Thursday, June 2, 2016

I Found My "Earl"

"We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how." -Anonymous-

I have only been at BUFF for a mere three days and I have already come to learn an extremely important life lesson... the importance of mentorship. For my Supervisory Ranger, Kevin Moses, this "someone" to him was Earl. Earl was also a Ranger and he inspired Kevin at a very young age to also become a Ranger. Because of the amazing person Earl was, every good quality Earl had, Kevin associated with the position of Ranger, such as a sense of adventure, a care for not only all humankind, but also a care for and regard for our planet and the future generations that will inhabit it. Thus, Kevin enlisted in the army and became an Army Ranger and then eventually a Law Enforcement Ranger for the National Park Service. Earl not only inspired Kevin to become a Ranger, he also inspired him to be someone else's "Earl" and I was lucky enough to be that "someone else." Kevin is my "Earl."

In just three short days, Kevin has taught me not only an immense amount of information about Ranger-ing, but he has also taught me, like Earl taught him, the importance of a having a mentor. Like Kevin was inspired by the person Earl was, Kevin inspires me. He truly has a passion for life and his line of work and it shows through his extremely hard work ethic and the regard his fellow co-workers have of him. He is the leader and mentor that I wish to be one day if I am lucky enough to be a "Ranger" too.

BUFF Headquarters in Harrison, AR
Let me tell you a little about my last three days... so my journey to Buffalo National River began on Monday, May 30, when I left Ohio and began my 12-hour trek to the great state of Arkansas. I arrived at the BUFF headquarters in Harrison, AR on Tuesday afternoon and was greeted by Kevin. He then brought me around headquarters to meet everyone (and I really mean everyone). It was an amazing experience to meet everyone involved in the operation of BUFF and they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Kevin described BUFF to me as "one big happy family" and boy was he spot on. I have been welcomed into the family with open arms and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity. After the visit to the headquarters, Kevin led me to my house just off Wollum Road within the park boundaries and I took the rest of the night to settle in and get to know one of my roommates, Patrick, whom is a Seasonal Ranger at BUFF.

The view from a surveillance spot overlooking the river
My next day was my first real day riding along on the job with Kevin. We spent half of the day exploring the river and Kevin gave me a map, so I could begin to practice the art of "orientating" (aka orienting). We also made a few PSAR (Preventative Search and Rescue) contacts, all of which were extremely positive and all visitors were abiding by the park rules and regulations. I also was able to make a few calls on the radio with my new call name, 198. OORAH. We then spent the rest of the day catching up on some paperwork and I learned how to input reports and information into IMARS, which is essential to the job.

The BUFF welcome sign at Tyler Bend

Lastly, today I had the pleasure of participating in the annual control tactics training at BUFF. It was such an enriching experience and I learned so much and it really gave me a great picture of what I have in store for me at the Seasonal Law Enforcement Academy and FLETC. All in all, these three days have been a blast and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this summer has in store.

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