I am an Army Veteran, who is now a permanent Park Ranger working for the National Park Service. While enlisted in the Army, I served with S6 and was the Communications Property Manager (radios, computers, antennas, etc.). I am now the Property Technician at George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean, Virginia. Although I did not know it at the time I was serving, the skills I learned while serving in the military helped pave the way for my career with the National Park Service. Most of the skills and techniques I use now, working for the National Park Service, I learned while serving for the U.S. Army. I was brought onto the National Park Service as a Pathways Intern, when I was a full time college student back in 2015. I was later converted to a permanent, full time employee, using the VRA. I have been permanent since January 2016.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided to complete a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course, to learn leadership skills and throw myself into a new experience, in order to gain some much needed self-confidence. After discussing it with my parents, we decided on a 30-day Backpacking trip, through Olympic National Park, in Washington State. During my NOLS course, I learned about myself, leave no trace, leadership skills, wilderness first aid, camping, map and compass reading, cooking skills, how to pitch a tent, blisters, protecting natural resources and wildlife, personal strength and sheer determination. I pushed myself further than I ever had before. I cried, I sweat, I covered myself with mud and dirt, and then rinsed off in a frozen lake. I had no idea what I learned that summer would have an impact on the rest of my life. My dream job has always been Park Ranger.
I am perplexed and awed by how life brought me to where I am now. I love working for the National Park Service. My job is simply the best! In addition to having a secure, permanent federal government job and the benefits, the team that I work for is incredible. My coworkers have become family. At work, I get to play detective, searching for incomplete and/or missing government property. It is my responsibility to take the puzzle pieces, and complete our annual property inventory. I have a chance to work in the field, with different divisions within our park. While in the military, I experienced a traumatic event. I have dealt with anxiety, especially more recently, due to the trauma I experienced. I am a service-connected veteran. Nature and the outdoors has become a form of therapy for me. I have passed along my love for hiking and outdoors with my 5 year old son. We frequently go hiking and camping together. Last year for Halloween, we were "Park Rangers", I in my NPS Uniform and my son wearing his Junior Ranger outfit.
I am also the Secretary/Treasurer for the Department of Interior Veterans Affinity Group. As Secretary/Treasurer, I am helping to organize a D.C. specific Chapter, and hope to connect with veterans and federal employees in the local D.C. area. I want to promote veterans issues within the Federal Government, while providing a communications and social network for veterans, their families and interested employees. The D.C. chapter will provide support and encouragement to current military members and their families. In my free time, I volunteer and fund raiser for homeless women veterans. Also, I am currently a finalist in the Ms. Veteran America 2017 Competition, and the finals will be taking place in October 2017. As an Army veteran, I understand the sacrifice, strength and courage it takes to serve our country. I now want to give back to the community, by volunteering my time and energy with other veterans. Not only as a veteran, but also as a civilian and a Park Ranger, working for the National Park Service in the D.C. area, I am dedicated to providing for our nation's capitol and local community.