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Blue Ridge Parkway Volunteer of The Year Awards Announced

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, Blue Ridge Parkway managers today announced 
the 2022 Volunteer of the Year award recipients, honoring those who have made exemplary contributions to the preservation, protection, and enjoyment of the Blue Ridge Parkway.    

In 2022, over 1200 volunteers contributed more than 45,000 hours in service to the Blue Ridge Parkway assisting in numerous ways to support operations, preserve and protect park resources, and make a positive impact on visitor experience.   

“We are so grateful for the many, dedicated volunteers who give their time volunteering with the National Park Service,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “Those who choose to share their time and talents alongside us have a lasting impact on the park and its visitors.”   

Among many nominations from park staff and coworkers, five award recipients were selected and their achievements are outlined here.    

Blue Ridge Parkway Individual Volunteer Award  
Joyce and Rick Martin – Campground Hosts, Doughton Park  
The Martin’s work has helped create a well-managed and user-friendly experience for campers from around the world at Doughton Park Campground. The Martins completed small repairs around the campground, made campers feel at home, and maintained a positive attitude at all times.

Blue Ridge Parkway Individual Volunteer Award  
Caroline Lemmond- Interpretive Volunteer, Brinegar Cabin   
Caroline offers a welcoming and educational experience for visitors to Brinegar Cabin. From weaving complex stories to meet any visitor’s interests, to actually learning how to weave, spin and card, she is recognized by her co-workers as a true educator.  

Blue Ridge Parkway Enduring Service Award  
Ken and Julie Carpenter – Lead Volunteers, Boone, Blowing Rock

The Carpenter’s dedication to both the Parkway and the volunteer experience of others in their service area has made a true difference. The Carpenter’s help park staff organize volunteer work days and ensure volunteers have required safety briefings and trainings and learn about park resources in the process. They have built an incredible team of volunteers to support park operations and enhance the visitor experience

Blue Ridge Parkway Youth Individual Volunteer Award   
Mary Kathryn-Wert – Cultural Demonstration Volunteer, Mabry Mill   
Mary Kathryn volunteers with her grandmother at Mabry Mill doing demonstrations for park visitors in spinning, weaving, dyeing, corn husk dolls, basketry, chair bottoming, broom making and even blacksmithing. Park staff are appreciative of Mary Kathryn’s new ideas to enhance the mill experience.     

Blue Ridge Parkway Youth Group Award 

The Christ School Maintenance Volunteers, Asheville Area 

Students from Christ School have worked for several years to make the southern sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway beautiful through improving campsites, removing vegetation, and painting. Established volunteers who work alongside the students note the importance of equipping the next generation of stewards to care and protect places like the Blue Ridge Parkway.  

The Volunteers-In-Parks program at Blue Ridge Parkway places volunteers in virtually every aspect of park operations. For more information about the Parkway’s volunteer program visit, https://www.nps.gov/blri/getinvolved/volunteer.htm 

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