Betty didn’t want to retire and leave her favorite park unattended even though she was 100
After more than 15 years of sharing her life stories, including those from World War II, at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond, Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest active National Park Service ranger, has retired from her position.
Soskin made headlines in September when she turned 100, making her indubitably the oldest park ranger currently employed. April 16 has been set aside for a public celebration to mark her departure from service.
According to rumours, the centenarian’s work as a park ranger has assisted the park service in improving how it educates visitors about history.
“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.” Soskin said in a statement announcing her retirement.
The 100-year-old, who was a young woman during World War II, used to work as a file clerk in a segregated Union hall. Later, she and her husband Mel Reid would open Reid’s Records, a record shop. 2019 saw the store’s official closure.
At the age of 89, Soskin joined the National Park Service as a permanent employee in 2011. She oversaw public events and shared stories and ideas at the park visitor centre in her capacity as leader.
“Being a primary source in the sharing of that history – my history – and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling,” Soskin said.
“It has proven to bring meaning to my final years.”
Chuck Sams, director of the National Park Service, stated: “Betty has had a significant influence on the National Park Service and how we carry out our mission.
“Her efforts remind us that we must seek out and give space for all perspectives so that we can tell a more full and inclusive history of our nation.”