Staff Spotlight, Rick Coosey
Park Services Specialist, Rick Coosey
Park Services Specialist Rick Coosey has always enjoyed being outdoors. From breathing in the salty air on sandy beaches to exploring the quiet wonders of shady mangroves, he finds himself most at peace when he is outdoors.
“I thought it would be a cool job to work outdoors in a natural environment, and there was an opening at Honeymoon Island so I applied,” says Rick. That was in 1998. He was hired to Honeymoon Island State Park and worked there for nearly 20 years, also helping to take care of associated parks Anclote Key, Caladesi Island, Egmont Key and the Skyway Fishing Piers.
Over the years, he held many positions, including a substitute maintenance mechanic, maintenance repairman, park ranger and assistant park manager. Upon leaving the beach parks, he was a park ranger for a short amount of time at DeLeon Springs State park before coming to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Spring Wildlife State Park as a maintenance park services specialist.
With his diverse experience, Rick has an abundance of stories and favorite places. He starts his workday with the rising sun, walking along sandy beaches conducting sea turtle patrol during nesting season. Remote islands have welcomed him into their wild landscape during picnic pavilion construction. Rick has enjoyed giving guided trail walks and leading interpretive programs about ospreys in the spring while watching manatees swim and rest in warm waters in the winter.
One of his most memorable experiences was making additions onto park housing at Caladesi Island, a place that is accessible only by boat. He worked the project start to finish, having the blueprints drawn up, materials ordered and then working with park staff and volunteers to build the rooms.
On any given workday, Rick can be found replacing boardwalk, repairing a diesel engine or maintaining manatee pool heaters. His skillset is diverse and he is able to determine how to fix anything.
According to Park Manager Zach Phifer, “Rick does a great job representing the Florida Park Service and its core values! We’re very fortunate here at Homosassa Springs to have his years of knowledge, skills and abilities. He is held in very high regard by his coworkers, volunteers and supervisors and is an integral part of what makes this park tick. Rick is always willing to give a helping hand and continuously demonstrates a positive attitude.”