September 2014 Volunteer of the Month
Seven years ago, Casey Buboltz showed up at a North District Hoodlums work trip and the North District hasn’t been the same since. Nor has Casey.
Within a couple of months, he was already making Hoodlum history when he mashed his thumb, spending a half day under the gentle care of the Page County ER. Others may have found this daunting but not Casey. The end of the day saw him back at Indian Run maintenance hut, with a thumb the size and color of a small eggplant but raring to go. Just goes to show you can’t keep a good man down.
Casey grew up in De Pere, Wis., and started camping and backpacking as a kid. After attending the University of Minnesota, he came east in 2002 to intern on Capitol Hill but never lost his love of the outdoors.
Shortly after joining the ND Hoodlums in 2007, Casey volunteered to be an overseer on the Pole Bridge Link trail, one of the North District's blue-blazed sections, a job he handled in his own ever-competent style for over five years. In 2012, Casey switched over to the AT and became co-overseer of the Gravel Springs-Mt. Marshall section.
Casey's work as an overseer is only half the story, however. In addition, he is a certified sawyer and is one of the last to complete the National Park Service’s felling certification course. Through marriage, house moves, job changes, company start-ups and all the other ups and downs of life, Casey is always there when it comes to trail work and the PATC. Need a blowdown removed? Call Casey. Need some help on your section? Call Casey. Need to get some weeder line up to the tool cache? Call Casey.
On any third weekend from March through November, Friday nights find Casey at Indian Run, Saturdays working with the Hoodlums and Sundays helping out wherever and whenever there is a need. The ND Hoodlums' June trip was a good example. Casey led a crew to weed the section of another overseer who had been called out of town. No sooner had he finished that chore than he pitched in and helped with the Hoodlums' cookout for thru-hikers.
Next morning after a night at Indian Run he was taking out blowdowns on still another section. None of this counts the time and energy he spends on his own section, which he keeps in tip-top condition. Nor are his labors confined to the SNP's North District. Last fall, Casey joined a pick-up crew at Bears Den where his felling skills came in handy as well as his readiness to grab a rock bar and move some really big boulders.
You can't beat that with a stick. Or a sore thumb.
—Submitted by Wayne Limberg
Know a PATC volunteer who goes "above and beyond?"
Nominate him or her for Volunteer of the Month! Send nominations to Rick Canter at email@example.com.