- Associated Press - Saturday, December 26, 2015

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - If you’re ever in trouble, Thomas Temple is the guy you want on your side. Calm, strong, intelligent and capable, this ex-marine combat veteran will have your back in just about any situation. Whether you need help shooting your way out of the zombie apocalypse or require the services of an ace criminal defense attorney, Temple’s your guy.

A boy with a goal

Temple was born in Louisiana and raised in Culpepper, Virginia, and grew up shooting and hunting with his dad. He started with a BB gun, as most kids do, and graduated to using a .22-caliber rifle with the Boy Scouts. By 14, he knew he wanted to join the Marines, so he enrolled in the Marine Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp in high school. Temple’s shooting skills earned him the captain’s spot on the JROTC rifle team, and he enlisted in the Marines once he finished high school at 17.

“I joined when I was a kid. One, out of a sense of patriotic duty, and two, out of a desire for adventure. I tell people I watched too many Rambo movies as a kid,” Temple said as he prepared for an evidentiary hearing at the Rabinowitz Courthouse.

Temple served four years as a machine gunner and rifleman and was deployed three times - once to the Mediterranean, and twice to the Persian Gulf. He saw active combat in the first Gulf War.

“It was my kind of war because it was very short,” Temple said dryly.

Temple and his wife, Amy, met as kids at a church summer camp. They were pen pals for years until “the friendship turned to romance,” and they conducted a long-distance courtship while he served abroad. They were married after Temple left the Marines at 22.

Temple worked odd jobs while he put Amy through college and was at various times a lifeguard, cabinet maker, security guard and mail carrier. He enrolled in George Mason University at 24, and earned his undergraduate and law degrees there.

Temple also shot on the George Mason Trap and Skeet Team.

“You wouldn’t know I’m a former NCAA athlete to look at me,” Temple said, laughing.

Temple was in the National Guard for seven years after leaving the service, and competed on the Guard’s pistol and rifle teams, going to the National Championships for “four or five years running.”

North to adventure

Temple applied for a civilian internship with the Army Judge Advocate General program during his second year of law school and was able to choose where he would spend his internship. He picked Alaska because he’d always been fascinated with its “adventurous reputation.”

“I didn’t know the difference between Anchorage and Fairbanks, which were our only two options. Somebody had already selected Anchorage so I took Fairbanks by default. I’m so glad I did, because whereas I love Fairbanks, I’m not too keen on Anchorage,” Temple said.

Temple spent summer 2000 at Fort Wainwright and “fell in love with the place.” He had his wife visit that summer to “check it out” and then he returned briefly the next winter to see if he could handle 40 below zero weather. As soon as he graduated law school, the couple sold their home, put their things in a trailer and headed up the highway.

“There’s always the excitement and adventure of not knowing what’s going to happen. We moved up here without a place to live, without a job, and just figured we’d start fresh. Alaska seemed like a place that, even today, you can do that,” Temple said.

Alaska law

Temple took the Alaska bar exam and his first child was born soon afterward. He was hired by the district attorney’s office almost immediately, and after a month here was sent to Barrow. He spent almost two years there as an assistant district attorney until resigning from his position to spend more time with his growing family. While he and Amy loved the chance to “live the full Alaska experience” in Barrow, his dedication to the job caused him to miss the birth of his second child, a loss he still regrets.

The couple returned to Fairbanks and Temple went to work again as an ADA. He left in 2004 to join the William R. Satterberg law firm as a criminal defense attorney, a move he does not regret.

“Bill’s an interesting character and an amazing mentor. I’ve never had a better relationship with a boss. I have the freedom to handle the cases my way, and we get to brainstorm together. I love my job,” Temple said.

Temple said he likes being a lawyer because “I don’t want to dig ditches.”

“It’s a great profession for someone who wants to get paid to read, write, think, talk and argue, which is what I would probably be doing anyway,” Temple said.

Family man

Temple now has five children ranging from 6 to 14 years old. He and Amy chose to name their girls after spices and their boys after guns, which is how they ended up with Cinnamon, Sage, Saffron, Cayenne and Ruger. Amy, who has a master’s degree in gifted education, home schools the children.

“She’s very qualified to do the job. I’m the principal, but we have very smart and well-behaved children, so I don’t have to do much disciplining,” Temple said.

The children are involved in Tang Soo Do and gymnastics, and Temple has taught them all to shoot. He competes in three or four tactical and practical shooting matches a year with the Alaska Interior Marksmanship Committee, though he said he’s “not very competitive anymore.”

The family likes to spend as much time outdoors as possible in the summer, either at their 133 acre property north of Fairbanks or on RV trips to Kenai. They also go on hunting trips together and have recently taken up cross-country skiing. Temple said his other hobbies include “chauffeuring the kids to their activities, cooking and barbecuing, but mostly eating.”

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com


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