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Volunteers—the Difference They Make 

Apache-Sitgreaves Forest
Sheryl and Jerry Brunson are summer volunteers at Black Mesa Ranger Station, Overgaard, AZ. Photo by FS employee Iris Estes.

Springerville, AZ, August 4, 2017- Under the definition of volunteer in the dictionary, you could easily insert a picture of the Brunson’s. Who are the Brunson’s you ask?


Volunteers Sheryl and Jerry Brunson, from Lubbock Texas, have been coming to the Black Mesa Ranger District (BMRD) for five years now. They usually show up in April and spend 27-32 hours a week through September picking up trash, approximately four tons a season.


The Brunson’s, who are retired, say they get a feeling of self-satisfaction by being volunteers at the BMRD, “We feel we really make a difference and it fits us,” said Sheryl.


They appreciate how the BMRD shows them trust and freedom in the tasks that they are assigned to. They love Arizona, the secure feeling of staying at the BMRD compound, helping people, the support of district and the feeling of being a part of the district family.


“We enjoy the healthy environment, wide-open spaces, fresh air, and feeling like we are really helping America”, Jerry said.


They are glad that campers can come into a clean campground and enjoy their stay. But they would like to emphasize, please leave the area as you found or better, so others can enjoy it too.  The Brunson’s say they will continue to come back as long as they are welcomed.


An enormous thank you to the Brunson’s and all those like them that help to keep our National Forests clean, because as Tom Brokaw says “It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference!”