by Sara Haxby, ATC Senior Conservation Coordinator

Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award

This award is an opportunity to honor your most outstanding volunteers and recognize the impact they make. Volunteers who have given 4,000 hours (and fulfill a few other criteria) receive a gold medallion, certificate, and a letter from the President of the United States.

Three years prior to reaching 4,000 hours, one volunteer’s nomination described him as “generous with his time.” Four others who served as Trail Supervisor or a similar role volunteered more on-Trail hours than any other volunteer in the same period. The joy of giving to the Trail is another hallmark. “He is happiest when he is out on the Trail.”

Joy was oft-mentioned, and in conjunction with service and camaraderie. The call to serve, and give back to community, gives many a sense of purpose, belonging, and satisfaction.

Moreover, these volunteers often inspire others to serve with enthusiasm and dedication. A common phrase in the spotlights describe an “enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge.” A passion for stewardship often spills into other responsibilities. One couple earned the award simultaneously, after eagerly giving more than 4,000 hours each to maintenance and management in support of the A.T. Every story about discovering stewardship is different, but many follow a similar path from the lightbulb moment of finding a precious new hobby to exemplifying the cooperative spirit of the A.T. community. So many of these incredible folks apply and offer their skills outside of the A.T. network, or footpath, as well.

Although not every volunteer who endeavors to give back to the Appalachian Trail will accrue enough time on this public resource to earn a Presidential Lifetime Service Award, we can all be grateful for those who have, and those who are on their way.

If you know of someone who has reached this great achievement, please reach out to

And thanks for all that you do!