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After retiring from his position as associate registrar at East Tennessee State University, Ted Mowery soon took on a new endeavor—maintaining the Appalachian Trail with the Tennessee Eastman Hiking & Canoeing Club (TEHCC).
The club’s A.T. Committee Chair Vic Hasler says, “Ted is a quiet resource, always figuring out a better and more efficient way to accomplish a task. He purchased a two-wheeled carrier that has been invaluable on several projects where we had to move logs a long distance. If we are in the field and suddenly have a need for a length of rope or small tool, Ted will likely pull such items from his backpack. He always packs an extra sandwich so a hiker who joins us or a maintainer who forgot lunch can eat."
Ted is a dedicated participant in the club’s regular Thursday work crew, which tackles projects that may be beyond individual maintainers’ abilities. He also has assisted with the Hard Core Crew’s annual projects during Damascus Trail Days, transporting packs for participating hikers and leading work crews.
Along with Paul Benfield, Ted maintains the Appalachian Trail section that includes the accessible path across the open fields of the Osborne Farm. About every three weeks from April through October, Ted hauls his mower out to keep the grass and briars in check. They also mow around the Overmountain Shelter to keep the area open for viewing and camping. They accomplish both tasks in one day, each time driving on mountain roads for more than four hours round-trip.
Ted’s faithful maintenance efforts have resulted in almost 3,800 hours volunteered on the Appalachian Trail over the past ten years. Because of Ted’s exceptional expertise and leadership that benefit the Appalachian Trail and the hiking community, TEHCC honored him this spring with its prestigious Stan Murray award. (Murray was an early leader of the club who also chaired ATC’s board for 14 years, worked to get the Trail federally protected, and founded the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.)
Ted also volunteers with Holston Habitat for Humanity and on Appalachia Service projects, and has worked on two or even three house builds in a year.
Ted appreciates and praises his fellow volunteers, saying, “The people are so good to work with. You really feel that you are accomplishing something as part of a team.”