Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sharon Stone's Sister Bought Me Ice Cream (and other minor brushes with fame)

I sat in the fire planning meeting, listening to the usual chatter.  Operations, Air Operations (me), Safety, Logistics and Finance all got up and talked.  Night shift, helicopters being released, bears in the area, supplies being ordered, turn in your time sheet!  After several days on the fire, nothing was really new, until..."Sharon Stone's sister wants to do something nice for the firefighters," Information was saying.  "She wants to buy them ice cream!"

Apparently Sharon Stone's sister lives in the area and felt grateful for our efforts.  By the way, how would you like to go through life being referred to as Sharon Stone's sister? ( Her name is Kelly).  Sure enough, boxes of ice cream bars showed up the next day.  While some of us were disappointed that Sharon didn't make an appearance, even more disconcerting than this was that some of the younger firefighters didn't know who she was.  "Who's Sharon Stone?" they asked innocently while munching on Dilly bars.

Sometimes, like grizzly bears, celebrities are attracted to fires.  Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up at fire camp once and addressed the crowd at morning briefing, mostly about climate change.  The public information officers buzzed around like bees.  "No pictures of Arnold! No social media! His people need to approve all photos," they insisted, as everyone took pictures and immediately posted them on social media.
Arnold talks to firefighters. Some people tried to talk to him about working out. Lame.
Mostly, I see famous people in passing.  A mechanic and I waited in a hotel lobby for our usually prompt pilot, when a shortish man charged out of the elevator and strode to the front desk.  We looked at each other.  "Mel Gibson!" we whispered.  Joining us, the pilot refused to believe us.  "Where is he then?" he demanded.  The mechanic pointed out the door, where a red Pathfinder had just pulled up with Mel behind the wheel.  He stared at us, probably thinking, who ARE these weirdos?  The pilot was overjoyed to see that Mel and his entourage were also at the airport, congregating at a private jet near where our helicopter was parked.  Deciding to say hello, he marched in their direction, but lost his nerve as he drew closer, veering off in an odd tangent and then returning, chagrined.

Sometimes I don't even recognize them.  Many years ago, a middle aged man brushed past me at a small airport on his way to a flight lesson.  "That was Harrison Ford," my pilot said.  "No WAY," I responded, but turned around to look.  Sure enough, it was.  However, like my coworker who this year became tongue-tied when Gwen Stefani said hi to him, I couldn't think of anything to say.  Then he met Calista, and my opportunity was lost.  Darn you, Ally McBeal!

We often save their houses and their communities, and though we don't see them that often, I'm sure they appreciate it.  Thanks for the ice cream, Kelly! We'll keep doing what we do, with or without it, but it's nice to know you thought of us.


  1. How nice that famous people show their appreciation for the firefighters.

    1. Yes, we are grateful to everyone who expresses their appreciation, from the little kids who make signs to the people who bring us cookies!

  2. Ice cream bars seem to be a feature of your work and hiking season!

  3. wow, so lucky :)
    I know your job is a tough one, and lots of respect to you!

    I would go CRAZY if I met a star (thats just silly me)

    1. There's some I'd like to meet, to see if they are really like my impression of them.


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