|My brother-in-law Randall Streetman as Smokey Bear|
What do you see in this picture? Looks like Smokey Bear hard at work, right? Wrong, it’s actually my brother-in-law Randall Streetman doing what was described by my sister Bonita as “his favorite job of his career.”
Smokey Bear celebrated his 75th birthday on August 9 so of course that was covered on the news that day. I remembered that Randall wore the Smokey suit years ago and that I had never seen any pictures of him dressed as Smokey. That evening I sent a text message to Bonita and asked if they had any pictures of Randall as Smokey. A day later, she sent these two pictures. During a text exchange we had about the pictures, I decided to do this blog post. By luck, it fit perfectly with this week’s theme!
Fernbank Museum, churches, and other places. When Randall took on the job of Smokey, he and his ranger escort visited local schools, fairs, meetings, and various events to spread Smokey’s message, often after hours. In the photos Bonita shared with me, Smokey was most likely visiting a school that day. Randall remembers the Smokey suit was very hot. By the time he came out of it, he was soaking wet. But he liked to see the children’s reactions so it was worth it.
Ellis, Ralph, “Counties Mull Fight-Your-Own Forest Fires Deal,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, p. 185, November 23, 1995.
Only You Can Prevent Wildfires, About Smokey Bear, Smokey Bear Facebook Page, April 26, 2018; https://www.facebook.com/smokeybear/.
Personal memories of Randall and Bonita Streetman.
Smokey Bear poster based on the “Uncle Sam/Lord Kitchener Wants You” poster, National Agricultural Library [public domain]; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uncle_Sam_style_Smokey_Bear_Only_You.jpg.
Smokey Bear web page; https://smokeybear.com/en.
Smokey Bear; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smokey_Bear.