Cape Lookout National Seashore selects 2022 Volunteers of the Year

HARKERS ISLAND, N.C. (WITN) – A group of four are being recognized for a year of hard work at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Typically, Cape Lookout National Seashore picks a single volunteer to be recognized, but they tell WITN that they had to recognize four individuals for their outstanding service to the park:

  • Tom Atkinson
  • Rich Rehm
  • Lawrence “Scotty” Scott
  • Al Heltzel

The national seashore says the group of four tackled the daunting task of restoring the Summer Kitchen, a building that lost a majority of its roof and siding in Hurricane Florence in 2018.

These volunteers created a new cedar shake roof, replaced load-bearing walls, re-sided the exterior of the building with planks, and hand-made windows, doors, and stairs. The National Seashore says these four left the kitchen better than it ever had been previously.

The long-term plans for the Summer Kitchen are to prepare the interior as a living history museum that highlights what it might have looked like in 1917. Park visitors arriving for lighthouse tours will first conduct a tour of the Keepers Quarters and Summer Kitchen Museum before beginning their tour of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

The park intends to synchronize the opening of this new museum with the re-opening of the lighthouse for public climbing after lighthouse renovations are completed.

Atkinson was a Keepers Quarters volunteer and later assisted the park’s resource management.

Rehm was a Keepers Quarters volunteer and oversaw a project involving a recently hatched turtle nest. He will be the coordinator of the 2023 outreach program.

Scott closely monitored the wild horses of Shackleford Banks and sought to remove large pieces of trash from the park.

Heltzel was awarded Volunteer of the Year back in 2018 and will be the first to win twice. But he passed away in December 2022, so he will be remembered as a long-standing contributor to the park.