Ho Truong
Park Ranger
Santa Monica Mountains, California

Ho Truong,  followed his heart and  pursued a career in  the outdoors.  He found it as a Park Ranger at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.   Many employees discover the career opportunities within the National Park Service through a College program referred to as the Cooperative Student Program (Co-op).  As a college student they sign up to participate in the Co-op program often unaware of the variety of agencies that participate and the opportunities that are provided.

"It is tough to break away from the bonds of tradition and you often follow your parents wishes, I had to step out of those and follow my heart."  You know what you want to do in your heart, itís okay to go for it."

Ho Truong is one of those former students.  His first choice was not the National Park Service(NPS).  His first choice was the United States Forest Service, however when they did not hire him Ho chose to explore opportunities within the NPS.    Although he was not aware of the NPS or knowledgeable on what the NPS represented Ho, accepted his first job at Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park in California.

At Sequoia,  Ho was educated on the NPS mission, established by the 1916  Organic Act, "Ö.to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."  Ho  majored in Forestry at Humboldt State University in Northern California so the transition to resource protection was a natural choice.  The idea that he could provide opportunities to educate the public and protect natural and cultural resources  was attractive.

The last six years of Hoís NPS career have been at Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California.  As a Park Ranger at Santa Monica,  Ho meets  the challenges of  interpretation, education, information dissemination, and visitor compliance with enthusiasm.  Hoís favorite part of the job is both  the personal reward he achieves each time he contacts a visitor, and shares with them his enthusiasm for the surrounding NPS resource, and the opportunity his job provides for him to help people.  As a protection ranger, there are times when a visitor contact may not be pleasant and may lead to the issuance of a citation.  Those times are not enjoyable, but Ho hopes that the visitor realizes that the citation is a  tool  to educate them, not a reason to hassle them.

Ho thinks it is pretty unusual to have Vietnamese employees in the NPS.  It is  a career path he recommends you choose early on, and to take advantage of the Co-op programs through school.  For Ho, a career in the NPS meant breaking with his families traditional career goals, and pursuing his heart.  His advice to anyone interested in the NPS, especially those within the Asian community, is follow your heart because it is your career and your life.  "It is tough to break away from the bonds of tradition and you often follow your parents wishes, I had to step out of those and follow my heart."  You know what you want to do in your heart, itís okay to go for it."

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