100 year old park ranger finally retires

100 year old park ranger finally retires Source: Twitter

An American park ranger has decided to finally give up her post at the ripe old age of 100 after having spent more than 20 years in the role.

On Saturday April 16th, celebrations were held for Betty Reid Soskin at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park located in Richmond, California. ,

Born in Detroit in 1921 to African American parents, Soskin spent her early years in New Orleans before “The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927” drove her family to relocate west to Oakland, California.

Speaking at her retirement Soskin said: “To be a part of helping to mark the place where that dramatic trajectory of my own life, combined with others of my generation, will influence the future by the footprints we’ve left behind has been incredible.”.

Her career with the National Parks Service (NPS) started early 2000 when she signed up at the age of 80. Despite her age she took an active role in planning to bring the Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park to the city of Richmond. She’s also credited with working to help uncover untold stories of African Americans on the home front during WWII.

Those efforts that led her to a temporary position with the NPS at age 84, and eventually a permanent role.

She said: “If we don’t know where we started, we have no conception of where we are or how we got here. Only if we go back and retrace our steps. And that’s what the park became for me.”

Naomi Torres, Acting Superintendent of Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park said: “The National Park Service is grateful to Ranger Betty for sharing her thoughts and first-person accounts in ways that span across generations.

“She has used stories of her life on the Home Front, drawing meaning from those experiences in ways that make that history truly impactful for those of us living today.”

Soskin led public programs at the park for more than a decade and a half, providing broader context of the WWII war effort, and the backdrop of racism and segregation through her own life experiences. Her great-grandmother, born in 1846, was a slave until she was 19, freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.

She added that she was 27 when her slave ancestor died at 102.

An example to us all Soskin not only worked as a ranger, helping her husband start a music publishing business, working as a city council member in Berkeley and as a field representative serving two members of the California State Assembly.

She also introduced President Barack Obama during the national tree-lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C. back in 2015.

She finished by saying of her time as a ranger: “It’s an experience, probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.”

Although Soskin retires at 100 years old, her legacy will live on having helped to build the Rosie the Riveter World War II park into what it is today.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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