The Washington State Parks Commissioners met in Montesano for their monthly meeting last week. Before addressing a packed agenda on Day 2 they recognized local Park Ranger James E. Schmidt for his 40 years of dedicated service.
After a brief introduction to some of the newer commissioners, Ranger Schmidt said “It’s been an absolute pleasure working for the agency and working state parks for all these years. It has been one of the best experiences of my life and I can’t imagine doing something else for my life’s work than being a park ranger.”
Schmidt likened his time with the department as to having kids. “For those of you who have children, and how time goes by so quickly. It seems like this last week that I was starting as a park aid at Peace Arch. The time went by so quickly and it just amazes me.”
He was presented with a certificate of appreciation before photos with the commissioners and Parks Director Donald Hoch.
Hoch listed just a few of the stations that Schmidt has held, “Eastern Washington, Western Washington parks, Peace Arch, Millersylvania, Ginkgo [Petrified Forest] Sacajawea, Fort Ward, and Belfair.” Also the assistant manager of the Southwest Region, Schmidt has been at Ocean City State Park North of Ocean Shores for the past 13 years.
Director Hoch explained to the commission that the parks department recognizes employees with a pin every 5 years, employees who’ve been with them for over 30 years are also introduced to the commission during the process.