Fred Woolley

Fred Woolley boards a fire truck to put it through its paces.

Fred Wooley still has the fire after Vietnam War duty

PLAIN DEALING, La -- Fred Woolley's life of service to country continues with service to community. He's not slowing down at age 74.

"I love it. I love it," Fred says of his part-time job as a firefighter and emergency medical responder with the Northeast Bossier Parish Fire District 5.

"You're helping people. And not at their best times," Fred says. "We're there when they're sick, when their hurt, or they've been in an accident, or their house is going up in flames and we're there to help them. And one of our jobs is to comfort people."

He began there in 2003 as a volunteer. But for the last three years, he's been getting paid for 30 hours a week.

"Every time you have a success it just adds to your feeling of you're doing good," he says.

Fred had a desire to do good when he got out of high school in the northern California town of Cottonwood in 1967. He wanted to help in the Vietnam War and joined the Air Force.

They initially wanted to send Fred to bomb school. He begged off.

"Well, bombs blow up," Fred said of his reasoning.

So the Air Force sent him to electronics navigation training. And he would later help keep B-52's on time, and their bombs on target, with a deployment to a base in Thailand.

"I was actually fixing the computers and the radar that took the plane to its target and then that actually released the bombs," Fred explained.

The planes relied on those computers for accurate airspeed and ranging. So if something went wrong, Fred says, "It was my job to find the answers to tell why it happened.

"I'd go out to the airplane and just run test after test after test until I found something that just wasn't right," he said.

Fred's job today still involves some trouble-shooting. During out visit, he found an oxygen tank on board a fire truck that wasn't ready to help him battle a fire.

It's work he plans to keep doing.

"Until they make me quit," Fred vows.

Fred hopes they actually make him full time soon at the fire department.

Fred and his wife have also helped in their community by raising 106 Foster children, and adopting 11 of them. Two of them are still at home.


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