Gary Hill – an information volunteer at ATC headquarters in Harpers Ferry, WV – is relatively new to the A.T., having spent several years working in Guam before retiring to Hawaii. He returned to the mainland after the death of his wife Mitsue and settled in Michigan. After reading a book about the A.T. he called ATC to offer his services.
Gary arrived in Harpers Ferry in April, 2007 “willing to do anything” says his supervisor, Laurie Potteiger. Though new to the A.T., he learned quickly, and his enthusiasm for the Trail was infectious. Gary’s warmth and genuine interest in all people, regardless of background, made visitors feel welcome immediately, says Laurie. He was generous with his time, volunteering over 500 hours in less than a year. One of a small group of trusted volunteers who staffed the visitor center on weekends during the winter, he welcomed over 500 people who would have found the visitor center closed without his efforts.
Gary himself found the work rewarding because the hikers and other visitors he met were much like his wife Mitsue: “interesting and positive.” In fact, meeting so many hikers while volunteering at the visitor center inspired Gary – he is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (Trail name: Babu Simba or Grandfather Lion a name he earned while hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.) Though he is on hiatus, we look forward to seeing him again after he reaches Mount Katahdin!