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Contact: Andrew White, 307.739.3431
MOOSE, WY—Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela presented three volunteers with President’s Lifetime Achievement Awards. The award recognizes individuals who contribute more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service in their lifetime. The three awards, which recognize Roger Butterbaugh, Gaylia Hudgins, and Scott Williams, bring the total number of Grand Teton volunteers recognized for their lifetime achievement to 22. Volunteers contribute close to 40,000 hours of service to the park annually, with an estimated value of their labor near one million dollars.
“We are incredibly grateful for the dedication of all of our volunteers, as they provide a crucial margin of excellence,” said Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela. “Gaylia, Roger, and Scott exemplify the volunteer spirit which allows us to provide a high level of service to park visitors and promote quality visitor experiences.”
There are many volunteer opportunities in Grand Teton National Park. Over 130 volunteers contribute on a full-time, seasonal basis, while thousands more serve in short-term capacities. Volunteers serve in park maintenance, preservation of cultural resources, visitor centers, trail rehabilitation, administrative support, and more. To learn more, download an application, and view current available opportunities, visit .
Roger Butterbaugh has volunteered eight summer seasons for the Western Center for Historic Preservation, a National Park Service program based out of Grand Teton National Park. Butterbaugh serves as the caretaker for the historic White Grass Dude Ranch, the Western Center’s primary training center. As caretaker, Roger is responsible for the daily upkeep and maintenance of the 13-cabin ranch, checks ranch guests in and out, and serves as their concierge. To date, he has contributed over 5,800 hours of volunteer service.
In addition to his caretaker duties, Butterbaugh pioneered and now coordinates the White Grass Heritage Project, a partnership with the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum to collect the stories, memories, and cultural materials associated with the ranch. Though he is only at the ranch in the summer, he works on the project year-round, completing video, archival, and oral history projects at his home in Kentucky. A retired marriage and family therapist, he finds his work recording oral histories with former “White Grassers” similar to therapeutic work in that both involve careful listening to understand the significance of the life experiences being described.
“Roger takes care of White Grass as if it were his own home,” said Western Center for Historic Preservation Director Katherine Wonson. “He has a meticulous attention to detail and makes sure everyone’s stay is memorable and special. He has formed friendships and bonds with the former White Grass community but also forged new relationships with curious visitors and trainees. I couldn't be more thankful for the kind, generous person that has come to represent our organization.”
Gaylia Hudgins has volunteered at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center for seven summer seasons. Hudgins provides visitor services at the preserve center including greeting visitors as they arrive at the parking lot, answering questions at the center’s front desk, leading informal programs which interpret the natural resources found at the preserve, and roving the preserve’s hiking trails. To date, she has contributed over 4,200 hours of volunteer service.
During her service, Hudgins has enjoyed the opportunity to work with wonderful people including other passionate volunteers and dedicated rangers, hiking the park’s backcountry trails, and sharing her love of Grand Teton National Park with visitors. “Gaylia charms visitors with her enthusiasm for this landscape expressed with a Virginia accent,” said Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Supervisor Clay Hanna. “You can’t walk away without a smile."
Hudgins’ volunteer efforts extend beyond park boundaries. She has volunteered 14 seasons with the National Elk Refuge doing historic interpretation and providing visitor services. As a retired nurse, she has also participated in several international trips with the Operation Smile organization to provide surgical care to children suffering from cleft lip or cleft palate.
Scott Williams began to volunteer with the Jenny Lake Rangers in 2012, patrolling trails and backcountry areas, checking campsites, and providing local advice on conditions and route information. Since that time, Scott’s volunteer role expanded to include service as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, a CPR instructor, a member of the park’s dive team, and a structural firefighter. Williams now serves as the captain for one of the park’s fire engines and the Emergency Medical Services training captain. To date, he has contributed over 4,600 hours of volunteer service.
“Scott’s appetite to help out in the Visitor and Resource Protection program just seems to keep growing,” said Chief Ranger Michael Nash. “His hard work and dedication are unrivalled. Perhaps his most impressive feat is that he coordinated our second-ever Emergency Medical Technician class this past January, leading 12 interagency trainees through over 130 hours of required training.”
In order to create more realistic emergency services training, Williams developed a keen interest in moulage, or the art of applying mock injuries. This interest and his extensive moulage kit earned him the nickname “Hollywood” for creating pretend victims during training exercises.
Williams is an active member of Jackson Hole Fire / EMS, and he has become a teammate, leader, advisor, and friend to many in the community. He can be found on EMS and Fire incidents throughout Teton County.