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George McBride (right) receives keys to the 1,000,000th John Deere tractor.

George McBride retires with 49 years of service

“After 49 years of service on the Natchez Trace Parkway, George McBride retires, and the Parkway loses a wealth of institutional knowledge,” stated Chief of Maintenance Barry Boyd. “For years, George’s goal was to retire with 50 years of service, but an opportunity that was just too good to pass up came George’s way, and he decided to leave us a year early.”

George began his career as many of National Park Service employees have – as a seasonal employee. Not too many other National Park Service employees, however, share his first day’s experience. He was sent out to bury three Black Angus heifers that had been hit on the Parkway; the only piece of equipment he was given for the job was a shovel!

Despite that unpleasant welcome to the Natchez Trace Parkway and National Park Service, George has stuck with the Parkway as a tractor operator and then a tractor operator lead. His co-workers decided that the 1,000,000th John Deere tractor that came off their line should be assigned to him to use.

According to Chief of Maintenance Barry Boyd, “George is meticulous and diligent in helping to maintain 42 miles of the Parkway landscape in the Dancy subdistrict. George is one of those employees who you can always count on to keep maintenance needs covered. As you drive through the area, you can see the results of George’s work – landscape carefully mowed, hazard trees removed, and equipment properly maintained.”

“Although maintenance workers don’t often get to interact with the employees who work in neighboring districts, working with George is always like seeing your best friend again,” stated James Stephens in Kosciusko.

“Although the work is the same, the equipment and people have changed over the years. Weather, such as tornados, hurricanes and ice storms, have caused some difficult days during George’s time here,” stated Superintendent Mary Risser. “Despite the challenges, I understand that George looks forward to coming to work each morning just as much as he did on his first day. George’s humble and self-less dedication to the National Park Service and our country is greatly appreciated.”

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