Before the swearing-in ceremony, Superior Court Senior Resident Judge Nathaniel J. Poovey, told the rangers they have one of the best jobs in North Carolina, but those jobs come with high expectations. “You are the innkeeper, you are the steward of what is undeniably our state’s greatest assets,” he said.
Receiving a commission as a Special Peace Officer at the end of 17-week basic law enforcement training is generally regarded as the last formal step before a ranger takes on full duties in a unit of the state parks system. During the training period prior to commissioning, a ranger is assimilated into the park and begins assuming duties in resource management and visitor service.
Noting that 2016 will mark the 100th anniversary of the parks system, Mike Murphy, state parks director, said, “Our visitors have been making memories in state parks for 100 years, so you’re starting your career here as park rangers at a very auspicious time.”
Donald van der Vaart, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, added that a ranger’s face is often the one that visitors will remember. “The kind of memories I’ve come away with are largely due to your work,” he said. “You are the teachers; you are the protectors; you’re the knowledge base here.”
The rangers who received commissions are: Charlotte Elizabeth Davis, Pettigrew State Park; Dylan Martin Joyce, Pilot Mountain State Park; Ian Phillip Magill, South Mountains State Park; Joseph Austin Paul, Hanging Rock State Park; Darius Lindsey Pollard, Hanging Rock State Park; William Darrell Stanley II, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area; and, Zackary Lynn Stephenson, Falls Lake State Recreation Area.
Also recognized at the ceremony were rangers who’ve received commissions in the past few months at small ceremonies across the state. They are: Patrick Joseph Amico, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area; Jesse Alexander Anderson, Pilot Mountain State Park; Malcom Scott Avis, Falls Lake State Recreation Area; Nicholas Paul Dioguardi, William B. Umstead State Park; Wade Stephen Engels, Crowders Mountain State Park; Leigh Ann Fox, South Mountain State Park; Kimberly Jean Radewicz, Falls Lake State Recreation Area; Mark David Sain, South Mountains State Park; Katharine Lynne Sanford, Dismal Swamp State Park; Amy Renee Shepherd, Lake Norman State Park; Alyssa Christine Taylor, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.