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Meet the 98-year-old park ranger with one incredible life story

2 min read

Good Stuff
Meet the 98-year-old park ranger with one incredible life story
Source: NationalParksService

At age 98, and with no thoughts of retirement, Betty Reid Soskin is a powerful voice for helping people understand history while protecting historic spaces for future generations.

This remarkable 98-year-old park ranger still works full-time and has no plans to retire

Born in 1921, Betty Reid Soskin is a Ranger with the National Park Service in Richmond, California. At age 98, she is the oldest National Park Ranger serving the United States. Betty is a walking mine of first-hand historical information and something of a celebrity.

96-year-old Betty Reid Soskin – the park ranger with one incredible life story Betty Reid Soskin (born Betty Charbonnet; 1921) is a Park ranger with the National Park Service, assigned to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. The history Soskin and her decendents lived through ensured the ranger is a walking encyclopedia of information about America's darker past. Source: Facebook/AJ+

Honoured by President Barack Obama for her service

At 96 years old, Park ranger Betty Reid Soskin has become something of a celebrity. Assigned to the Rosie the Riveter-World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, Soskin writes frequently on her blog, has her own Wikipedia page, and has been interviewed by a variety of media outlets.

Such is her popularity that the park’s tour audiences have doubled, tours are now booked months in advance, and the park has had to add tours to keep up with demand.

It is easy to understand why Soskin is such a celebrity as her life has been so full and fascinating:

Soskin served as a clerk in an all-black trade union during World War II, became a political activist and noted songwriter during the civil-rights movement, and now interprets her wartime experience through her stories.

But she is not simply the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service — Soskin helped shape what the park has become, first as a consultant and later as an interpretive park ranger, and she’s even been honoured by President Barack Obama for her service.

Soskin works five days a week, about five hours a day, and occasionally works extra hours. Most Wednesdays and Fridays, Soskin will spend the day answering emails and requests from her desk at headquarters in downtown Richmond. 

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays she’ll work at the Visitor Education Center and give two or three presentations in its small theater.

Some days she’ll conduct bus tours through the sites that make up the national park or give presentations.

Source: BusinessInsider

Soskin works five days a week. Most Wednesdays and Fridays, Soskin will spend the day answering emails and requests from her desk at headquarters. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays she'll work at the Visitor Education Center and give two or three presentations in its small theater.
Betty Reid Soskin with visitors, outside of the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center Soskin works five days a week. Most Wednesdays and Fridays, Soskin will spend the day answering emails and requests from her desk at headquarters. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays she’ll work at the Visitor Education Center and give two or three presentations in its small theater. Source: NationalParksService

Attacked and robbed in her own home, the incredible ranger was back at work in no time

On the night of June 27 2016, an intruder broke into Soskin’s home in Richmond, California, and punched her several times in the face. She managed to get away and lock herself in her bathroom, where she proceeded to plug in her iron and wait for her attacker to return so she could brand him. Instead, he ransacked her home and escaped with some of Soskin’s most prized possessions, including the commemorative coin from President Obama. True to Soskin’s indominatable spirit and strength, she was back to work just three weeks after the attack, and President Obama sent word to her boss that he would replace her commemorative coin immediately.

Source: NationalGeographic

Such is Soskin's popularity that the park's tour audiences have doubled, tours are now booked months in advance, and the park has had to add tours to keep up with demand.
Soskin wears her uniform with pride at all times as an inspiration to youth of colour Such is Soskin’s popularity that the park’s tour audiences have doubled, tours are now booked months in advance, and the park has had to add tours to keep up with demand. Source: NationalParksService
Make an Impact

How to Stay Sharp As You Age

There can be no doubt that even well into her nineties, Betty Reid Soskin's mind is as sharp as a tack — but is there anything the rest of us can do to give our minds and bodies a fighting chance of being as sharp as Betty's as we age? The answer is, Yes! Preserving your mental abilities as you get older is easier than you think!