Longtime Park Ranger Retires – LaGrange Daily News

Longtime Park Ranger Retiring

Posted 6:16 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, 2022

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally appeared on the US Army Corps of Engineers website.

MOBILE — As a self-proclaimed “country boy” growing up in Illinois, David Barr knew he wanted a job where he could work outdoors in the recreation field.

While in college, Barr accepted a co-op position with the District of Rock Island, Illinois, and has worked for the Corps of Engineers ever since.

After graduating from college, he accepted a position as a ranger at the project office in West Point, Georgia, in 1992. He transitioned to his current position as chief ranger in 2008, and after 30 years, Barr plans to hang up its hat in December, after providing decades of dedicated service to the same park.

“I love being a ranger,” Barr said. “I will miss the daily challenges of work, working with a sense of purpose. It will be an adjustment when I retire. It’s a career; an investment for life and I will miss it.

Barr, who has a wife, four children and three grandchildren, starts each day early at 4 a.m. writing on his blog. Blogging, along with his faith, is what Barr says has motivated him and is most responsible for his career success.

“Throughout my life I have learned to rely on God for wisdom, help and encouragement, and whenever he came,” Barr said. “I have learned to trust him every day and not question his ways as they have led me on a successful career path and blessed me more than I could have orchestrated on my own. .”

One of the most successful and impactful programs Barr has participated in during his time at West Point is the Special Day for Special People. Started in 1979, as a designated day for people with disabilities to spend a day at the park. The event grew under Barr’s leadership and became something the whole community gets involved with.

“This is the highlight of my year,” Barr said. “I received a letter from a teacher once after one of the days, and she said she had a student she had never seen smile. But that day there was a petting zoo, and she got to brush a mule and it was a game-changing experience for that girl, so it’s a lot of work to put together, but so worth it.

Jay Jamison, West Point Operations project manager, said Barr’s knowledge, contributions and sense of responsibility to the project will be missed.

“For more than 30 years, David Barr has been instrumental in transforming the mission of the West Point Project’s recreation and natural resource management programs,” said Jamison. “From his position as Ranger to Chief Recreation Park Ranger in 2008, Mr. Barr’s work has been instrumental in providing quality public outdoor recreation experiences to millions of visitors. .

Barr’s advice to anyone considering a career as a ranger is to get out there and volunteer and build your resume with experience.

“Try to reach out or volunteer to work for any project or agency, something that helps build your resume and gives you experience in the field,” Barr said. “Work for a state or county park, something that shows others that you care about the field. Also get a business card, go to job fairs, visit parks and make contacts. And when a position becomes available, if I have your card, I’ll already consider you for the position.

Barr and his wife plan to stay in the West Point area after he retires. He said he planned to enjoy his retirement.

“It’s time for me to pass the torch,” Barr said. “I want to enjoy my retirement while I am physically able. More meetings. No reading emails. I plan to work wood, ride my Harley, play golf and continue to blog. Even in retirement, I will continue to seek His will and plan my life.