Joe DeLoach grew up where he could see from the Smokies into Virginia along the Appalachian Trail. His first word was “mountain”—foretelling his enthusiasm for the natural world and the A.T.
Joe is a chemist for the Eastman Chemical Company. He first volunteered on the Trail as a student in the early 80s and later joined both ATC and the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC). An A.T. maintainer and certified sawyer, he also has been instrumental in open-areas management, land-protection projects, and strengthening A.T. partnerships. Joe has chaired TEHCC’s steering committee and serves on the club’s A.T. committee. He is a Regional Partnership Committee representative and former chair. He leads spring wildflower and fall-color hikes and enjoys looking for mushrooms and wildflowers.
A.T. Committee Chair Steve Perri says the club is fortunate to have such a dedicated volunteer whose “roles span trail maintainer, open-areas coordinator, land acquisitions, the Tennessee A.T. license plate program, and Konnarock liaison. This year and last have truly been exceptional, as TEHCC also has relied on Joe for planning workshops for the upcoming ATC biennial.”
Joe finds volunteering on the A.T. both fun and important: “It combines being outside, getting exercise, and doing things that help people. It is very satisfying to clear a tangle of trees so that hikers can get through safely and without damage to the environment. It is also very satisfying to help protect mountain land at risk of development and open areas that provide great views and rare species habitat, for generations to come.”
“Joe is a reliable source of critical thinking and an indispensable partner to the Appalachian Trail through all facets of his work in maintenance, management, and protection,” says ATC Southern Regional Director Morgan Sommerville.