Natchez Trace Parkway Employees Celebrate Over 85 Years of Combined Service
The Natchez Trace Parkway presented federal service awards to Maintenance Mechanic’s George McBride (45 years) and Forrest McCrary (40 years).
McBride’s federal service began 1971 as a seasonal maintenance worker at the Parkway, and later he was promoted to tractor operator. “My first day on the job, we were sent to bury two Black Angus calves that were hit on the Parkway. The only equipment we had were shovels, but we made it work. This has been a good job, I have enjoyed it all,” said McBride.
“George is meticulous and diligent in helping to maintain 42 miles (milepost 193-235) of the Parkway landscape in the Dancy District south of Tupelo. He is one of those employees you can always count on to keep things going,” said Chief of Maintenance Barry Boyd. “As you pass through the District, you can see the results of his work. You will find the landscape carefully mowed, hazard trees removed, and the equipment properly cared for. He is an integral part of this team effort, and I look forward working with him for many more years.”
McCrary’s federal service began in 1977 as a maintenance worker at Cumberland Islands National Seashore in Georgia, where he performed restoration work on historic buildings. One of his first days at work, he recalls removing and cleaning bricks. In 1980, McCrary transferred as a maintenance worker to the Tupelo District at the Parkway with a specialty in sign making. Later, he was promoted to maintenance mechanic. His sign designs include both metal and wood varieties. Using rare American chestnut wood, retrieved from a demolished barn in Tennessee, he built a base for the Meriwether Lewis bust located in the Tupelo Visitor Center. Although McCrary’s talents are broad, he is most known for his attention to detail in the handcrafted arrowhead-style signs he makes, which hang at historic points of interest along the 444-mile parkway. He also designed and built a steel lift to place these large heavy signs, which made this task easier and safer.
“Forest has made a great impact on the Parkway and on me personally. His meticulous attention to detail, dedication, and his calm demeanor is an inspiration for others. I admire his talents, and he is always a pleasure to work with,” said Boyd.
“These two employees have contributed 85 years of combined service to the Parkway. It isn’t often that we get the opportunity to celebrate milestones for two such extraordinary dedicated employees,” stated Superintendent Mary Risser. “Their humble and self-less dedication to our country and the National Park Service is greatly appreciated.”