to join. Then we had the month from hell. We dove around the clock 7 days a week for over month and none of us worked in our normal assignments. 4 very hard recoveries later the list dwindled down to zero.

    You either lose people because of inactivity or they burn out. We have never left one from inactivity.

    Tonight I am going through the operations list and see how many have been on the team during their carrier. I think it will even surprise me.

    This sucks. Even after 2 Cruzan and cokes and 2 beers thrown in last night I’m still stumped and shocked. And that was about a months allotment of alcohol for me. :D

    Gary D.
     
  5. Boater Dan

    Boater Dan Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western PA
    320
    2
    0
    Gary:

    Is there any chance he would remain as a 90% ready diver/back-up diver/or at least at a tending position until you can staff up? No matter what is in someone's head, someone who has done this would never want to see a fellow diver get into trouble and not have support coming immediately behind. And anyone who has been on the wet side of the tether certainly understands the importance of the surface person. What better person to have on the dry end than an experienced diver to train others.

    5 personnel puts a severe strain on the team and I would hope he has not reached the critical mass point of causing that to others. If he has, then focus on getting him some counseling!

    No matter what, insure the team operates safely. Practice the risk/reward analysis.

    Take care!

    Dan
     
  6. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    I spent better than 2 hours with him tonight when he turned in his gear. It was very hard on both of us. It is hard to split when you have better than 15 years on the team.

    He just has to get away and I respect that. Hopefully he will return someday but for now he just has to stay 100% away and get his sanity back.

    I'm even down for a few days now. I got into a hell of a fight tonight with a guy that was 6'7" and 300 pounds. He beat up his wife then decided to take on the three of us. We won but my right ankle is cut up and sprained.

    Do I do it on Monday at the stert of the shift? NOOOOO. It has to be Friday at the end of the shift.

    Hey AFLAC, where are you?

    Gary D.
     
  7. Snowbear

    Snowbear NOK ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Even someone who is "only" in a support position is part of the operation. Every single person involved in a difficult operation feels some responsibility when things get difficult. If the guy Gary told us about needs out, he'll need to be out completely to regain his base. At least for a while. Hopefully, in addition to resigning from the dive team, he will take it a step further and do whatever it takes to deal with the demons that haunt him from the years he's already put in.....
     
  8. Boater Dan

    Boater Dan Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western PA
    320
    2
    0
    Snowbear:

    As an outsider, it is difficult to realize the degree with which someone has hit the wall. Only Gary was in a position to do so and he did the right thing. Sometimes, you need to back away from the front line, but can still remain in the back ground.

    Fortunately for me I have not reached that point yet. I have recovered fire victims, cut children, teenagers, and adult fatalities out of accidents, recovered drowning victims, and even had the unfortunate experience of recovering a fallen firefighter. As a fire officer at the time, I was in another structure fire the next night watching out for the younger members. I won't sit here and lie that it doesn't effect you, but somehow you find the strength to move on.

    I applaud the officer for having the courage to realize he had reached that point and admitted it. As any LEO on the forum recognizes, the suicide rate for officers is unacceptable. I wish him luck and hope that he does not loose his appreciation for diving. Hopefully he can manage to at least approach some recreational diving to enjoy the sport without recalling the issues. Sometimes as PSD's, we lose sight of the fun side of diving and get consumed in training and calls.

    Good luck to the officer and to you Gary with managing the team.

    Dan
     
  9. Snowbear

    Snowbear NOK ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I'm not posting as an "outsider."

    I'm not posting as an "insider" either.

    I'm posting as someone who's been there. As someone realizes that as the team leader, Gary is in a difficult position, doing the best he can with what he's been given.
     
  10. Greg D.

    Greg D. Solo Diver

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    Tough news Gary, its always tough to lose a valued member of the team, I think we need to trade members every six months or so, we lose people to inactivity, you lose them to over activity. Not to mention the ones that join up and never make it to call outs. But thats what you get with a volunteer team.
     

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