After graduation from High School, I decided to do a bit of traveling and see some of our great country. I traveled up through the states east of the Mississippi and headed up toward New York. I saw some great states and country but only made it as far as New Jersey, where I was able to see the New York skyline.
After returning home for a few days, I headed west to see the great sites of California, traveling by way of old Route 66. What a fascinating trip that was, with many great memories along the way.
On my return, I worked in the construction business with my grandfather and attended the University of Arkansas. California called me back where I lived in Maywood and worked in the Post Office in the mail room. I wanted to be a carrier and soon tired of the mail room and since there were no carrier positions open, I returned to good old Fort Smith to work at the ambulance company and then the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office. I was kept very busy between that and working construction with my brother. Other areas of work also included Dallas and El Paso, Texas.
I married in 1968 to my lovely wife Linda. We lived in Fort Smith until 1970 and moved back to California where we settled in El Cajon and had our daughter, Margaret in 1977. While there, I worked with the El Cajon Police Department Communications Center. In 1981, we decided to go back to Fort Smith and I worked at Fort Chaffee while the Cuban’s were there. After that, I went to work with the Fort Smith Police Department Communications Center. I truly enjoyed that work and was there until I retired in September 2004, after 22 years. During my career, I also worked with both departments as an El Cajon Police Reserve officer (10 years) and a Fort Smith Police Reserve officer (10 years).
I saw a lot of changes in the communications field, CAD (computer aided dispatching), the advent of 911 to Fort Smith, the enhanced 911, GIS system and mobile data units in the cars. In the early 60’s when I started, there were two cars in the field, about 10 to 12 different departments on the same radio frequency, to when I retired, there were 12 to 15 cars on the street and multiple frequencies. We went from paper and pencil to doing everything on the computer. What a change, and if I had it to do all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. It had its ups and downs with heartbreaks and happy times, but it was worth it from the standpoint of the many people I was able to help over the years.
I am now just going to take it easy and try to get used to new hours. I worked the night shift for 21 years straight, and it is going to take a while to get my biological clock straightened out, but I am working on it.
I have never been able to make it to a reunion, but with the help of the good Lord, I am planning on the next one in 2008.
Hope to see you there!
Thomas A. Goins - 2005