Fond farewell to my work family


By Kathy Cool

Darke Co. Parks

As many of our volunteers know, I have decided to retire from “actual” work again! This time I will stick to this plan and bid farewell to a great work family and a ton of friends. I have made some great memories over the past 3+ years as the Volunteer Coordinator for Darke County Parks.

I became a volunteer for the Parks back in 2012. At that time, I was working a full-time job so I could only spend a Saturday or two a month working as the Front Desk Receptionist. As volunteer opportunities came up for special events, I started helping with those, such as Prairie Days and the Waffle Breakfast events. As I learned more and more about what was happening at the parks, I realized that after I retired from my “real” job I would start helping there more often. Thus, began a true appreciation for being a volunteer!

Needless to say, I only stayed retired from my old job for a short time, before Roger asked me if I would want to take the Volunteer Coordinator position. I accepted that offer after three requests and that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The Volunteer Coordinator position is a really nice job with a variety of duties consisting of calling volunteers to help the Naturalists, working with the Friends of the Park to operate the Gift Shop, taking on a variety of office jobs, and generally doing whatever was needed.

Throughout the years I gained more and more responsibilities and I feel like I have learned a lot. Working with the employees of the park and all the volunteers who give so much of their time to the parks has been something I will never forget. As I look back on my time here, I will remember the fun times preparing for Preschool Programs with Mandy, covering the phones at Bish Discovery for Megan, helping with the events that are held at Bears Mill with Sophie, and being a part of a group of co-workers who truly are a “well-oiled” machine! The Maintenance guys are always fun to work with and Mitch, Robb, and the other office staff are a hardworking and dedicated group of workers.

As I move on to my home life of camping, vacationing, fishing, and crafting, I am sure that as an “old” volunteer again, I will be coming to the park buildings regularly to help when needed. I look at this retirement as a continuation of being with the comforts of my park family and enjoying my life with my home family! May 22nd will be my last active work day at the parks, but the beginning of the next stage of my life! I will see you all again!

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