BY SALLY FREEMAN, VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is thrilled to announce that park
volunteer Bob Zimmerling is the winner of this year’s “George and Helen
Hartzog Enduring Volunteer Service Award” for the National Park Service’s
Pacific West Region! Bob has been a Volunteer in Park (VIP) at Fort Clatsop
since the mid-1980s when his family included a Newfoundland dog named
Godfrey. Godfrey was a cooperative reminder of Meriwether Lewis’ dog,
Seaman, and his role on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
For decades Bob has consistently shared his well-behaved and perfectly
groomed Newfoundland dogs with the park. He volunteered with high-spirited
Dolly for about 10 years; now sweet and shy Deacon is his handsome sidekick.
Each year when the staff plans for the annual Seaman’s Day, Bob is one of the first
Newfoundland handlers to confirm that he will help. Bob checks the park
calendar to see when tour groups will be arriving and matches his schedule to
work some of those busy periods along with other random times. He is careful to
prevent his dog from taking the spotlight from a ranger who needs a group’s
attention. When a group arrives and is getting off the bus and milling around, they
may encounter a pleasant man volunteering with his Newfoundland dog and
explaining how this dog is like Seaman. Once the tour orientation begins, Bob and
the dog have stepped aside to rejoin the group at the fort where people enjoy
meeting, asking about, and photographing the living history canine.
Bob has worked in this park longer than anyone else and he and his dog
graciously participate in park trainings and follow park procedures faithfully. He is
willing to try new projects such as the popular second-grade classroom Read with
a Ranger literacy program that he and Dolly pioneered with an education ranger.
Bob is a joy to be around and everyone who works with him for any length of time
soon considers him a friend. The park is grateful for Bob’s service and pleased
that such a deserving person was selected for this award.
Thank you summer volunteers!
Volunteers contribute greatly to the success of the park each season.
Here are some highlights that PUNctuated this summer: Doug and Sharon Packard and Mike Wheeler buoyed the kayak program. Rene’ Marsh, Amanda Bidema, Sharon Packard, and LaToya Val Ndir kept us in stitches by hand-sewing living history costuming and emblems onto volunteer uniforms. Laura Denny, Brian Wilson and Julie Skopal rooted for the success of the native plants in the park’s nursery, rain garden, and ethno
botanical gardens. Beth Turner, Bryan McClintic, Amanda Bidema, and Dennis and Aaron Adams know there is something special aboot the park trails and they help keep them nice by checking trail conditions, communicating with hikers, and performing light maintenance. Jack Chapman, Jessica Hayes, and Bob Zimmerling helped us to paws and reflect on the role of Lewis’ dog as they shared their Newfoundlands on Seaman’s Day. Judi Lampi, Glen Hess, Mike Smith, Jim Wilson, and Sharon and Doug Packard seemed to enjoy the nature of their work as they shared natural and living history programs with visitors. Judy Doyle, Mike Smith, Diana Morimoto, Mary Jo Hess, Doug and Sharon Packard and Jim Wilson never wore out their welcomes as they helped with visitor center operations such as checking passes, collecting admissions, conducting tours, and helping junior rangers.
These and other summer volunteers helped the park accomplish so much more than would happen without their work.
This is a good reminder that volunteers don’t get paid… only because they are priceless!