VIP Butch Roggenkamp hit 8,000 volunteer hours this summer, half of which he accumulated at Pipe Spring. He has received the President’s Call to Service Award in recognition of his commitment.
In 2004, after 23 years with the U.S. Postal Service, Ronald “Butch” Roggenkamp decided he was ready to “give back to America.” His first volunteer experience was at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico. Butch already had an interest in ancient Southwest cultures and he jumped right in to learn everything he could about the Mogollon people who lived in the Gila region.
It was at Gila that Butch’s love for sharing with visitors and demonstrating ancient techniques took hold. He learned how to use yucca fibers to make cordage and was one of only three people allowed to lead guided tours to a remote backcountry site at Gila. Butch and his wife Gene volunteered several months each year for four years at that park.
Volunteer positions at other parks fed Butch’s love for Southwestern cultures and helped develop his skills. At Hovenweep National Monument in Utah he began learning to flint knapp and gave evening programs; at El Morro National Monument in New Mexico, he worked at the visitor center desk, cleared snow, and helped run the bookstore.
Butch’s first stint at Pipe Spring National Monument was in 2005 – after that, there was no keeping him away, and he returned in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. It was at Pipe Spring that Butch really honed his skills as a flint knapper (the art of shaping certain kinds of rock into tools).
While his flint knapping demonstrations are a big hit, Butch does so much more for Pipe Spring. He carries the mantle of volunteer guide with ease and so far he has responded to every call at the monument. He works the front desk at the visitor center, where he collects entrance fees, reports weather, answers questions about the site and surrounding area, and issues Grand Canyon backcountry permits. He has worked with maintenance, perfected guided tours of historic Winsor Castle, and really looks after the monument livestock. He even pitches in weeding the interpretive garden – but only because he likes okra!