Veterans, continued

Warren Poplin served in the US Coast Guard.

Warren Poplin is the district chief, overseeing all parks in the Panhandle.

Warren Poplin served in the U.S. Coast Guard
In which branch of the armed forces did you serve? 

U.S. Coast Guard.

Briefly describe your job in the military. Include the number of years you served. 

Served four years as a Boatswain Mate 3rd class petty office, certified boat coxswain and boarding officer. Basically, I was a boat operator involved with drug interdiction and search and rescue.

Which bureau, office, park or trail do you work for now?

Currently work at the District 1's office in Panama City.

Describe your job in the park service? What are your favorite parts of your job?  

Bureau chief of District 1. I find it most rewarding when I can use my experiences to help others with their careers.

How did your service in the military prepare you for working for the Florida Park Service? 

In the U.S. Coast Guard, I learned discipline, respect and dedication to service and our country.  Most importantly it takes a team to achieve great accomplishments, so learning the ability to work effectively with others.  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the Florida Park Service?

The rewards of the job are not monetary. It is knowing the impacts to the resources and that we have provided a place for lifelong memories for those that visit our state parks. 

Aaron Richmond is a park ranger, helping with special projects at parks in the Panhandle.

Aaron Richmond served in the U.S. Army.
In which branch of the armed forces did you serve?

U.S. Army.

Briefly describe your job in the military. Include the number of years you served.

Enlisted as a 12B combat engineer. After six years, reclassified to a 91B diesel mechanic. Served 12 years total.

Which bureau, office, park or trail do you work for now?

District 1's office in Panama City.

Describe your job in the park service. What are your favorite parts of your job?

Park ranger working for the District 1 Office. I get to do all kinds of stuff from hurricane cleanups to lots of prescribed fire operations. I enjoy the challenge of the different types of work we do and love working outdoors.

How did your service in the military prepare you for working for the Florida Park Service?

Learning to work and operate as part of a team was huge. Also, being able to properly use time management skills.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the Florida Park Service?

Be ready to do some tough but rewarding work. Be adaptable; things can change quickly, and be willing to learn.

Larry Steed is the park manager at Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon.

Larry Steed served in the U.S. Army.
In which branch of the armed forces did you serve?

U.S. Army.

Briefly describe your job in the military. Include the number of years you served.

Armor crewmember on M1A1 Abrams Battle Tank. Served in Germany and in both Desert Storm and Shield with the 3rd Armored Division. Six years of service.

Which bureau, office, park or trail do you work for now?

Rainbow Springs State Park.

Describe your job in the park service. What are your favorite parts of your job?

Working as a team to provide the best recreational, interpretive and educational experience visitors enjoy when they are visiting state parks. Seeing a team rise to challenges that often are viewed as insurmountable. Watching staff develop innovative ideas to achieve success at work.

How did your service in the military prepare you for working for the Florida Park Service?

It taught me patience as well as leadership to work and function as a team. It taught me to consider all ideas to achieve a common goal. It taught me integrity as well as pride in my work product.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the Florida Park Service?

Do it! It is one of the most fun, diverse and challenging jobs in the world. The sense of accomplishment and service when working with our visitors is phenomenal. Working as a team to complete park goals and objectives reinforces the sense that we are all one big family.

Jacob Strickland is the park manager at Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna.

Jacob Strickland served in the U.S. Army.
In which branch of the armed forces did you serve?

U.S. Army.

Briefly describe your job in the military. Include the number of years you served.

11H Mechanized Infantry/Anti-Armor. Served 15 years.

Which bureau, office, park or trail do you work for now?

Florida Caverns State Park.

Describe your job in the park service? What are your favorite parts of your job?

Current park manager at the Florida Caverns State Park. My favorite parts of the job are interpreting to state park visitors and the challenges of working in a state park.

How did your service in the military prepare you for working for the Florida Park Service?

It helped fine-tune problem-solving abilities, and strengthened work ethic, leadership and self-confidence.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the Florida Park Service?

Get your feet wet by volunteering and see if it’s a fit for you.