Natchez Trace Parkway Announces Recipient of the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award
TUPELO, MS: The Natchez Trace Parkway 2016 Steve Ritter Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Denise Miller at the Parkway’s annual volunteer banquet. This annual award goes to a Parkway volunteer who has shown exceptional commitment during the year.
The award is named after a well-loved and dedicated Natchez Trace Parkway volunteer who demonstrated pioneer skills with the Tombigbee Pioneer Group. Steve Ritter was one of the earliest members of the group and participated regularly at volunteer events. Unexpectedly, he passed away in 2009. Each year since then, Parkway staff honors a deserving volunteer as the Steve Ritter Volunteer of the Year.
Noting appreciation for Miller’s volunteer work, Superintendent Mary Risser said, “We chose Denise Miller as the volunteer of the year because of her extensive time and skill contributions in 2016. She worked at two locations and volunteered 223 hours. She worked at the Parkway Information Cabin information desk, demonstrated her pioneer skills, and presented programs at public libraries. Her work as a volunteer enhances visitors’ experiences and helps them connect with the history of the Natchez Trace Parkway.”
Miller began her Parkway volunteer career in May 2008, volunteering with her mother, Emma Jean Howell. Over the years Miller has demonstrated quilting, tatting, knitting, and sometimes plays the mountain dulcimer. She has a broad knowledge of the Parkway that she enthusiastically shares with visitors. Last summer Miller helped the Parkway achieve its goal of engaging the next generation of park stewards as she interacted with hundreds of children at Jackson Public Libraries, introducing them to experiences the of early travelers along the Old Natchez Trace.
Miller’s total, cumulative number of Parkway volunteer hours is 651. At the Parkway’s annual volunteer banquet, she also received a Tri-State Award for donating over 500 hours and a Centennial Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) coin for working 201.6 hours during the National Park Service’s centennial year.
Miller and her husband Jobe live in Yazoo City. In her off-time from volunteering at the Parkway, Miller is a Mississippi public school teacher.
For more information about becoming a National Park Service volunteer, please visit nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.