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America’s oldest national park ranger has retired after 16 years of service.
Betty Reid Soskin, 100, recently stepped down from her post at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, the National Park Service (NPS) noted.
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Soskin first became involved with the NPS when she participated in scoping meetings with the City of Richmond for the development of the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front; that was before the park got its national historical park designation in 2000.
Soskin lived through World War II; she worked with the NPS to secure a grant that was funded by PG&E and led to the creation of various educational exhibitions on the lives of Black Americans who lived during that period of American history.
“Being a primary source in the sharing of that history — my history — and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling,” Soskin said in a statement.
“It has proven to bring meaning to my final years.”
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After years of serving as a consultant for Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front, Soskin officially joined the NPS team as a temporary park ranger at age 84.
Five years later, she became a permanent park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front, where she led public programs and shared her firsthand memories and observations at the park visitor center.
In a statement provided to the NPS, Soskin said it has “been incredible” to serve an “influence” for “the future” with the “footprints” she and other members of the Greatest Generation (born 1901-1927) have left behind.
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Soskin retired on March 31 and spent her last day as a park ranger by hosting an interpretive program and visiting coworkers, the NPS said.
“Being a primary source in the sharing of that history – my history – and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling.”
The Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front has plans to celebrate Soskin’s retirement on Saturday, April 16.
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Soskin celebrated her 100th birthday on Sept. 21, 2021.
Prior to making history as the world’s oldest park ranger, Soskin worked as a file clerk, record store manager and field representative for California State Assemblywomen Dion Aroner and Loni Hancock.
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Soskin published a memoir about her life in 2018 titled “Sign My Name to Freedom: A Memoir of a Pioneering Life.”