Tennessee Park Rangers Association News
2012 Ranger of the Year Nominations
This year there are 6 nominees for Tennessee Park Ranger of the Year. Below you will find each nominee and the letter of recommendation. Please email your vote to Brad.email@example.com before December 10th. The winner of the Ranger of the Year award will be announced at in-service.
Letters of Recommendation:
I would like to nominate Don Campbell for The Ranger of the Year for Tennessee
State Parks. I have worked closely with Don for 13 years now since we opened The
Bear Trace at Harrison Bay. Upon inception, the golf course was managed by an
outside group from Houston, Texas. The golf course was always owned by the State
of Tennessee, however in December of 2005 the State of Tennessee took over
management of the golf course as well. Don has helped to teach me about State of
Tennessee Policies & Procedures during that time. This past year it was
introduced that our Park Managers would oversee the golf courses as well. In
effect that would make Don Campbell my immediate manager as well. Since that
time Don has become more “hands-on” with our property. He has taken a special
interest in our day-to-day operations. He is more inquisitive about our daily
activities and wants to meet with me periodically to discuss our facility needs.
Don is not a micro manager, yet he is always looking for ways to make our
interaction with the public more receptive. He is aware of the needs of our
guests. He looks for ways to enhance our guests’ experience with the golf course
and Harrison Bay State Park. Recently, we had extensive work done with the
1.) Rewired the cart barn for new Yamaha charging system
2.) Re-trenched the fill lines for the clubhouse septic system
3.) Trenched line for ice-maker drain line from clubhouse
4.) Repairs to roof (leaking during heavy storms).
Don has been instrumental with the coordination of these repairs to our facility. He has experience with all of the contractors in this area. Don knows how to get things done and is familiar with policies regarding contracted services. I am not certain of the exact number of years of service that Don has in Tennessee State Parks, (over 20 years), but there is always an answer to any question that I might face. He is my “go-to” man for any situation that I may encounter. I feel very fortunate that we get along so well. This past year The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay had the most rounds ever and the most revenue generated since we opened. I feel that Don has been a part of the reason of why we are so successful.
The key to our success has been good communication. We meet almost daily, even if it is for just a few minutes each day. I look forward to working with him for many years to come. Don Campbell is an outstanding candidate for Ranger of the Year. Do not hesitate to call on me for additional information. Thank you for consideration!
2012 Park Ranger of the Year
I would like to nominate Monica Johnson of Cumberland Mountain State Park for Park
Ranger of the year.
Monica has worked as the Parks Interpretive Specialist for the past 4 years. She holds many
duties at the park and represents Cumberland Mountain professionally and passionately.
Monica has a never quit attitude when it comes to the Parks programs. Programs such as the
Bryd Creek Trail Run, Jr Ranger Camp, Fourth of July Parade, Halloween Trunk or Treat, and
Christmas in the Park.
Monica programs at the City of Crossville's Sustainability Fair; which hosts every 5th grade
student in Cumberland County. She dedicates time to other Parks when they have their Jr
Ranger camps. She coordinates with local charities and Cumberland Mountains Friends
Group to volunteer for the annual Jakes Day program. She programs at numerous
Elementary Schools around Cumberland County too.
Monica's dedication and creativity have made a tremendously positive impact on the
Seasonal Interpretive Rangers. She leads by example in so many ways. She leads night hikes
and attends all the SIR campfires. She is well known for her coon hollow cabin ghost stories.
Guests enjoy Monica's warm smile and friendly hello at all programs. You will find her out of
the vehicle in the Campgrounds every evening fellowshipping and partaking in events that
the campers enjoy.
Along with her job duties at the park, she attends college on her off days in pursuit of her
Master's Degree. She travels a long distance to school. I know several days she will work a
late night shift and turnaround in the morning to go study and attend MTSU.
As seen above, the dedication is far beyond her on-going Ranger duties to the State of
Tennessee and Cumberland Mountain State Park. The requests for her presentations have
taken her outside of CMSP. Her popularity is easy to understand and is well deserved. Turn
around in a State Park and you might see Monica helping a guest, leading a hike, or inviting
you to relax and enjoy her good nature!
Ranger Justin King of Big Hill Pond/Davis Bridge State Park exemplifies the ultimate Tennessee State Park Ranger, therefore it is my honor to nominate Ranger King for Park Ranger of the Year 2012 award. Justin’s goal of being a Park Ranger began during his childhood growing up within a mile of Big Hill Pond/Davis Bridge State Park. The times he spent at Big Hill Pond are forever engrained in his childhood memories. It is because of his love for this area that he dedicates countless hours of hard work to Tennessee State Parks.
Justin began his career as a Conservation Worker 1. He was so driven to become a Ranger that he worked full time and went to college full time, finishing his degree with honors in three years. Justin began his Ranger career at Chickasaw State Park as a Park Ranger 1 and in two years transferred to Big Hill Pond/Davis Bridge sharing his time between the two. Ranger King was given the 15 maintenance program for Big Hill Pond and as well as starting to work on a plan for Davis Bridge.
I asked Justin to see if he could apply for a grant for the Boardwalk and Observation tower and he eagerly went to work applying for a grant thru the RTP and he not only secured it but we received the grant in the amount of 80.000.00 thousand dollars which he has spent in two phases, Observation Tower then the Boardwalk for Big Hill Pond. Ranger King is working with central office at the present time on a million dollar TDOT grant for Davis Bridge.
On September 29, 2012 Ranger King put together a 150th year of the Battle of Davis Bridge (October 5th 1862) and 75th anniversary of Tennessee State Parks to coincide together for one big event at Davis Bridge Battlefield with the help of several reinactors and Tennessee State Park as well as National Park Service. The event was a huge success with approximately 300 in attendance, with the spectators asking, what’s the date for next year?
Justin has worked on several search and rescue operations for lost victims while at Big Hill Pond and several Law enforcement situations with the McNairy County Sheriffs Office, THP and TWRA at both Big Hill Pond/Davis Bridge and Chickasaw.This being said I am nominating Ranger Justin King for the 2012 Ranger of the year!
I would like to nominate Bill Knapp for Ranger of the Year. Bill is the Park Manager I at South Cumberland State Park. Bill is a good and effective manager who represents our department and his park in the way he performs his responsibilities. The job of helping protect and preserve one of the most beautiful areas in Tennessee is taken very seriously and is recognized many visitors.
Bill understands our system and works to help make things better for all rangers. His work with the online uniform ordering is just one example of things he does to help each one of us who wears the uniform. Bill also updates and monitors the Park Rangers Web Page which is reviewed by many visitors all around the world.
I think that Bill Knapp deserves to be nominated for this award, for all he does and how well he represents our Tennessee State Parks.
I would like
to nominate George Shinn, park ranger at South Cumberland State Park for 2012
Ranger of the year.
George currently is stationed at Savage Gulf. He is in a Ranger 2 position but due to distance from the main office, he really manages Savage Gulf. There are 10 campgrounds and about 75 miles of trail. Normally, he is responsible for checking campers at 7 of those campgrounds and doing trail work on more than half of the trails in that area. I say normally because currently he is the ONLY ranger at Savage Gulf. There is a vacancy at the Stone Door side of the park. George would be the first to respond to any emergency or problem, now, anywhere in the Savage Gulf.
George takes pride in his work. He is an honest, organized, and professional ranger. He supports his co-workers however he can. He is there to talk and bring up morale or to lend a helping hand. Programming wise, George constantly offers programs. In addition to his advertised park programs, he meets with many private groups as well as school groups. Each year he travels to the schools in his area. The older kids are treated to a Davey Crockett program with George in period dress. The younger kids learn about bats. He is active with both 4H and Scouting (Both Boy and Girl). He is a leader in the Boyscouts and assists with Girl Scouts. The kids from both groups have come back to the park in later years and helped the park with park volunteer projects. George is an excellent story teller and has a following of fans who show up to any of his campfire programs. George also takes part in the Dunlap safety fair. He works with other proffessionals to educate the kids of this area about safety hazzards. He is active in Church and a family man. He inspires me to do better programs.
George and the other rangers at South Cumberland do law enforcement. Most of the time they are alone in the woods with the closest back up well over an hour away. George consistantly enforces the rules and laws of the park and he is fair with people. Sometimes there are issues with access to campgrounds due to access roads being on other land owner's property. Occasionally we lose access. George never misses a beat. Recently George had had to hike 4 miles, just to get to ONE of his seven campgrounds to check on campers. Last weekend he dealt with ten people by himself, after dark, in the back country, who had been drinking. Law enforcement at Savage seems to never end.
But so far, everything I have told you about George is normal work......
This past year, George has taken part in many extra responsibilities, I will tell you about two of them:
South Cumberland held its first Savage Gulf Marathon. George Shinn helped plan the route, mark the trails, promote the race, and get donations. He organized volunteers to come in and clean trails as well as pick up signage after the fact. He also ran in the race as a sweeper. One of the other sweepers was injured and George continued to run much farther than what he had originally planned. After the race, we had an elderly lady get lost. When George found her and brought her out of the woods, he had put in just short of a 20 hour day. I would like to say this is a rareity but long shifts can happen frequently at South Cumberland. George being George, I never heard any complaints.
Over the last few years, South Cumberland has been preparing to do battle with the Chineese Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. We were constantly going to meetings about how to prepare etc. Last year South Cumberland treated the vast majority of the Hemlocks in Savage Gulf. George Shinn lead the way. He managed crews doing work on the hemlock stands and also helped on the ground. He took care of Iris fund applications and spec sheets for crews. I found it funny that many of the meetings we would attend concerning the HWA we would go as spectators. Most of the time, George would be singled out and asked to report or give his opinion on how other areas/parks/agencies, could proceed. Plans would be changed according to what George said. George has become one of the more knowledgeable people on the HWA and one of the few who has on the ground experience for actually doing the treatments.
I cannot say enough about George Shinn. He is a top notch ranger and a good friend.
Please consider him for Ranger of the Year 2012.
I would like to take the opportunity to nominate Ranger Greg Taylor for " Ranger of the Year." Greg goes about his job in a quiet unassuming way. He shys away from the limelight and does not seek glory or recognition. He has left his mark in many ways since arriving at Natchez Trace.
Greg is very good at taking on special projects when park visitation is slow. He does trail work, campground projects, computer based work, GIS, and all types of maintenance projects. There are times when he is busy he will work over and never mention having done so. Recently he saved the park quite a bit of money by designing and constructing new toilet tissue holders and vent caps for our cabin's chimneys. He has recently volunteered to take HVAC training to help the park troubleshoot problems and save us even more money. He believes in doing a job right and not cutting corners. He has the respect of other employees by his willingness to work side by side with them on most any endeavor.
Greg does not shy away from any law enforcement situation and is quick to back up fellow Rangers. He is not our Interpretive Specialist but excels at programming and will do a program for anyone at the drop of a hat. He was instrumental in helping Natchez Trace receive a RTP grant in the Spring of 2012. He presently supervises 2 employees and they both know he will not ask anything of them he is not willing to do himself.
Greg epitimizes what I feel a Ranger should be. He will go out of his way to be fair to all involved in every situation. He is well rounded in all areas and strives to do his best in anything he undertakes. Please consider his exemplary service when casting your vote for "Ranger of the Year."
Please Email Brad.firstname.lastname@example.org with your vote before December 10th.
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