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After 38 years and 896 jumps, Dale Longanecker retires from smoke jumping
57-year-old Dale Longanecker bid adieu to his profession, which lasted over 38 years. Dave, who started smoke jumping at the age of 19, made a record of 896 jumps in his adventurous and dangerous career.

HOW MANY of us would really think about a career at the age of eight? Sounds bizarre right? The United States based Dale Longanecker is one such person who knew at the age of eight what he had to do and he stuck to it for the next 38 years on the job.

Longanecker who is now 57, gracefully retired from his job Friday as a smoke jumper of the United States Forest Service as it is the age set by the body for fire fighters to retire. On Friday Dale Longanecker made his last and official jump, titled jump number 896. The Forest Service department, taking a note of his selfless services said that out of his 896 jumps, 362 of them were made in forest fires, a record in itself that nobody else would be able to break.

So demanding has been his job that sometimes he would be required to stay outdoors fighting nature’s fury lasting from a couple of days - running into weeks. Getting g into action, armed with just a shovel, a gallon of water and a bottle of ibuprofen and a few more essentials, he would frequently keep in touch with his wife via a satellite phone while being on the job.

Raised in a very modest family, Longanecker was raised by his mother along with six other siblings in the eastern part of Washington. Blame it on the region where he grew up, he was transfixed by nature, and vowed to serve it. Longanecker made his first jump into fire when he was 19, and was initially accompanied by his other siblings but soon they took different routes.

Longanecker also adds that he has seen climatic changes up close. He reminisces that last summer, the temperature shot up to 109 degree Fahrenheit something that was totally unheard of during his sophomore years. He laments that global warming is indeed making some phenomenal changes on the planet.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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