Betty Reid Soskin, who was the oldest National Park Service ranger still working, has retired 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 Historical Park in Richmond.
Soskin made news when she turned 100 in September. She was the oldest park ranger by a long shot at the time. There will be a public party on April 16 to celebrate the end of her job.
Reports say that the centenarian’s work as a park guard has helped the park service improve how it teaches people about history.
In a statement announcing her retirement, Soskin said, “It has been amazing to be a part of helping to mark the spot where the dramatic paths of my life and the lives of others of my generation will affect the future through the footprints we’ve left behind.”
When she was young, the woman who is now 100 worked as a file clerk in a closed Union hall during World War II. Later, she and her husband, Mel Reid, opened Reid’s Records, a record shop. The store closed for good in 2019.
Soskin started working full-time for the National Park Service in 2011 when he was 89 years old. At the park’s tourist centre, she led programmes for the public and talked about memories and thoughts.
Soskin said, “Being the main source for sharing that history—my history—and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and rewarding.”
“It has given me a reason to live in my last years.”
“Betty has had a huge effect on the National Park Service and how we do our jobs,” said Chuck Sams, who is in charge of the National Park Service.
“Her work reminds us that if we want to tell a more complete history of our country, we need to find and include all points of view.”
Betty, thank you for your work, and we hope you enjoy your retirement!
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