SOMERSET, Ky. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District personnel at Lake Cumberland unveiled an honorary display wall today to commemorate the service of park rangers during a ceremony at the Lake Cumberland Visitor’s Center.
Current and former park rangers, employees, family members and friends commemorated the service of park rangers over the decades as environmental regulators and guardians of historic lands.
“We are here to commemorate the great work that park rangers have done at Lake Cumberland both now and in the past,” said Brett Call, Lake Cumberland resource manager.
Call said they created the exhibit because park rangers today realize they stand on the shoulders of great men and women in the past and want to make sure that the public understands their role in protecting the natural resources and serving local communities for many decades.
“It was the idea of our rangers today to establish this display to commemorate the rangers of the past,” call said. “I think it is a commitment to the memory of those people and it’s good to have some of those rangers here that have served in the past.”
A large scale display wall, with an enlarged photo of four 1972 Park Rangers Annon Bozeman, Wallace Halcomb, Carl Thomas and Mike Patterson is featured as the main backdrop of the display.
Those in attendance recognized Joyce Halcomb, wife of deceased Park Ranger Wallace Halcomb, and honored her with flowers and a district coin presented by Capt. Allen Stansbury, Wolf Creek Dam Foundation Remediation Project officer.
“We are honored to present this coin to Mrs. Halcomb in honor of her late husband,” said Stansbury.
Halcomb was honored for his steadfast commitment to excellence as a park ranger and mentor and was one of the first six park rangers in the nation to have citation authority to write tickets for violations. Halcomb was the first ranger to write a ticket and go to court to enforce it.
Mike Patterson, one of the original park rangers in 1972, said Halcomb was a great ranger and would always stand firm on all his decisions.
“We learned so much from Wallace, because he was a true gentleman with a good heart,” said Patterson. “Park rangers will continue to tell you they have the best job in the world because of the training and standards he set for us.”
Carolyn Bauer, a former Lake Cumberland park ranger who recently retired from the Corps in March with 35 years of service, thanked Halcomb for being a great teacher.
“He was my mentor, my idol, my hero and a fun-loving family man.” said Bauer. “He had the heart of a teacher and many, many of us here today owe him a debt of gratitude and thank him for his training.”
Bill Jackson, park ranger from the Lake Cumberland Resource Office, was a student in Halcomb’s 1989 park ranger class and spoke during the ceremony.
Jackson asked Jacob Halcomb, 11, the grandson of Park Ranger Halcomb, to come forward. He wore his grandfather’s original ranger hat and badge during the ceremony. Jackson described the significance of the hat and the heritage of the badge.
“I know Wallace would be proud of us today,” said Jackson. “We thank his family for sharing him and commend him for all his hard work over the years as a park ranger.”
Lake Cumberland is the largest lake in the Cumberland River System and provides varied outdoor recreational opportunities for millions of visitors each year.
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