In the summer of 1936, twenty-three-year-old Gerald R. Ford found employment as a Park Ranger at Yellowstone National Park, making him the only U.S. President to be employed as a ranger with the National Park Service. He referred to his summer of rangering as one of the greatest summers of his life, and although he said the position was "very challenging," he also stated that it was one of the greatest jobs he ever held. Of course, Ford would hold many more jobs, including that of President of the United States. On August 9, 1974, he was sworn in as the nation's 38th President, assuming the office after the resignation of Richard M. Nixon. During Ford's two and a half years in office, 18 new areas were added to the National Park Service, including the Monocacy Battlefield, near Frederick, Maryland, the Clara Barton National Historic Site, the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site at Kinderhook, New York, and the Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Gerald Ford died yesterday evening at the age of 93. As we honor and remember the life of President Ford, most will think of his tenure as U.S. President. But as a park ranger myself, I will remember him also as a ranger for the National Park Service.