Associate of Arts
2005 Owens Graduate
"My degree from Owens opened the door to an opportunity of a lifetime in Antarctica."
Associate of Arts
Profile of Excellence:
Owens Community College Alumnus
Arriving to temperatures averaging below -35? F, a bundled-up Josh Hartbarger, a 2005 Owens Community College graduate and former Owens Student Government president, didn't know what he was in for when his C-17 military plane landed on a frozen Ross Sea in frigid Antarctica last October.
"I was pretty nervous," he said. "We actually landed on ice, so that was a little scary. Once the plane door opened to unload cargo, the cold hit me. I knew it was going to be cold, but I've never felt cold like that in my life."
A Whitehouse, Ohio, resident and a volunteer, part-time first responder with the Whitehouse Fire Department, Josh embarked on a more than five-month stay in Antarctica after applying for the opportunity through a company called Raytheon Polar Services.
Josh arrived at McMurdo Station - the largest operation in Antarctica - as part of a 1,000-member team whose purpose was to support approximately 200 National Science Foundation research scientists who were on the continent to study the atmosphere and wildlife in a naturally preserved environment.
Originally sent to serve as a line lieutenant, Josh became a fire prevention officer once the need for such a position presented itself. As a fire prevention officer, he worked 12-hour days, six days a week on a variety of tasks including conducting monthly building inspections on about 100 buildings.
More than 20,000 miles away in 24-hour-a-day sunlight, Josh didn't forget about his friends at Owens. In fact, Josh sent back a picture of an Owens banner proudly flying on a sign marking McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
"My degree from Owens opened the door to an opportunity of a lifetime in Antarctica," Josh said. "Without a degree, I wouldn't have been able to obtain a lieutenant position. Also, I think being president of Student Government really helped out because they were looking for well-rounded candidates. I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to go at all had it not been for that."
While in Antarctica, Josh won an Outstanding Service Award from the United States Military for his exceptional service. Chief Bill May and firefighter Sean Powers, also from the Whitehouse Fire Department, accompanied Josh to Antarctica. The trio's more than five-month excursion ended in February 2006.
Josh graduated from Anthony Wayne High School in 2000 and graduated from Owens with an Associate of Arts degree in 2005. He is currently employed with Instrument Service and Equipment and continues his service to the Whitehouse Fire Department.
In addition to his work with the Whitehouse Fire Department, Josh is associated with the Whitehouse American Legion Post 384 and serves as a Whitehouse Library Advisory Board member.
Though not exactly sure of his next move, Josh's future plans include possibly enrolling in a paramedic program through Owens and the Medical University of Ohio, obtaining a fire science degree, heading back to Antarctica and someday getting involved in local politics - thanks to his experience with Owens Student Government.
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