Ed Note: Readers you are in for a treat as Tom Cervenak, Visitor Services and Marketing Manager for Virginia State Parks, weaves the story of how he came to work for parks and what his career has been like. This series will run nine chapters, with many of them split into two parts.
Chapter 7 Being APark Ranger (Part 2)
I then moved from there to Hungry Mother and then Mason Neck state parks. In a career, don’t be afraid to move and try new things, it all helps to build a solid background of experience. I even left Virginia State Parks for 3 years and moved back home to work for the Ohio State Parks at Pymatuning State Park, living back in my family’s cottage. That was really great and I might have stayed, but it turns out Mom and Dad actually wanted to retire into “their” cottage and the thought of me living with them once again was appalling to them.
So, I returned to Virginia in 1995 to York River State Park as a Chief Ranger again, but was promoted to Manager within short time. I spent 10 wonderful years there, before promoting to our central office in Richmond. I became the Customer Service and Marketing Manager, using many of those skills I developed as a salesman for the church raffles and throughout my career. I have been blessed to have been able to do so many things, from holding a live Red Tailed Hawk in my arms, to stocking rainbow trout, to operating a bulldozer, to flying in a spotter helicopter for spraying gypsy moths, to protecting citizens as a Law Enforcement Officer, to providing life saving rescues, to opening the eyes of children to the wonderful world of nature, to working with the Special Olympics and so many more events that make an award winning career.
In my final 2 entries of this series, I will give you the Top 10 things you should do if you want to Become a Park Ranger… and the Top 10 Highlights of my career.