She was the oldest active ranger!
A 100-year old National Park Service ranger has officially retired, NPS reports.
Betty Reid Soskin is the oldest active ranger with the National Park Service (NPS). Soskin began working with NPS at the age of 84, helping with discovering untold stories of African Americans on the Home Front during WWII. Initially, the work was funded via a grant but the work led to a temporary position. Soskin eventually expanded her work to include scoping meetings with the City of Richmond and NPS to curate the general management plan for Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park.
By 2011, Soskin had become a permanent NPS employee, spearheading public programs and working at the park visitor center sharing her personal stories and observations for the last 11 years. In September 2021, Soskin turned 100-years-old and now she has announced her official retirement.
“Betty has made a profound impact on the National Park Service and the way we carry out our mission. I am grateful for her lifelong dedication to sharing her story and wish her all the best in retirement. 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,” said Chuck Sama, NPS Director.
Many have celebrated Soskin’s retirement, acknowledging the work of Soskin and how she has contributed to the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park. Acting superintendent Naomi Torres said Soskin’s sharing of her stories on the Home front have breathed life into the history, making it “truly impactful for those of us living today.”
Retired at 100! Wishing Betty Reid Soskin a wonderful retirement. Today marked the last day at the park. The public is invited for a recognition ceremony on April 16th. #nps https://t.co/JU0M0qxxea pic.twitter.com/5gTJo0ZhEK
— Rosie Riveter NHP (@RosieRiveterNPS) March 31, 2022
The Park will celebrate Soskin’s retirement at a ceremony in Richmond, California on April 16th. The centenarian says she is not only grateful to have done the work but that it has brought immense meaning to the latter years of her life.
“To be a part of helping to mark the place where the 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…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. It has proven to bring meaning to my final years,” said Soskin.
For more information about Soskin’s retirement celebration, click here. Thank you for your service, Ms. Betty!
Photo Courtesy of Luther Bailey/NPS Photo