Saturday, April 9, 2011

Archive photo of the day: In service to our country

There are many ways to serve your country... this is Lloyd Smith, National Park Service volunteer, at Mount Rainier National Park.

I took this picture on a late winter (March) day in 2003 at Paradise, during one of those winters when we get 16 feet of snow on the ground by the beginning of April before it finally starts melting faster than it accumulates. Lloyd had served as a volunteer for decades at Crater Lake National Park, moved to Washington state just a year before I did, and at my invitation began volunteering at Mount Rainier. He loves the winter programs: leading snowshoe walks, having lots of time to chat with visitors at the front desk, and even tackles the less glamourous jobs with gusto, like chipping ice off the front walkway. It seemed appropriate to include the stars and stripes in the photo.

This image is featured on my photo blog,, on April 9, 2011, the day after the federal government came within an hour of shutting down over a lack of compromise on the federal budget. In such an event, even our dedicated volunteers would be shut out of their national parks. At Mount Rainier, 2,000 people volunteer in a typical year, contributing more than 70,000 hours of service worth $1.5 million dollars.

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