Interview with Danny Henry

Dublin Core


Interview with Danny Henry


Hanford Site (Wash.)
Hanford (Wash.)
Nuclear weapons plants--Environmental aspects--Washington (State)--Hanford Site.
Nuclear instruments & methods


An interview with Danny Henry conducted as part of the Hanford Oral History Project. The Hanford Oral History Project was sponsored by the Mission Support Alliance and the United States Department of Energy.


Hanford Oral History Project at Washington State University Tri-Cities




Those interested in reproducing part or all of this oral history should contact the Hanford History Project at, who can provide specific rights information for this item.



Date Modified

2016-06-1: Metadata v1 created – [J.G.]


The Hanford Oral History Project operates under a sub-contract from Mission Support Alliance (MSA), who are the primary contractors for the US Department of Energy's curatorial services relating to the Hanford site. This oral history project became a part of the Hanford History Project in 2015, and continues to add to this US Department of Energy collection.

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Robert Bauman


Danny Henry


Washington State University - Tri-Cities


Northwest Public Television | Henry_Danny  

HenryMy name is Danny Henry. Spelling is D-A-N-N-Y. Middle initial is R for Ray, R-A-Y, Henry, H-E-N-R-Y. 

Bauman: All right. Thank you. And my name's Robert Bauman, and we're conducting this interview on the campus of Washington State University, Tri-Cities on July 2nd of 2014. So let's start maybe by talking about how and when your family first came to the Tri-Cities. When that was, and why they came. 

Henry: Okay. Actually, my father first of all came to the Tri-Cities. And he came to the Tri-Cities, I believe it was somewhere around '48. It was in the mid or late 40s. And he actually came out from the South, from Arkansas--Atkins, Arkansas, Polk County. And he was married to my mom at that time, but she stayed back in the South, and he came out to work for the government during the war effort. And he worked out here for some period of time. I don't know how long, but he liked it out here. And so once his mission was done, he went back to the South. And then later years, came back out and found work with the railroad. And then eventually he started working construction. And he became a laborer, and worked construction. Then he came back out to the site, and worked at N Reactor for some period of time. And I can even remember back in the 60s when John Fitzgerald Kennedy came out here, the President, to give a speech about the N Reactor. I was a kid. I think I was probably about seven or eight years old, maybe 10, somewhere around there. And then he decided to stay out here. When he came back out to the Northwest, back out to Washington, decided to stay out here and got work, and then sent for my mom, and she came out. And so they made a life and stayed on. 

Bauman: Hm. Do you know how he originally heard about Hanford? It's a long way from Arkansas. 

HenryMy understanding from my older brother, which is 20 years older than me, he said that he actually received direction from the government, or allowance from the government, and received gas credit, or chips, or whatever, in order to drive out and to show up at the Hanford site at some designated time. And so him and another one of his friends both drove out, and they went to work out here during in the 40s. 

BaumanSo he was recruited in some way or something, right? 

HenryYes. Yeah. 

BaumanSo then you were born in the Tri-Cities? 

HenryYes, I was born in Pasco, Washington in 1953, May 7, 1953. And I graduated Pasco High School, went on to college, and graduated from Evergreen State College, and then returned back here to the Tri-Cities and found employment out at Hanford. First of all, it was with Rockwell, and with the fire department. I'll back up a little bit. During the summer of when I was in high school, two summers, I did work out for J. A. Jones at that time in the 300 Area, and I actually worked as a printer, or learned—as a summer job, and learned how to print on these old, offset printers. And did that for two summers. And so when—actually I had graduated from college and came back. While I was at college, I did receive an emergency medical technician certificate through the State of Washington, and so it was a good shoo-in to go to work for the fire department as a firefighter. So let's see. It was Chief Good at that time who hired me. And at that time there was only a few that had EMT certifications. And Chief Good had told me that there was no intention at that time to actually have the fire department respond for emergency care. They had always called the Richland fire department, or Kadlec, or some other emergency services. And so I didn't really see a whole bunch of future in staying there at the fire department. So I heard that they were hiring down at N Reactor for reactor operators, and the pay was a bit better. So I thought that would be a challenge. And so I applied. 

BaumanAnd so you got a job there, then? 

HenryYeah. I started working at N Reactor, I believe it was late 1978, and went into the reactor operator program, and eventuallywell, started in the fuels department, and then had the opportunity to get into the certification program for the control room. And decided I would take on the challenge. There was a lot talk back and forth with the other operators. Some was pro and some was con. No, it's not really better to work in the control room. It's better to work in fuels. But I seen a challenge of being able to actually operate a reactor. And I really wanted that certification. And so I did go in the certification program. And after, I think, two years, two and a half years—I think the class started out, I think it was like 24, 26. And the final certified reactor operators, I think there was six of us. I could probably name them. Yeah. And all the other operators dropped out, and they went back to fuels, or they got into the trades, or just left the company. But I stayed on and was certified. It was very, very challenging, very hard. 

Bauman: Right. And so how long was that training program again? 

HenryThe training program, I think it was about a year and a half, two years. With all of the qualifications, you had to be trained on all the different systems. You had to get checked out by the senior operators, and they would ask you questions, and make sure you were proficient in every one of those before you got the sign-off. So you had to complete all of that, as well as take tests, periodic tests, on the systems. And when you had finished all your actual qualifications, then you were allowed to take the eight-hour exam. 

Bauman: Oh, okay. Hm. 

Henry And so once I had finished up mine, there was testing. And I took the eight-hour exam, and passed the eight-hour exam. I think I probably took about 10 hours to finish it, but that was fine. And passed the exam. And from there, you were then allowed to do a walk through, where a senior trainer would take you out into the facility, and basically ask you anything he wanted to, all the way from the front face, to the rear face, to the confinement valves, to the emergency cooling system, and anything in components or valves, and circuitry, and all of that. And I passed that, and did quite well. I spent a lot of time actuallywhen I was an operator, the duties primarily was laundry, because there was a lot of SWPs, or radioactive clothing that was used. So someone always had to maintain laundry. And then also some of the duties was housekeeping. Some of the duties was actually patrol, where actually you went through the reactor, and made sure all of the outside systems and everything was in correct alignment, and there wasn't any out-of-spec conditions. So I spent a lot of time out in the reactor. At the time when I was out, I took it upon myself to take prints with me, and actually verify and look at a lot the systems out there, so I knew them pretty well. So that was one of the things that really worked for me when I did my walk-through. I was really ready for that. And I think I scored highest in my walk-through of the three tests. The final test was the oral exam. And the oral exam consisted of a senior person from training, senior person from operations, senior person from nuclear safety. And they all sat on your board. And I think there was one other individual also, I think may have been quality assurance, maybe. And basically they sit in a room like this, and you sit in front of a table, and they ask you questions, and you answer the questions. And they had the choice of asking you whatever questions they chose to, as long as it related to reactor operations, up to and including the electrical distribution systems that powered or brought power to the reactor, as well as the power going out, steam systems, all of the different auxiliary systems part of the plant. But anyway, I passed that exam also, the oral board. And so then I was granted my certification. 

BaumanA pretty grueling process. [LAUGHTER] 

HenryIt was, very much. [LAUGHTER] 

Bauman: And so how long were you an operator, then, how long did you work? 

HenryActually, as a certified operatorI maintained my certification, I believe, for a year and a half, maybe two years. There was a requalification. I think it was about a year and a half. I did operate the reactor, the nuclear console, the AA console. That probably doesn't mean anything to you, but the water systems, or the actual nuclear panel, where you actually pulled and maintained power, and adjusted power, and also a lot of the air balance systems, and the secondary systems, where the steam was produced and sent over to Washington State Public Power. We sold steam. It was a dual purpose reactor. And worked on all of the panels. 

BaumanAnd so before you were an operator, you worked in fuels, you said. 

Henry: Yeah. 

Bauman: So what sort of work did that entail? 

HenryThe fuels operation--[COUGH] excuse me—was actually--the fuel that would come, that would be the spent fuel that was discharged out of the rear of the reactor would come out, go down, and go what was called a trampoline, and go into the water, and hit this metal mesh chain type of trampoline to slow it down. These fuel elements were, I think, as I remember, somewhere around 50-60 pounds. So coming out of the back of the reactor, they were there pretty heavy. And so then they would roll down into conveyor carts, and that's one of the duties as a fuel operator, doing charge discharge. You'd basically take the fuel after it went through the cart, move it out, index it, take it out, and then place it in various different storage compartments in the back face of the reactor, or actually in the basin, what was called the fuels basin. And then also--that was the primary job of a fuels operator, yeah. 

Bauman: And so how long total did you work at Hanford, then? 

HenryTotal time at Hanford is 35 years. I've been out here 35 years. It's been a long haul. 

Bauman: Yeah. And so you started in the late 60s? 

Henry'78 or '79. I believe my actual start date was 8/1/1978. 

BaumanSo you were there for a little while, and at some point the mission shifts to clean up. 

Henry: Yeah, yeah. 

Bauman: How did that impact the sorts of things you were doing? 

HenryWell, one of the things about being--as an operator, is that you work shift work. And so I actually worked shift work, I think, for like three years, rotating shift, A, B, C, D; graveyard, swings, days. So I never got used to that. I had a family. I was just starting a family and stuff, and I wanted to be able to spend a lot more time with my kids and my wife on normal hours. So I looked for another job at N Reactor, and there was an opening for actually a process standard engineer/nuclear safety engineer. And so I applied for it. I got the job, and was responsible for maintaining standards, process standards, which is day-to-day operations. If there was any changes or deviations to the operations, there had to be approval. There was an approval process. And so I was kind of responsible for maintaining that, reviewing it, and then approving it through the control room, through my management, in order to make any changes to reactor operations. Pretty much that was that job. It was straight days. I liked that. Five days, I was off the weekends. It was great. And there was some other opportunities also during that time in that position. I wanted to mention, I had a very good mentor. His name was John Long, and he was the nuclear safety engineer, or nuclear safety manager, manager of nuclear safety at that time. And John was very instrumental in assisting and helping me, and I really do appreciate his efforts. He's deceased now. But anyway, John helped me quite a bit when I was in that position. There was other opportunities also. I moved from there, and becameactually went into the planning aspects of outages. And so the reactor would run for so long, sometimes there was a planned outage, sometimes an unplanned outage. Unplanned outages usually were because the reactor scram for some reason. Maintenance had to be done, something had to be fixed or repaired. So for the actual planned outages, I became a planner/scheduler, or took a position as a planner/scheduler, and actually planned to do various different maintenance. What that consisted of was drawing out a long-term plan, and when the reactor was down, to manage that plan, and for the systems to be fixed, repaired, coordinated for the least amount of time so the reactor could actually come back up and running. We were being paid. And it was one thing I wanted to mention about N Reactor. There was a lot, a lot of good spirit. The people who worked out there, they really knew that they were on a mission. This was during the Cold War, and we knew what we were doing, and it was just a lot of good spirit. You know, when you'd ride the bus out--by the way, I rode the bus back and forth. And when you'd be on the bus, and the reactor was down, and you'd get past the fire department, and you'd make that last left turn, people would just kind of wake up. And they'd be looking, and they were looking to see if that green light goes on. There wason the board, there was a green or red light. And someone up front would say, yeah, we're up. And it was just a lot of that kind of spirit of wanting the reactor to run. I really, really liked that. So being a part of the--doing the planning and scheduling, or a position as planner/schedule was a real shoo-in to going to work as outage manager. I then became an outage manager, where actually I managed the outage center. And the outage center basically coordinated, on a daily basis, on a shift basis--there was six of us, and I guess you could say we were kind of elite, we were very picked to run that, because it was so critical to the missionand your responsibilities was to make sure that things got done as scheduled, as planned, and that you had the craft resources to do them. You coordinated with the operations folks, the fuel folks, the engineering. That was your job, to coordinate all those efforts. A lot of the things that happened in the plant and the repairs actually required that you have engineers in place in case there was questions, technical questions, changes to paperwork that had to be authorized, and so on and so forth. So that was part of the job as outage--primary job as an outage manager is to make sure of that. And you reported directly to upper management, and sometimes DOE. So you were responsible on a daily basis to coordinate and have those meetings, and ensure that work got done and statused at the end of the day. So shortly after that, they announced thator probably, I guess, maybe about six to eight months in that position--they announced that N Reactor--after Chernobyl--they announced the N Reactor would no longer be on the same mission, and it was going to shut down. So I moved from there to another job. I actually left N Reactor, and went to 200 Area, and worked as a nuclear safety engineer, over for—I'm trying to think right now. I can remember who I worked for. I worked for Arlen Shade. But actually, my responsibilities was over B Plant WESF. And at that time they had just started to bring back the capsules that was basically sent down to--I forget exactly--Decatur, I think. Yeah. And anyway, these capsules, there was some problems with them. But anyway, they were bring them back. And so I was right as part of that. I don't know what happened to that mission, but I served there as a nuclear safety engineer with oversight responsibilities over people at WESF for a period of time. And then after that, let's see. I almost have to look at my resume to think. 

Bauman: [LAUGHTER]  

HenryIt's really been--it's actually been that long. Of course you're going to be cutting and doing clips and stuff. 

Bauman: Yeah. 

Henry: So I can just-- Oh, by the way I have a--I actually pulled this out. This was actually my certification. Wally Ruff's name over to the right there kind of faded. It must have gotten wet. 

Bauman: Oh, yeah, huh. 

Henry: That's the original certification. 

Bauman: [INAUDIBLE] 

Henry: What's that? 

Bauman--the control room on the-- 

HenryYeah. Yeah. So I didn't know exactly what you guys would want, but I just grabbed some stuff. This was my 30-year recognition with Fluor. I don't have a 35. I don't know. They didn't give out a 35-year recognition. I don't know why. Let's see. Where am I? Process standards, senior outage planner, outage manager of nuclear safety, principal engineer. Oh! Yeah. Then after that there wasactually, when I was--as the nuclear safety principal engineer oversight over B Plant WESF, there was a position that came available for a manager for OSHA compliance, OSHA safety and health program. We had previously been benefited, let me say, with headquarters coming out, and they were called the tagger team. And they basically came out to the site, and they went through the whole site, and they were doing assessments. They had a very, very large group, and they assessed the site, with the effort to give feedback to the improvements that needed to be done at Hanford. Well, part of the actions, or corrective actions, was to develop an OSHA type of assessment program that would look at occupational safety and health, industrial hygiene, and in some aspects, I think, fire protection. Anyway, there was a position open, and I did not have the background in occupational safety and health, but I talked to my manager, and talked to my manager, and finally I convinced him to put me in as a temporary position, just as an acting manager. And so he went ahead and authorized that. So I then moved from the outer areas down to 300 Area, and from there, he basically said, okay, Danny, you want this position. You think you can do it? He says, okay, here's a stack of resumes. You have two staff and that's it, and a student worker. Okay, so you need to first of all hire and find some people that are qualified to be inspectors in occupational safety and health, and hygiene. And then you need to have all this done, by the way, and a program developed in four months. And so that was quite a challenge. It was really a challenge. I did hirewent outside and hired some people, and they were good people. We were a very good team. I didn't know about occupational safety and health, but they taught me. I knew I could hire people that were smarter than me. And I actually hired--and maybe for reference, one of the people was Judy Larson I don't know if she still is living. But she was a certified industrial hygienist. She was working for PNNL, and she transferred over. I also hired a student that--well, no, he actually had graduated with a mechanical engineering degree, and he wanted to do fire protection. So I said if he came over I'd get him trained up. And so he came over. And I also hired another individual that was an industrial hygienistor two other individuals, a Clinton Stewart, and the first occupational safety and health person I hired, his name was Steve Norling. And he would be a good person to interview in the future. I would recommend that you do that. 

BaumanHow do you spell the last name? 

HenryNorling. N-O-R-L-I-N-G. Steve. He's a good guy. He still works PRC. I haven't seen him in a few years, but I think he's still out there. But anyway, we developed a program. We put the program together, hired a contractor to actually help us with the writing of the program, and we set it up. And we actually went out in the site, and first of all, we had to compile all of the buildings, because we were basically responsible for all of the Westinghouse people, and all of their facility. So we had to figure out all of the facilities in the whole site. And then we had to have some kind of system to figure which ones we would go look at first, based upon risk. And so we developed that program, and to make a long story short, the tagger team came back out to check the corrective actions on all of the site, and when they got to us, our program, they had no findings, absolutely no findings, zero findings. And they only had one recommendation, in that we needed to involve the employees more. And so then we transitioned into the Voluntary Protection Program. But that was very outstanding. And that really impressed my management. So then from acting manager, I was made manager of the organization, and proceeded on to continue my career. 

BaumanSo what time frame was this, roughly, then? [LAUGHTER] 

HenryOh, let's see. That was May 1991 to September 1992. 

Bauman: Okay. 

Henry: Okay. Let's see. From there, I transitioned into basically manager of safety programs assessments, which developed. And basically our mission at that point was to develop baseline hazard assessment programs for facilities. And basically, for each facility that you had operations in, to go and do a baseline hazard of everything, both the occupational safety, industrial hygiene, the nuclear aspects of it, and any other types of hazards, so that for that facility, all of the known hazards of that facility would be known and could be communicated, and basically programs and systems set up in place to keep the workers safe. From September 1992 to February 1994, I worked in that position. And after that, I worked as the manager of the Voluntary Protection Program, or actually manager of Industrial Safety Planning, which consisted of managing the Voluntary Protection Program for Westinghouse and for Fluor Hanford, doing their contract transition. And of course the Voluntary Protection Program is still out here on the site, as you probably well know, and there's different--but I was very instrumental in getting that program off zero. After that, I worked as operations engineer. I transitioned and went back out to the site, to 105 K-East and K-West. I worked as an operation specialist in development of the Canister Storage Facility and the Cold Vacuum Drying Facility out at K-Basins and at 200 East, is where the Canister Storage Building is. And then also K-East and K-West storage facility. I was assigned to the shift office, and worked as an OE, Operating Engineer, basically under the direction of a shift manager. And basically managed the facility's work activities, coordinated those on a daily basis to get work done, assigning work to the craft personnel, releasing work packages during lockout/tagout, and various different aspects of operations for that facility, managing that facility. After that, let's see, that was from 1998 to 2002. And from January 2002 to present, I've worked as a management assessment coordinator. And responsibilities are primarily to develop the Management Assessment Program and Integrated Evaluation Plan database for DOE-RL. And let me explain, that Integrated Evaluation Plan is basically a database that takes RL's assessments and our assessments, and basically puts them together, so we have one integrated plan. 

Bauman: I see. 

Henry: And that effort is to actually benefit, or to alleviate, or eliminate redundancy in assessments, teaming with the site and doing various different assessments, rather than they doing one and we doing the same one. Yeah. So that's currently where I'm at right now. 

BaumanSo you've had several different sorts of positions. You've worked at N Reactors, and K-Basins, and different parts of the site. Of the different jobs you had, over the 35 years, different places you've worked, what waswas there a specific job or place that was sort of the most challenging and/or most rewarding, that you got the most sense of accomplishment or reward? 

HenryYeah, there was. I would have to say probably the reactor operations was probably, I'd say, number one, because I know there was no other African Americans that had ever certified at N Reactor, and then later on I found there wasn't any others in any of the other facilities of the plants. So I felt very good about that. And it was very challenging. The second area would have been in developing the OSHA compliance program, because that was basically, I knew basically nothing. And I had to go find people in order to work that were much smarter than me, and be able to develop a program that would actually meet the muster of headquarters when they came back out. And it was very challenging. I stayed up quite a few nights thinking about it and worrying about it. And yeah, it was very challenging. But it was a very, very well-put-together program, and it met everything that they were looking for. So I'd have to say those two positions were the most challenging, yes. 

BaumanWhen you were talking about working at the N Reactor, you talked about riding the bus, and the sort of spirit, the sense of mission, I think, in the Cold War-- 


BaumanSo when the Cold War ended in 1989, 1990, did that sort of sense of mission change? Did it shift somewhere? 

HenryI guess I couldn't really expound on that, because what I was speaking of was during the time I was working at N Reactor. And once the Cold War ended, I was at that time working--when did the Cold War end? That was-- 

BaumanWell, I guess it depends, right? The Berlin Wall came down in '89. 

Henry: When the wall came down. Okay. Yeah. I waswhere was I at at that time? Yeah, I was actually up in the 200 Area. I was oversight. I was a part of an appraisal team doing integrated safety appraisals out of the 200 Area. So I had transitioned away from N Reactor some years before that. So I didn't really feel a difference with what I was doing. The real thing that I seen that really affected a lot of the people at N Reactor was when they announced that it was not going to—it no longer had a mission. It wasn't going to be restarted. The reactor was run very hard, run very well, and produced a lot of power, and was very good in its mission. And there was just a lot of pride there. And when that was announced, there were a lot of people that really was hurt by that, because it was a reason to come to work. It was really a reason to come, and a reason to work for something. 

BaumanI want to go back to something you talked about early when you started talking. And you mentioned President Kennedy's visit when he dedicated the N Reactor. So do you remember that? Did you-- 

HenryI actually remember that very well. And in fact, it was my father, and my mother, and my sister, and me, and my friend, Ronnie Brown. I haven't seen him in years, but I understand he's doing well. My dad brought us all out to the site, and drove with all of the, what seeming like thousands and thousands of cars, you know, we were just kids, and all the way out to N Reactor. And yes, I definitely remember that. I can remember the helicopters coming in, and the dust flying, and all that. And I didn't know that President Kennedy's hair was red. [LAUGHTER] But on that day, seeing him that close, because me and my friend, we kind of wormed all the way up as closewe were just little tiny kids, so people let us by. And we got up there, and we were able to stand up onthere was like different seating that people had brought. And we just kind of stepped up on one of the little seats that were there, and we had to get our heads up over the crowds. And we could see him when he stepped out of the helicopter, and he walked over to the podium. I can remember that, just like the yesterday. I also remember that day very well because my sister—it must've been over 100 degrees there--my sister was suffering from heat exhaustion. I remember when we actually came back, my mother was taking care of her. She was getting water into her, and everything. That was a very vivid day. That was a very, very, very good day. 

BaumanWhat I also wanted to ask you was, like growing up in Pasco in the 50s and 60s, was it a segregated place? Or was it—what was it like? 

HenryNot when I came along. Not actually in the 60s. I hear stories about the way it was, but I don't know. I went to Pasco High School. I went to Stevens Junior High School. It was all integrated. My grade school was Whittier. It was integrated. It just was East Pasco, and it was primarily blacks. But also there was Hispanics and whites all went to that school, but it was predominantly black. Then after, actually, when I finished sixth grade, they divided sixth grade, and then seventh, eighth, and ninth. It was junior high school. I was selected, because of where I lived in East Pasco. I was assigned to go to Stevens Junior High School, which was, at that time, way across town, and nothing, hardly anything around it. So we rode the bus over to Stevens. But prior to that, the majority of blacks, African Americans, Hispanics, basically went to McLoughlin Junior High School. But McLoughlin at that time was what is now Pasco City Hall. That used to be McLoughlin. [LAUGHTER] But my brother goes back, I mean my brother's deceased. And he passed away, in fact, about a year and three months ago. 

Bauman: This was your brother who was about 20 years older? 

HenryYeah. He actually wentthe high school at that time was McLoughlin, which then became City of Pasco. 

Bauman: Okay. [LAUGHTER] 

Henry: And Whittier was the grade school, junior high school when he went to school. I do have some pictures of him. He was part of the patrol that went out and let the kids across the street and stuff. Yeah, he had the little patrol hat on, and all that. I have all those pictures of him when he was really young. And by the way, my brother, he is 20 years older than me, but he graduated from Pasco High. He then entered the Army--or no, he was drafted. He was drafted, and he actually fought in the Korean War. And he corrected me. Every time I said Korean War, he said, no, it's the Korean conflict. It was not a war. [LAUGHTER] And he served two terms in Vietnam, and was wounded. 

BaumanWhat was his first name? 

HenryThurman. In fact I have a—here—obituary out of the paper. But he had what I consider a pretty impressive military career. 

Bauman: Yeah, 20 years of active service. 

HenryYes. Two terms in Vietnam, a very unpopular war. Me growing up in the 60s, it was, gee, I've got a brother that's overseas fighting, with all the racial strife and stuff here in the United States. But he was very proud of his country, and he was willing to go and do whatever he was assigned to do. 

BaumanAnd so you had an older brother, and how many other siblings did you have? 

HenryI had a sister. I actually had a half-brother and a half-sister, that—they didn't live here. They lived--Margie lived in Wichita, Kansas. And my other brother, half-brother, lived in--I think he lived in Wichita, Kansas, too. I didn't really get to know him that well. I got to know Margie pretty well. Then I had my sister, Marilyn. She graduated from Pasco High School. A teacher for 34 years in Yakima. She just retired about three years ago, I think. And still living in Yakima. But she taught school. And those were all of my siblings. 

BaumanSo would you say that Pasco, Tri-Cities was a good community to grow up in? 

HenryYeah, I think so. I really think so. No, I don't have any--I have to just--not so much the community as much as pointing back to my parents. I think I had very--I've seen other people, my friends with different parents and stuff. And I think I had some pretty good parents. My dad was very industrial. He worked construction as a laborer, but he had rentals. And he had--and of course, I came along much later. But he had houses and rentals, but he worked construction. And him and his best friend, Mr. Louzell Johnson. He was a bricklayer. My dad was a laborer. They kind of was a team. And they worked, and they built a lot of houses throughout Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland back in the 50s and 60s. And he worked on a lot of the dams on the Snake River. 

Bauman: Oh, really? 

Henry:  The building of a lot of the dams. And I can just remember--well, I can remember my mother talking, and also my dad. And on Sundays we would take drives, and he would take us way out to where the dams were being built, and stuff like this, for something to do on Sunday for the family. And I didn't pay any attention to it really. But I can remember. I can remember. Those were very good times. My mother, she worked at the Navy base that was in Pasco. Have you heard 

Bauman: Yes! 

Henry: --that there was a Navy base there? She worked in the laundry at the Navy base. And then we came along, my sister and me, and so she just stayed home and took care of us, and my dad worked. But I spent a lot of years painting, and fixing hot water tanks, and unplugging sinks when I was a kid. I was very cheap labor. [LAUGHTER] So I learned to do that stuff really early in life. So that's pretty much my parents. They were very good people. Anybody you ask, they were very good people. There’s the obituary of my mom. I didn't get the obituary of my dad. I didn't find it. I have it somewhere, but there's this picture here. Anyway, go ahead. I just—I’m kind of rambling. So you can--it's a good thing you're editing this, and you can cut out all the-- 

BaumanAre there any other events? You talked about the JFK visit. But any other events that sort of stand out in your mind from growing up, or from your years working at Hanford? 

HenryYou know, I can't really--not really. Not really anything that really, really stands out. 

BaumanSo overall, then, in looking back at your 35 years working at Hanford, how do you assess it as sort of a place to work? 

HenryOverall, I'd say that Hanford, for me, it's been a very good place to work. I was given opportunity. You know, I had opportunity. And anyone that's going to achieve anything in life, if they prepare themselves, and when the opportunity comes, they step forward and they take it. I mean you can't much ask for much more than that. My dad gave me some advice, of course, when I first started working out there. You know, he said, make sure you keep your eyes open, and you watch everything around you. And do not worry about if there's people against you, because God will always put one person there for you. And I always remember he told me that. And so I think about that, that different times during the time I worked out there, the people that have been there, that have assisted me and mentored me, and helped me to continue to do better work, a better job, and basically to feed my family and keep on living, as my mother would say. Yeah. I can't think of any other outstanding--there's been a lot of accomplishments, just small little milestones that have been made in safety and our management's commitment to safety, and our management's commitment to the workers, and making sure that they are heard, and that they're actually dealt with, and talked to, and gotten back to when they have safety concerns. And I guess there's a lot of pros and cons about that. But I see safety as being not just the number one thing at Hanford, but being integrated in all that we do at Hanford, is how I see it. And so I know there's a lot of things—I've seen the media. I've seen there are things that are going on out there that I don't know about. I have not worked in some of those areas. But for all of the areas that I have worked and been in, that has been the primary concern, is safety. And you compare to what we have out at Hanford, compare it to out in the real world, and we have a lot of commitment and concern, and actually management standing up, and taking responsibility for things, and actually dealing with them, trying to correct them, and working to try to make events or things that happen not reoccur. I actually brought a--you can get back to your questions, but I'll forget. But I actually sent off--you know, I seen it on television, and then a fellow employee told me about the Cold War Patriots? 

Bauman: Oh, yeah. 

Henry: And you probably know. I got my little certificate. And I got, actually, the pin. Whoops! I actually got this pin that came with it. And I have itof course I can't bring my badge in here, because it's a Hanford badge. But I stuck my little pin on the badge, and so I thought that was kind of neat. 

Bauman: Yeah. Actually, I talked to the Cold War Patriots last week about the project here. Well, I don't have any other questions for you. 

Henry: Oh, okay! 

Bauman: Unless there's something else that we haven't talked about yet, or I didn't ask you about that you think is important, to-- We can--Eric can actually film some of this sort of once we’re done talking. 

Eric: Yeah, anything that you showed him we’d want to get photocopied. 

Henry: Okay, sure. 

Bauman: They could always integrate that, then, into the interview. 

Henry: Okay, sure. Sure. 

BaumanAnyway, thanks very much for coming in-- 

Henry: You bet. 

Bauman--and doing the interview. I really appreciate it. 

Henry: Okay, yeah. You know, if you don't step forward and make sure that you're a part of history, you won't be. [LAUGHTER] 

BaumanAbsolutely. So how did you--I was going to ask you, how did you hear about the project? Did [INAUDIBLE] contact you? 

HenryActually, I was at a PZAC meeting--President's Zero Accident Council 

Bauman: Oh, okay. 

Henry: --meeting--and there was an individual that works-- 



Bit Rate/Frequency

220 kbps

Hanford Sites

300 Area
200 Area
N Reactor
105 K-East
105 K-West
K Basins
200 East

Years in Tri-Cities Area


Years on Hanford Site


Names Mentioned

Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald)
Long, John
Ruff, Wally
Larson, Judy
Stewart, Clinton
Norling, Steve
Brown, Ronnie
Henry, Thurman




Hanford Oral History Project at Washington State University Tri-Cities, “Interview with Danny Henry,” Hanford History Project, accessed June 24, 2024,