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Ray Rubio (RAC-95) Present At Brawley School

by Karina Lopez-Imperial Valley Press |

After learning about the exciting and at times dangerous work of a smokejumper, students at Phil D. Swing Elementary School had the opportunity to hear about the wildfire-battling profession from an actual smokejumper and Brawley native here Thursday morning.

Students from various fourth-grade classrooms excitedly filed into the school’s cafeteria, where they listened to a presentation from Ray Rubio, a smokejumper based in Redmond, Ore.

The former Phil Swing student shared videos, gear and different experiences from his 19-year career as a parachuting firefighter.
“I love, love, love this job,” Rubio told the students. “It’s pretty cool and I get to meet a lot of good people.”

Amlinda Briseño said while she learned about smokejumpers in class, it was great hearing about it from Rubio.

“I liked hearing about the part where he gets to jump out of airplanes,” said the 9-year-old fourth-grader. “I learned that you have to be safe around fires.”

Mike Ayala said he also liked hearing about Rubio’s experiences jumping out of airplanes.
“I learned that he saves people and animals from fires because he helps stop them,” Mike, a 9-year-old, said. “I think being a smokejumper is really cool.”

Rubio said he was approached by a teacher from the school during Cattle Call weekend, where she asked if he’d be interested in speaking to the students.

“I have wanted to do something like this for a long time,” Rubio said. “I think I was more excited than the students were.”
School Principal Ceci Dial said Rubio’s presence was an excellent learning opportunity for her young students.

“It’s important for a lot of reasons, one of them being it shows people from Brawley can do many things,” Dial said. “It also exposes them to different careers and what better way to learn about them then through one of our own.”