Annie Tooley

Richard Corbell

My love for bulldozers began young, like many operators, playing with Tonka tractors. ⁣

Little did I know that my family had 600 acres of land in Northern California that my grandparents bought before I was born. There was an old direct-drive D-4 with a pony motor there, and every weekend I would ask if we could go so I could sit on his lap while he operated it. ⁣

He'd say 'Let’s go Ricky' (when he would grab the jumper cables I knew. I was probably 4 or 5 when I first started watching him start it and ride it. By 7 or 8, I would ask if I could start it, and he'd always say, 'No, it's too hard for you'...⁣

Around 9 or 10, he said, 'If you can start it, you can run it.' and with a grin from ear to ear, I grabbed the jumper cables, and away I went to the tractor barn. ⁣

I connected the battery to the tractor and sat on the tracks like Grandpa did with my legs between the tracks and the body to fire the pony motor.⁣

Took a few times, but that pony motor fired up, and with my right hand on one lever and my left on the other lever, away I went! ⁣

In the distance, I could see Grandpa and Grandma walking up the hill. Black smoke was billowing out. Oh, man, was I excited. Grandpa gave me hugs and a few more words of advice, and soon after, I was pushing my first blade of dirt at 9 or 10. ⁣

In 2008, I joined Cal Fire as a seasonal fireman, but I missed my passion for running bulldozers. So, I joined the union and now work for Goodfellow Brothers, loving every moment. ⁣

In my 5th season with GBI, I hope to become a permanent finish dozer hand. I currently operate various equipment, finding it therapeutic to push scrapers or stack for large excavators. I also enjoy teaching new apprentices how to operate machines and understand cuts.⁣

 My rewarding career began with my Grandpa, and I hope to keep learning from mentors to improve my operating skills and abilities for years to come. 

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