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mayor al    1

Maybe some of you other old timers can clear up this "payroll issue" for me. I seem to recall that in the first season (or two?) the Park offered a reward (or bonus) of a small amount of cash (,15 cents per hour worked over the summer) to seasonal workers who stayed "on the payroll" through the September Labor Day Holiday weekend. If you terminated prior to the Holiday you weren't eligible...and permanent workers didn't get it either? I do remember a drastic change in the workforce from young workers to adults during that Labor Day Weekend and immediately after, in the stores, food stands and Ride Opns.

 

Is my memory fogged on this, or was is a reality?

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Maybe some of you other old timers can clear up this "payroll issue" for me. I seem to recall that in the first season (or two?) the Park offered a reward (or bonus) of a small amount of cash (,15 cents per hour worked over the summer) to seasonal workers who stayed "on the payroll" through the September Labor Day Holiday weekend. If you terminated prior to the Holiday you weren't eligible...and permanent workers didn't get it either? I do remember a drastic change in the workforce from young workers to adults during that Labor Day Weekend and immediately after, in the stores, food stands and Ride Opns.

 

Is my memory fogged on this, or was is a reality?

I can't confirm that this was the case prior to Six Flags, but I know they did offer additional incentives to remain employed past Labor Day at least some of the seasons that I was there from 1981-1985.

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mayor al    1

Right, Daved, and it wasn't a 'raise'. They went back and tallied the total hour you had worked during the Summer monthes, then issued a bonus uncentive of either a dime or .15 for each hour worked if you stayed on thru Labor Day.

Of Course a large number of student-workers could not do that, and to leave before September to return to school. Bad for them and really hard on the workforce that remained and had to be shifted around to cover vacancies everywhere.

I recall having a lot of overtime opportunities during those times of year, even though Security was less affected by the loss of younger workers.

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mayor al    1

One of the related sub-sections of the Security and Safety Department that is seldom heard from until something bad happens is the First Aid Service. It has been called the First Responders, or the EMS, or the EMTs, depending on who is doing the talking, but in the early days of G A it was the First Aid Service and it occupied part of the building where Security was located near the Games area,

The Department had an M D on call, and an RN on-site with two or three EMT's doing the legwork of treating the routine cases that most People (guests or staff) presented in the Park. They used electric powered 'golf-carts' inside the park to respond to calls requiring the transporting of a person back to First Aid, There were two ambulances , one of which would be ready for service 24/7/365 to transport to Freehold Hospital or some other facility .Security would provide the driver for the ambulance should it be required for a Hospital run.

The majority of the reported cases for treatment on a typical Summer day were heat related. Second would be the result of illness brought with the guest to the Park and magnified thru extensive stress. Third, and the most serious would be the result of accident, whether in the Park, on a Ride, or elsewhere on the Property. The EMT's were usually quite busy on the hot humid weekend days with the more routine issues... but the late night Concert Nights always seemed to triggered accidents in the Parking lot or on the exit road as guest tried to hurry and beat the other guests out of the Park.

I don't know about the staffing of the department today... but in those days, the First Aid Folks were busy throughout their work day.

Edited by mayor al

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mayor al    1

First Aid- Continued-

 

One of the more suprising , or rather least expected incidents that began to happen on an ever-increasing basis was the number of yellow-jacket Bee Stings received by employees (and guests also), but mainly by the Italian Ice Cart Operators who scooped cups of the Ice for guests at certain locations inside the Park. At times the Bee's seemed to overpower the kids and force the carts to shut down and move to avoid serious injury to the people in the area. First Aid and Food Service both issued MSG packs to those employees to apply immediately to a Bee sting for relief--it worked-- but multiple stings could be serious and some folks had strong reactions to the the Bee Stings. We made several ambulance runs during the Summer for Bee Sting reactions...usually for a guest, but sometimes it was for an employee.

The Carts would be pressure washed over night to help get rid of the ice-residue, but by noon, the Bee's would be back, at the Gingerbread end of the Park and spreading East as the day wore on.

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mayor al    1

I wish we could get some feedback from some Food service cart people. I think--THINK-- I saw more of them in First Aid than any other job-title that I recall, due to two types of injuries. The Bee Stings were One, and the first I had every heard of "Corpal Tunnel Syndrome" was the second. The Italian Ice was much denser and harder to scoop than typical Ice Cream, and the typical cart person was a smaller than normal youngster who's wrist muscles weren't fully deveoped. Some of those kids really suffered with Popeye-like bulging wrists from scooping that Ice for hours at their carts. I wouldn't be at all suprised if they had permanent physical issues 40 years later based on the damage done back in those first seasons.

Edited by mayor al

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mayor al    1

Harry,

Can you find someone in Food Service who can give us a timeline (History) for when the Commisary was taken off-line, and how they distributed food from the warehouse(s) to the foodstands after it closed---until the whole major food operation shut down and the Park converted to a contracted food vendor service. I am assuming that's what is happening today from the way the foodstands are identified.. some are run by the vendor and some by independent franchisers, including 6 Flags. I have not been there to take inventory, but I would bet that the daily count of "Sysco" System Delivery Trucks to the warehouse on typical operating days would be in the double-digit figures.

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mayor al    1

A typical Midnight Shift Security activity log In MidWinter during the first few seasons... I'll "time" it for after we moved into the Modular Office building that we shared with First Aid, behind the Games area (1976 or later)

 

Shift worked 1100 PM - 7:30AM (included a 30 break) A typical shift would be staffed by-

3 Office Staff-

LT

SGT

Radio Operator

Gate 1

Gate 2

Strawberry

Western

Motor

Relief-Breakman

 

At various locations around the park and on certain buildings Detex Keys were permanently attached to facilities or structures. The walking Park "Watchmen" and the Motor Officer carried a Detex Clock unit with them and had a fixed schedule of when they were to make their rounds of "their area" using the keys to punch the clocks to show they had checked that building or area at the assigned time. It took about an hour and a half or so for each of the inside the Park guys to walk 'their beat' and get the clocks punched early in the shift, and again before the end of their tour. Those key punches were recorded on a tape contained inside the clock unit.

 

The Motor Officer had to cover a lot more area as the Keys were located all over the place... Personnel (out on 537 past Gate 1) Then At the Entrance Gates (both sides) and Exit Gates, Safari Toll Booths, Hospitality Kennels (remember them??). Maint. Bldg. by the Great Arena, Then out to the Warehouse and Water Treatment and the Commissary. During the Hunting season either the LT or the SGT would do a ride around the outside Perimeter in a very beat-up Chevy Blazer leftover from the first season vehicles, but it had 4x4. Nothing ever came of the Perimeter Patrol that I heard of, but it provided "something different" to do on long winter nights.

Walking the Park on a winter night is an interesting experience. If the weather holds fair, it is really beautiful..If it is stormy there are plenty of places to seek shelter, Although the few times we got "real Snow" Huffing thru it from Security up to Gate 2 then to our cars at 7:30am when the Plowboys were just getting going made going home a very slow process.

We learned how to hang an 5' plow blade on the Blazer and keep it by the Ambulance behind Security. The few times we needed it our building was totally clear while Exec Row ouside of Gate 2 ( the old tram-run) had 18" of hard crusted snow in it.

The Motor Officer also had to haul the Relief guy around to the various posts to give the guys their breaks, so he stayed pretty busy all night. One or the other of the Shift Leaders would ride with him at times to oversee the guys, but one supervisor and the radio Op had to be in the office at all times.

Overnight Security handled Emergency calls for the Executives, logging some on message forms, and forwarding some depending on the instructions give by the Directors (or Higher).

The Gate Guards had to log in all non-scheduled employees, and all other traffic entering the Gates. Lots of overnight truck deliveries to the warehouse, and early morning to games and maint.and Food Service.

Add to that servicing the four cars, two 4x4s and the ambulance (gas and oil) and a quick spray wash a couple of times a week if the weather was right, and you have an idea of a typical Midnight Security Shift in the DOLDRUMS OF MID-WINTER

 

One more related item, Those first few years, the department was majority-not totally- male officer, especially on the Mid-shift, Thus my use of male adjectives and descriptors. Betsey Breeze broke the gender-barrier on the Mid-shift, I believe, then the numbered tended to grow more even. I don't think there was any reason for this bias other than a lack of desire on the part of the females at that time to want to work those hours.

 

Any Questions?

Edited by mayor al

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I recently learned that Al Bowen, known on GAH's Forums as "mayor al" has passed away. Al's days at G.A. went back to the early years when he joined the park's security team. Al will be missed for his funny stories about the park and his generosity in donations he made to GreatAdventureHistory's memorabilia collection. We are proud to have several of his name tags as well as one of his vintage security uniform shirts (the brown version when the guards look liked National Park wardens). We will miss you Al!

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I recently learned that Al Bowen, known on GAH's Forums as "mayor al" has passed away. Al's days at G.A. went back to the early years when he joined the park's security team. Al will be missed for his funny stories about the park and his generosity in donations he made to GreatAdventureHistory's memorabilia collection. We are proud to have several of his name tags as well as one of his vintage security uniform shirts (the brown version when the guards look liked National Park wardens). We will miss you Al!

Very sorry to have learned of Al's passing. I contacted him directly after reading some of his stories from the park's earliest years and really enjoyed learning what things were like back then. He had mentioned he had some medical issues, but really went out of his way to minimize what those I issues might be. Definitely realized that something happened after he suddenly stopped posting on GAH. My sincerest sympathies to his family.

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scott    48

Rest now Al, We enjoyed your company while we had it. Our prayers and our thoughts are with your family.

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GASM    2

Very sad, he knew about events that some of us would never even imagine went on at GA. I'm glad he took the time to share some of his stories; the one about Charlie is unforgettable. Rest in peace, Al.

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