Who the heck is "Swanny"?
My name is Thom Swan, but my friends refer to me simply as "Swanny". In my most basic form I can described as a large, hairless, omnivorous, gregarious primate. In other words - human.
I am a middle-aged widower doing my best to enjoy life in the last great frontier of Alaska. My philosophies are simple.
"The only thing worse than dying is refusing to live fully."
"Life is too short to spend it doing only one thing."
I tend to keep myself pretty darned busy pursuing a wide range of interests. In addition to Working for a living I also own and operate a small retail business, and design and publish Internet web sites. I'm an avid historical reenactor, a free_lance_writer and a recreational dog musher.
I live in Two Rivers, Alaska. Two Rivers is a small, unincorporated community outside of Fairbanks in Alaska's vast Interior and is particularly popular with dog mushers.
As a young man I held a variety of jobs before settling down to a true career. I have bagged groceries, driven used cars between auction yards and distant sales lots, driven both off-road and highway trucks, roughnecked, and mined molybdenum sulfate (say THAT three times fast!). During the late 1970s I discovered that I have a particular aptitude, attitude and talent for emergency services work. Since then I have been employed in law enforcement, fire service and emergency medical services sometimes all at the same time.
I begain my emergency services career as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) in Buena Vista, Colorado way back in 1976. Since I enjoyed my volunteer work far more than I enjoyed making little rocks out of bigguns in an underground mine, I found a job as a full time EMT for a private ambulance service in Loveland, Colorado. My next stop was the paramedic training program at St. Anthony's Hospital Systems in Denver. I am one of 'Gerry's Kids' and am a proud graduate of paramedic cycle 13.
I worked for a variety of private amublance companies in Denver and Colorado springs until 1983 when I cross-trained in law enforcement and took a seasonal position at a park ranger at Mesa Verde National Park. From there my next career move was to the ski resort community of Crested Butte, Colorado where I served as the EMS Coordinator, volunteer firefighter and reserve police officer.
Today my primary occupation is in a dual role as a security officer / paramedic at remote work sites on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. I joke that my job is to protect the pipeline from the 'ravages of crime, terrorism and disease'. Although it sounds like an exciting occupation it is actually one of those jobs that consist of 99% pure boredom punctuated by 1% pure terror.
Although I have the obligatory complaints of any wage-slave, for the most part I enjoy my job and hold my employer in high regard. I've been working in this capacity for the past 14 years.
On my 16th Christmas, my mother gave me a portable typewriter. I've been pounding on key boards consistently ever since. I write non-fiction articles in the emergency medical services and living history genres and have been well published albeit not particularly well compensated. My most recent work appeared in July/August 2006 edition of On The Trail magazine.
My first published work was a 1983 feature article in the long defunct EMSA Eagle magazine. I wrote feature articles and a long running column in Emergency magazine.