Goodbye Okefenokee Swamp

My goodness, time really does speed along. We pulled into our spot in Volunteer Village on November 9, 2018, blinked, and now it’s almost May and our season here is coming to a close.

Soon, we will begin our trek home for some welcome time with family and friends, and Ken and I are both ready. The promise of those reunions are what keep us (me) going. In the early days of our travels (not so much anymore) when I would talk about being homesick, Ken would say, “You’re homesick? I’m sick of being home.”

The intent and purpose that we travel by is to experience as much of our beautiful country that we can while we are able, but moreover, to serve our national parks and wildlife refuges in order to help preserve them, share what we know, and inspire others to do the same.

Two years ago we closed out our first season at the Okefenokee NWR with a volunteer banquet while smoke and ash from the distant wildfire floated down from the gentle breeze, and within days, forced our early departure through an evacuation order. With hugs and a promise to serve again we scurried toward home while flooding was an issue in Missouri. Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.

After fulfilling the promise of another season, last night the volunteers were treated to another top-notch banquet and Ken and I were each presented our 2,000 hour service pin and certificate, along with the 2019 Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Challenge Coin featuring my Bobcat photo. I will add photos of the coin to this post.

Another proud moment for me (and big responsibility) was to fill in for Nate McMillan who usually takes the banquet photos. We missed you last night, Nate and I hope all went well with your appointment. I also hope that you approve of my handiwork in your absence.

The mention of the photos brings me back to my original point… Goodbye Okefenokee Swamp…

Ken and I came back here excited to reunite with Katie, Bruce, and Gracie. The Swamp is a magical place that also drew us back but our work here is nearly done and we have begun looking forward.

Thank you to Gracie for having us back and for all the things you do for your volunteers. We love you. To Bruce and Katie, we will always treasure our friendship and you will always be in our hearts. Until we meet again ❤️

We have laid the plans for future service and pleasure travel that even includes a second cruise and so the journey continues. And, of course, we hope that you will continue along with us on this fun adventure. In the meantime, here are just a few photos of last night’s banquet.

Dorothy and Ken

PS. Gracie has arranged a fun trip for volunteers next week to Cumberland Island National Seashore so there is a promise of one more blog post from this area (hopefully with some great photos from a new [used] camera/lenses that I received as a gift from Mark Stafford). Thank you Mark!!

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