December 2013 Volunteer of the Month
Photo by Bill Downes
Over 50 years ago, Bob Athey was introduced to Shenandoah National Park by his father. As a result of these family excursions to Shenandoah, he developed an interest in hiking and camping. Bob became a member of PATC in 1976. When his two sons were old enough, he introduced them to his love of the outdoors. They began hiking and camping in the SNP on a regular basis. On one of these trips, they happened upon a PATC cabin and learned of our cabin rental system. He then started renting cabins in the Park, the first being Pocosin in 1990. After a couple trips to Pocosin, he met the cabin overseer John Daniel and learned more about PATC and our cabin rental system outside of the park.
Bob was active in the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) at this time, and participated in many work trips with RATC. These work trips included performing maintenance on many shelters in the RATC-maintained section of the Appalachian Trail. One major project he was part of was the construction of the Sarver Hollow Shelter.
Sometime in the late 1990’s, he received a message from one of our PATC cabin overseers. The message read, “Since you are a renter, would you be interested in giving back by helping with the upkeep?” Bob answered the call. He started to actively participate in PATC work trips in 2000. His first PATC work trip was with Thomas Jorgenson at the Weaver (now Humphrey) Cabin. He then became a regular member of the Southern Slackers Cabin crew and has worked on numerous cabins and huts over the years. The cabins he has worked on include the Schairer Trail Center, Argow, Vining, Meadows, Cliff’s House, Mutton Top, and Dunlodge Cabins, and the Ivy Creek Maintenance Hut.
He is a valuable member of any work trip because of the many skills he brings from his working career. These skills include but are not limited to: fabricating metal parts, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, painting, etc. The only thing he does not do is cook, but he is the first to volunteer to do the dishes.
Bob was born in Power, W. Va (which no longer exists). He also lived in Moundsville and in the Wheeling area before moving to Fairmont W. Va., where he worked for Owens-Illinois until they shut the factory down. Then, he moved to the Bassett, Va., area where he worked for Tultex as an electrician until he retired.
For the past 12 years, Bob has assisted his son, Todd, in the management of the PATC owned 200-acre Eaton Hollow Tract and as the Co-Overseer of the Schairer Trail Center.
Bob has participated in approximately 120 worktrips since 2000.
The PATC Land Management Committee thanks Bob for his many years of dedicated service to PATC and its members.
— Bill Downes