Blue Ridge Parkway officials have announced 2022 Volunteer of the Year award recipients to recognize individuals for “their exemplary contributions to the preservation, protection and enjoyment of the scenic roadway managed by the National Park Service.”
Included are those who have lent service at Blue Ridge Parkway locations in nearby areas of North Carolina and Virginia.
Mary Kathryn Wert, a cultural demonstration volunteer at Mabry Mill, was named as the recipient of the Youth Individual Volunteer Award.
She assists her grandmother at Mabry Mill with demonstrations for park visitors in spinning, weaving, dyeing, corn husk dolls, basketry, chair bottoming, broom making and even blacksmithing.
Park staff members expressed appreciation for new ideas the youth has brought forward to enhance the experience of the scenic mill near Meadows of Dan, Virginia.
Also honored was Caroline Lemmond, with the Blue Ridge Parkway Individual Volunteer Award.
Lemmond, an interpretive volunteer at Brinegar Cabin in Alleghany County, is known for offering a welcoming and educational experience for visitors to that site.
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,” officials there said.
The awards were announced Tuesday in conjunction with the observance of National Volunteer Week.
Other winners include Joyce and Rick Martin, campground hosts at Doughton Park; Ken and Julie Carpenter, lead volunteers in the Boone/Blowing Rock area; and students of The Christ School, who serve as maintenance volunteers on a group basis in the Asheville area.
A Volunteers-In-Parks program of the Blue Ridge Parkway places such personnel in virtually every aspect of park operations.
In 2022, 1,200-plus 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 experiences.
The five award recipients announced this week were chosen from among many nominations from park staff members and co-workers.
“We are so grateful for the many, dedicated volunteers who give their time volunteering with the National Park Service,” Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout said in a statement.
“Those who choose to share their time and talents alongside us have a lasting impact on the park and its visitors.”
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