Longtime park volunteer Ron Garner is San Juan Island National Historical Park’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year.
A native of Ohio, former park ranger and teacher, and a 16-year island resident, Garner received the coveted NHP award Dec. 8, as part of the park’s annual Holiday Social. Garner has spent almost every weekend for the past three summers as a volunteer blacksmith in the park’s living history program, a program he first resuscitated as a seasonal event in 1984.
“Ron is about as good as it gets for volunteering on San Juan Island, where volunteering is a way of life,” park historian Mike Vouri said.
Garner’s list of contributions to the park include overseeing construction of a three-quarter replica of a U.S. Army traveling blacksmith forge and a 12-pounder mountain howitzer gun used by Battery D, an island-based living history group featured regularly in park reenactment programs.
He also has helped to recruit and train park staff and volunteers, including members of several island and off-island youth groups.