Þröstur Reynisson moved to Patreksfjörður when he was 22 years old with his 15 year old brother from a farm in the east of town to work in the fishing industry. Although his family still owns the farm, and he still returns in the autumn to help with collecting the sheep, he preferred living in Patreksfjörður and working in fish because, as he explains, there was not much to do on the farm throughout the winter. Now he has been in Patreksfjörður for the past 30 years. He met his wife here, and has two boys and a daughter that is studying to be a doctor.
Þröstur's work in the fishing industry lasted for 25 years during which he worked mostly in the processing plant, and on the boats when there was need for an extra hand. He left the fishing industry about five years ago (he was in need of a change), and began working for the town maintenance office. Along with a couple of co-workers, he takes care of repairing the roads in town, drainages, Christmas lights and other essentials. Virtually everything but the electricity and the phone.
Life in Patreksfjörður offers Þröstur the opportunity to pursue a variety of interests. In addition to his work for the maintenance office, he is also a member of the town's rescue team. Many of the towns in the Westfjords (indeed throughout Iceland) have rescues teams, which provide an important service to residents in the area and which provide members with a social scene with folks who share a similar interest and participate in fund raising, training, and maintenance activities, as well as resuce operations.
In the Patreksfjörður area, the rescue team is particularly prepared to deal with avalanche rescues, and this is one of Þröstur's main areas of speciality. Along this vein, he trains his dog Lassi for avalanche resuce operations. Dogs are often used in rescue operations in two diffierent ways: for avalanche searches and for field searches. Training the dog demands considerable work, particularly in the stages of getting his dog certified for rescue operations. It takes three years of training at two days a week to get a dog certified for rescue work.
When there is snow (which there is something of a lack of this year), Þröstur does snow surveys in the field for the weather service. These involve monitoring the depth and the profile of the snowpack, and taking measurements after snow slides occur. The data he collects is used to forecast avalanches and their potential paths.
While Þröstur helps out during the fall with herding the sheep at his family farm, he also participates in this activity around town. This past year, he participated in a herding of wild sheep which had been living for the past 30 years along the extremely rugged peninsula between Talknafjörður and Patreksfjörður. And often he helps out with the sheep of a wheelchair bound farmer, Ástþór, who lives out in Rauðasandur, to the south on the coast of Breiðafjörður.