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Super volunteers at Navajo State Park

Volunteers are seldom paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

This could not be truer of Navajo State Park volunteers Terry and Carol Zink. The Zinks epitomize the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week: Celebrating People in Action.

Terry and Carol’s volunteer career began at Roosevelt Lake, Ariz., where they were Forest Service camp hosts for 11 years. Since 2000, this volunteering couple has logged in more than 10,000 hours at Navajo State Park. The Zinks have lived in Arboles for 25 years and became involved with the volunteer program at Navajo because they care about the park and believe Navajo is the nicest state park in Colorado

Their official title is Camp Host, but their involvement goes way beyond that.

Terry is the quintessential jack-of-all-trades. He does all of the camp host recruitment and training, as well holding the title of “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” at the volunteer cookouts. If anyone wants to know where to find a tool or how to fix the showers, the answer is always “Ask Terry.”

Carol has proven to be a valuable office volunteer during the winter months and takes it upon herself to pick up trash or clean bathrooms or do whatever is necessary for the benefit of the park and its visitors.

Terry’s strong work ethic was recognized in 2001 when he was named Volunteer of the Year for Colorado State Parks. His dedication has not waned. Both of the Zinks live by the adage that those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. Volunteers of their caliber are a true asset.

Their advice to other volunteers, especially camp hosts, is to care about and be interested in the place where you are volunteering and that, if you work steady and hard, you will feel good and proud about being a volunteer.

Doug Secrist, park manager at Navajo State Park, sums up the Zink’s 10 years of service by stating, “Carol and Terry Zink are truly exceptional people and they have consistently provided the visitors to Navajo State Park with exceptional service. They certainly reflect the best of Colorado State Parks through their remarkable commitment and outstanding dedication.”

There are several volunteer opportunities available at Navajo, including a park favorite — driving a shuttle cart for the visitors from the parking lots to the marina. One of the perks of being a Colorado State Park volunteer is a free annual Colorado Parks pass with 48 volunteer hours.

If you are interested in joining a group of volunteers that knows how to have fun, call the Visitor Center at 883-2208, Ext. 208.