BCSS Grad Jessica Walker has a dream that in 10 years she’ll be a successful heavy equipment operator and living on a ranch where she can increase her knowledge of animals, especially animals of the canine and equine variety.
“Doing what I love, working with animals,” she said confidently. “I’m not sure where I want to live but it will be on a ranch and I see myself as being successful with my job.
“When I grew up my grandfather worked at a gold mine and he would take one of us young girls up there on the grader and cat for the whole day,” she added, remembering it as “definitely hands-on and something I would enjoy. The grader is my favourite.”
Jessica lives in a household that can be flipped into emergency mode whenever a 911 call comes in. Her mom and dad are both paramedics and her dad heads up the local highway rescue unit. So it came naturally that she would follow suit to some extent. Last winter she received First Responder certification. She said the two-week course was a great opportunity to interact with others and learn things at the same time.
She is a member of the West Boundary Highway Rescue crew now too. “Just growing up watching your mom it affects your life,” she laughed. “When the pager goes off everybody moves out of the way.”
Her two dogs and two horses allow her to escape when she needs to. She says all she needs to do when she gets home from school or work and is to make time for her animals and she feels refreshed and ready to go again.
She enjoys riding and training horses. “As they are learning you are learning too. You watch their body language and you can tell when they are going to do something or not.”
She’s had other jobs too—waitressing, babysitting, “every off-the-wall job there is out there.”
Jessica has lived in the Boundary for eight years, having come from way up north in Stewart, B.C. She knows that going home to the north will offer her more chances to find work, but she says she’d like to live somewhere where it is warm—but not too warm. “This is nice here,” she says.
She’s the youngest of six children and when asked to list the three things she values most, she responded family, connection with nature and people’s feelings and loyalty.
Jessica has a resilient viewpoint, saying, “No matter how many times you fall down there is always going to be something that will pick you up. There is always going to be something ahead of you that is going to make something better. Whether it is physical or emotional pain it is always going to get better.”