Letter to the Editor: NPS Above and Beyond

I feel compelled to share an experience I had today while working at the Visitor Center here on Ocracoke Island.

It will hopefully lessen the hard feelings some people have for the National Park Service (NPS).

A very nice family came into the Visitor Center this afternoon, inquiring about wheelchairs that can be used on the beach. The woman, who requires a wheelchair, told me she saw something about the beach wheelchairs online. I had never heard of anything like that, so I started searching the Cape Hatteras National Seashore website for the information, but thankfully my supervisor and store manager, Karen Dalton, stepped in. Karen gave the woman the number to call, but like many other visitors, she had no cell phone service. So I gave her my cell phone and she called, but there was no answer.

At that point the woman became discouraged, so Karen suggested I call District Ranger (DR) Ed Fuller to ask for assistance. DR Fuller answered the call and very willingly offered to bring the beach wheelchair to the hotel where the family was staying. The woman asked if she could use the wheelchair for more than one day, and DR Fuller offered use of the wheelchair for the duration of their six-day stay. Once I relayed their hotel information to DR Fuller and ended the call, the woman was overwhelmed with joy, and told us she hadn’t been near the surf in nearly 29 years. At that point she began crying out of sheer joy and happiness, finally knowing she’d be able to be on the beach and near the surf.  She was incredibly thankful and appreciative, and witnessing that type of reaction can be contagious; Karen and I began crying a bit too. 

I wanted to share this because the people who work for the NPS are just that: people; and clearly very caring people. DR Fuller went above and beyond to help the woman immediately, and his actions directly impacted how enjoyable and memorable her family vacation here will be. Having this type of service available through the NPS is impressive, but what’s more impressive is how District Ranger Ed Fuller jumped right in to helping a complete stranger.

Crystal Canterbury


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