A Dream Put On Hold

November 7, 2010 § 2 Comments

Shane Chaffer’s dreams are currently on hold, as he slowly moves up in the ranks at Little Caesar’s Pizza. “It’s a good job but it’s not where I want to be,” he said, describing his present situation. Shane is 21 years old, and is now living with his mom in Milwaukie, OR.  He planned to become a firefighter for Clackamas County, after graduating from Chemeketa Community College with an AAS in Fire Science Technology.   However, because of just one night, his plans were suddenly cut short, and Shane found himself in handcuffs in the back of a Marian County police cruiser.

After a night of drinking in November of 2008, Shane got into his Jeep to drive a friend home.  Upon his return, a police officer saw him run a stop sign.  His attempt to elude the police ended when he took a corner too fast, losing control of his Jeep, and skidding to a stop in the middle of the roadway. Shane was charged with attempt to elude, reckless driving, failure to obey a traffic control device, and a DUII.  His car impounded, Shane was booked and released in the Marian County Jail.  He immediately plead guilty to the DUII and started treatment sessions through the Diversion program.  Shane was charged approximately $2000 in fees and fines.  He was demoted from his position as Shift Captain in the firefighting program at CCC, and, as a result of losing his license for 30 days, he was fired from his job as a delivery driver. After two years of clean probation and attendance of Diversion and AA classes, the DUII charge will erase from his record, and will be replaced with diversion.  “I just have to wait it out,” Shane says.

Even after his run in with the law, the people closest to him have only good things to say. Casey Clapp, a friend since high school, says, “Shane made a stupid decision, like anyone, but it just so happened it had a very adverse affect on his specific career choice. He hasn’t changed as a person though: still my best friend, still awesome.” Erin Altman, another close friend, described Shane as a motivated, hard working person: “He has been working to become a firefighter ever since I’ve known him, it’s too bad he made a poor choice that will make it harder for him to accomplish his goals in life.”

Shane has been working towards his dream since the eighth grade, when he participated in the Clackamas County Firefighter Explorers. After CCFE ended in high school, he attended Chemeketa, and was able to respond to emergencies as a firefighter and an EMT. He received all eight nationally recognized certifications as a firefighter, and has volunteered with wild land firefighting, and Hoodland fire.

When Shane applied to be a volunteer firefighter in Clackamas County, he was accepted out of 100 other applicants.  That is, until they performed a background check. Once human resources saw Shane’s DUII he was immediately denied the position, and his dreams fell apart in front of his eyes. “My life has pretty much been put on hold,” as says he describes his life after the DUII. Since then he has been accepted into a paramedic school in Texas but will have to wait until March to attend, when the DUII is off his record.

When he looks back on the night he got his DUII, he wishes he would have made a better decision. “People make mistakes; I did.” He looks forward to what the rest of his life holds for him. He is anxious to move on and have a fresh start; hopefully, Texas will have the fresh start he is looking for.

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