Behind the Scenes: Johnson, state park crew honored by TDEC

Published 8:16 am Monday, January 22, 2018

Typically cited for its natural beauty, Roan Mountain State Park’s unsung heroes recently received a tip-of-the-cap from the State of Tennessee.

Tim Johnson, RMSP maintenance supervisor, was awarded the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) Star Award as the leader of the park’s maintenance crew.

Recipients of the award are nominated for the work inside the park, ranging from projects to working alongside other staff members.

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Even though it was an exciting trip, Johnson, a 22-year veteran of the park, was quick to pass the credit along to the entire maintenance staff.

“Even though I was the one that accepted the award, I just want to let people know how much I appreciate the staff we have,” Johnson told the Elizabethton Star Friday. “We’re a close-knit group. Everyone is always willing to work together. If some of us are working on a project, and some of the guys come by and see what we’re doing, they’re willing to stop by and help. There’s no drama among each other. I want everyone to know how thankful I am for God, my family, this staff and to have a state park like this in Carter County that I can come work for, and bring my family to during the year. We want to keep a friendly and inviting environment in all aspects of the park. That’s the way it should be.”

Members of the crew onsite Friday included Johnson, Ray Ledford, Chris Barnett, Kris Roark, Wes Henson, Terry Hughes and Justin Barnett.

Interim RMSP Manager Meg Guy was quick to point out that attendees from across the state, and even across the globe, will make a point of emphasis to sing the praises of the scenery at the park maintained by the staff.

“They deserve this recognition for the hard work in making Roan Mountain State Park a great place to work and play,” she said. “Not only is our maintenance staff hard-working and highly skilled at their assigned daily tasks, they also go above and beyond the call of duty by assisting park rangers with special events, programs and during emergency situations. I’ve never had to ask for help from our maintenance staff during an emergency … they’re always just there when I need them.

“From helping land a helicopter in the park for an urgent medical response, directing traffic during a motor vehicle accident, or assisting with weather-related evacuations of the campgrounds or cabins, the staff is always there to help,” she added.

Johnson added there’s a sense of pride for the staff when it comes to working in different aspects of the park, especially coming off the park’s “Park of the Year” accomplishment for 2016.

“We certainly would not be such a successful park operation without the dedication, integrity, pride, and hard work of the maintenance team,” Guy said.