Friday, November 7, 2008

Thank you notes

I've been meaning to share with you some very nice thank you notes I've received recently. So much of what we do is a team effort, that it's worth sharing these with the other members of "our team." First:

For your personal attention:

On Friday, September 26, 2008 my husband (83 years young) and I (78) were driving toward Mt. Rainier National Park when into view arose the majestic sight of the mountain peak, newly lined with snow against gray/blue stone in relief. What an amazing sight in a sun filled day!

We were heading for Cougar campground to pitch our tent and work on clean-up on a National Public Lands Day the following day where we met other volunteers at 9 a.m. in Longmire. To our pleasant surprise, not only did we hear our choice of assigned work areas but we heard and met the superintendent, David uberuaga AND --- I kid you not --- President and Mrs. Teddy Roosevelt, the latter delightful impersonators and very knowledgeable. After choosing from a vast variety of gifts including posters, power bars, filled water bottles, pins, stickers, Tee shirts and more, we joined the group heading for the new visitors' center at Paradise to help plant native hot house sprouts. There were 400,000 in many trays of 49 small containers, for 30 volunteers with at least 10 staff members to work in approximately one acre area.

At first, I was overwhelmed, especially since we were on our knees in wet ground that was full of broken stone, rocks and ledges of stone. After two hours, I felt like I was more a part of a prison chain gang and very ready for a lunch break and time to walk about. That was an "AAAH" experience.

It was a clear day and the peak seemed so close. When we first arrived we noticed steam coming from the snow, rising to the sky as a fragile bit of smoke or fog but turning into a cloud where higher atmosphere molded it. At break time, the base was looking like a birthing nursery for many clouds until they all gathered and drew a curtain between us and the peak. As I walked around that planting area, I could see the difference our efforts were making.

All those seriously working volunteers had drawn the attention of all the visitors, walking past from the old center below. At least one couple who were staying at the Inn was so impressed with our efforts, they joined us and stayed on after we left. We met back at Longmire for coffee, pizza and cake, celebrating jobs well done. there were 12 work sights [sic] on that Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. My husband and I were proud to be a part of a work day and we look forward to doing that again, meeting staff, other campers and volunteers and viewing God's magnificent glory up close and personal. However, since we were so cold at night and early morn, with the wet dew more like rain, we want to choose warmer weather next time.

Michaela, member of NPCA, Ephrata, WA

My husband approves of this report which is being sent to:
NPCA whose news letter brought the NP Lands Day to our attention
David Uberuaga who was so welcoming
Patty Murray
Maria Cantwell
Shane Farnor who received our call of inquiry and gave our names to Kevin Barker [sic] who called near the date to make sure we would attend

Thank you, Michaela, and I'm pleased that you had such a good experience!

Here's a note I received by e-mail:

Hi Kevin,
I have been a VIP for the last 4 years and have volunteered primarily at Death Valley because my wife Kymm is a Fee Ranger (subject to furlough) there. We have worked/volunteered at Crater Lake during our off-season as well. Kymm and I both volunteered at Ohanapecosh/Sunrise for about 6 weeks (Sept and part of Oct) for Julia Pinnix and Sierra at Sunrise. We just wanted to pass on to you and your Superintendent, that we enjoyed helping out during your shoulder season and that we were treated very well by the staff. This was Kymm's first time volunteering. Both Julia and Sierra treated us with respect and professionalism, which I truly appreciate. That is not always the case in the VIP world and varies from Park to Park. I also appreciated the volunteer e-mail you sent out. That was a first for me and was well received. All in all a great experience. Should you find yourself in the North District of Death Valley near Scotty's Castle come see us!
VIP Master Ranger Corps
GS-5 Fee Ranger (DEVA)

And finally, here's a recent addendum to the weekly report from volunteer George Coulbourn at Carbon River:

Personal note: Today, my cumulate hours of service passed the 5000 hour milestone. Although I’ll never approach the service of Dixie or Eva or Flash or many others, it’s still a worthy mark. I owe a debt to Dixie and Ed for getting me started 12 years ago, and to all of you for your encouragement and support, and for your patience when I fell a little short. I tell people that my job is to help them stay out of trouble, and if that doesn’t work, to help them get out of trouble. I tell people that the pay isn’t much, but just take a look at my office. And I tell people that I began volunteering in the Park with the intent of paying back the Park and the wilderness in general for many decades of enjoyment. And that it hasn’t worked: you get more than you give, and the harder you try the more you get; and you can’t get ahead. I look forward to many more years of service, and like mountaineers everywhere, I’ll just take it one step at a time.

Congratulations on reaching this important milestone, George, and thank you for your service!

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