Rescue on flooded street

Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Prepper, Too? – Motivation

by Oletta Branstiter

Fires in the West. Floods in the South. Some people are citing the Gospel warnings of the Last Days. The truth is, our planet has been in the throes of “birth pains” since the Fall of Man. The Bible also admonishes that no one knows the day or hour of final judgment. therefore, we should always be ready.

Redeeming the Time

What was my original motivation for prepping?

Free time.

In 2011, I resigned from being a paraprofessional campus Library Specialist when I was informed that I would also be the full-time Computer Lab Aide. I would be expected to perform two professional jobs at one-third of the pay of one. I declined.

After working full time at my local school for four years, I was suddenly stranded on the island of Free Time.

My kids were grown. I longed to feel productive. While sending out nearly three job applications a week, I began to contemplate situations in which I might not find another job, or my husband might lose his well-paying job. So many things could change in an instant. I didn’t like the idea of feeling helpless or fearful in a financial or environmental crisis.

Joining the Prepper Club

I started dabbling in container gardening and picking up extra canned goods when I went to the grocery store. While cleaning out my closets and cupboards, I got rid of the excess and stored survival supplies in large, portable plastic bins. Long-forgotten overnight bags and duffels were re-purposed – filled with necessities and designated as G.O.B.s (Get Out Bags) and stored in the closet and vehicles. Closet shelves were cleared to make room for extra daily provisions packed into large empty industrial food buckets. Empty plastic containers were filled with water and sealed for storage. My husband thought I had lost my mind. He disapproved. I think he might have felt that I didn’t trust him to provide in case of an emergency.  

Survival Camp

I soldiered on, even hosting a day camp for the sons of my teacher friends. I designed lessons and activities teaching them about survival skills and prepping activities.  We compiled Ready binders they could keep, filled with easily accessible information and lists.

I used every opportunity to remind the boys to be constantly aware of their surroundings and take advantage of the available resources.  We visited my neighborhood park and surrounding undeveloped field for training in foraging and strengthening exercises (playground equipment becomes a gym for older boys!). We tasted juniper berries (yuk!) and discussed ways to use native plants.  I asked them how they would respond to injuries and illnesses, addressing issues of triage. While hiking toward a small copse of trees, we discovered an abandoned hobo camp. The boys were thrilled as we explored the items that had been left behind, and what they would do in a similar situation.

In the hot afternoons during the summer camp, we played survival board games I had designed, watched survival shows on TV, sowed seeds for starting indoor vegetables and developed practical lists of prepper storage.

I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did! (And I made some cash, too.)

All in the Family

My husband realized that I had become a Prepper. I had explained that it was a win-win situation. If there is an emergency – we’re ready. If there’s no emergency, we can still use all the provisions or provide temporary relief for a neighbor in need. Since then, he has replaced my reused plastic water bottles with large water storage bricks that can be stored under a bed. He insisted on purchasing a water barrel to collect rain for our garden or emergencies. Freeze dried food sales often tempt him. He helps me prepare two 12’x20′ gardens for planting, even building a giant chicken-wire cage over one that I use to plant vegetables and fruit that squirrels just can’t resist. Five semi-dwarf fruit trees decorate our backyard. I’ve learned to enjoy following my food, from seed to table.

We’re prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.

After an entire year, and 149 job applications, number 147 ended up being the offer I couldn’t refuse. I had purposely avoided applying for school library positions, assuming they’d all saddle me with the situation I had rejected. But I was getting desperate! After my interview with the new principal of an Intermediate School, she called me, saying, “I know you said you still have another interview tomorrow – and you should go! But I just wanted to let you know that you are the only person I’m recommending for this job, and I want you to be our full-time Librarian.” I canceled the other interview.

So, this is my fifth year at a full-time job that I love but pays a pittance, meeting the Library needs of a growing Intermediate public school campus and teaching Our Nation’s Foundations to 5th and 6th graders.  I’m still a Prepper because it’s the right thing to do. In fact, when my daughter and her boyfriend and dog recently became displaced by Hurricane Harvey, our home was ready to meet their needs for as long as it takes them to get back on their feet.

The experience of evacuating a flooding Metropolis just in time to survive was genuinely traumatic to my daughter, and she has weathered the various stages of fear and grief. She’s done extremely well during the past few weeks, adapting to the loss and plodding through the confusion and challenges of starting over in her old home town.

Because there’s a little Prepper in my daughter, too.



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