An Eagle Scout. A long-distance runner. A firefighter. A high school graduate. An unofficial youth pastor.
All before his 18th birthday.
Eli Metz has accomplished a lot as he prepares to graduate from Glide High School.
He and a few friends – namely Brandon Byrd, Dylan Davis, and Nathan Masiel – helped resuscitate the Glide High School boys’ cross country program in the spring of 2019, and that fall that team finished fifth at the Championships. State Class 2A at Lane Community College. at Eugene. It was the first time Glide had fielded a team in state competition since 1999.
Four months later, the world was turned on his ear. A global pandemic. Distance learning. Extracurricular activities canceled.
“This year has been quite strange,” Metz said. “This (spring) has been a bit more normal. Not as weird as it could be.
Metz’s parents – Dan and Melissa – moved their family to the Glide area of Shady Cove, north of Medford, when Metz was entering third grade. Used to living in rural areas, Metz immediately seemed to fit in.
“He’s just a super welcoming child to others. He cares about the well-being of others, ”said Kristina Haug, principal of Glide High School. “It’s something he came here with. It’s always nice to have someone like that here.
Eli was active in Boy Scout Troop 112 – under then-troop leader Stu Carlson – was one of six Boy Scouts, along with his older brother Calvin, to achieve the rank of eagle last November. His plan was to move a tool shed used by the troop to the Church on the Uphill, a Nazarene church east of Roseburg that was having problems with the theft of equipment.
(Author’s note: At this point in the interview, Lois Mai, the widow of longtime Glide HS track and cross-country trainer Maynard Mai, asked Eli to be a usher at the memorial service of Maynard Mai May 22. Eli humbly agreed.)
“He’s not very attentive, but he’s the first to step in and volunteer,” Haug said.
Metz is currently training to become a full-fledged volunteer firefighter with the Glide Rural Fire Protection District. He started this training as a young “explorer” two years ago, and the hope is to become a full volunteer on his 18th birthday, July 28th.
“You just give it a direction and it goes,” said Glide Rural Fire Chief Ted Damewood. “Surprisingly, he doesn’t take a lot of advice. It’s damn cool. He trains alongside us as a firefighter. He listens to what you ask and he does it.
Metz said he plans to attend Umpqua Community College, enrolling in the school’s emergency medical services program with the ambition of eventually earning a place with the Roseburg Fire Department.