Working long hours in the forest with a chainsaw is all in a day’s work for Lebanon resident Nichole Nation.
Nation has been a logger for the last nine years and said she enjoys what she does.
“[When I started], I got a lot of odd looks and stares,” said Nation. “I’ve had to earn all the respect from the guys. They tell me, ‘It’s not every day that you see a female logger.’”
A typical job can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on the number of acres and the number of trees that need to be cut down. Nation said the length also depends on the weather. When conditions are too wet, the hazards for the loggers increase, so they wait until the weather gets drier.
She said there have been some close calls for her while on the job at Southern Belle Logging.
“But I think everybody that has been logging has had that,” she said.
Nation has lived in Lebanon since she was 5 years old, when her family moved to the area from Marion County in Indiana.
She said one of her scarier moments on the job happened earlier this year.
“Back in January I was at a job site, [and] my chainsaw kicked back and hit my left foot. I was off my foot for about three months.”
She said that was the first time she’d ever been injured while working.
Currently Southern Belle Logging is on a job in Kansas, which Nation said they began in April, when she was able to put weight back on her injured foot. She said she also gets help from her son from time to time on job sites. She’s currently waiting for him to return home from his station in the Army at Fort Riley, Kansas.
She was also recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and said sometimes the condition makes it hard for her to work.
“It can be pretty hard. Some days I just want to sit down and cry and just give up. I have a lot of muscle spasms. I have to try to stay cool at all times,” said Nation.
She said she tries to “work through the pain.”