(LEWES, Del.) - Leaders in Delaware are celebrating National Service Recognition Day by thanking veterans who work tirelessly to serve the community after years of serving their country. WRDE met up with the Veterans Conservation Corps in the Cape Henlopen State Park. It's one of many locations members of the program seek to maintain and give back to.
Marshall Morgan served in the Army from 1994 to 1998 and now he serves his community in a different way through the Delaware State Parks' Veterans Conservation Corps. He joined the program in October 2018.
"I wanted to be back with a team environment, better myself," says Morgan. He joins Glenn Catchings, a military family member, on trail maintenance in the Cape Henlopen State Park.
"Clean out the sides, I would say three feet on both sides so we can get through," Catching explains how the trail they're walking along would typically be cleared. Catchings joined the program in October 2016 and became a Team Leader two weeks ago.
This Veterans Conservation Corps is an AmeriCorps National service program made up of veterans and military familiy members who work on trail maintenance, park projects, and environmental stewardship in all 17 of Delaware's state parks. Today many towns throughout the state are thanking them for their service by celebrating National Service Recognition Day.
"April 2nd, it's a nationwide day that recognizes the service of men and women across the United States," says Karen Minner, who started the Delaware State Parks' Veterans Conservation Corps four years ago.
"We have 173 miles of trail and thousands of acres of land to maintain and when they're out here working and it's 100 degrees outside or it's 20 degrees outside, so they can make the trails accessible to the public," Minner explains.
This kind of service is the training Morgan is looking for to go back to school. He plans to study environmental engineering and environmental science this fall.
Morgan, Catchings, and their team members serve 40 hours a week, 11 months out of the year.
"Recently we've been working on a boardwalk project at Holt's Landing," says Catchings. For his next project with the program, he'll find himself in the Trap Pond State Park for the removal of vegetation and different invasive species.
The Veterans Conservation Corps will be back in the Cape Henlopen State Park to help out at the Delaware Goes to War event on Saturday, April 27th.
Military veterans and their family members who wish to apply can click here for the application.