Volunteer Spotlight, Gary Lowe
Gary Lowe was born in West Virginia and relocated to Florida when he was 12 years old. He’s always had a love for the outdoors, particularly hiking, kayaking and nature viewing. So, it would only make sense that Gary would spend his free time volunteering at a Florida state park. He has been a resident volunteer at John Pennekamp since 2014, with 1,600 of his 1,804 volunteer hours being at the park.
It’s hard to catch Gary in one place for long. He stays busy maintaining the grounds, repairing the facilities and even working in the wood shop. He is also an excellent campground host, keeping the restrooms and sites spotlessly clean and assisting campers. He loves the people that he gets to work with every day, and of course meeting all the guests that come to the park.
Gary’s dedication runs far beyond his daily duties at the park. Following Hurricane Irma, Gary worked tirelessly to help clean up the debris and damage from the storm. After the 4 feet of water that flooded the campground dried up, Gary worked to repair the electric connections at the campsites. He worked long hours, alongside the ranger staff, to get the campground reopened as soon as possible.
Gary loves John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park because the weather is wonderful year-round and there are abundant opportunities for water activities at the park. When you visit the park, Gary suggests kayaking the trail through the mangroves or snorkeling in Largo Sound. Gary hopes that he can continue to volunteer for many years to come, doing his part to preserve and protect this precious state park.