Ranger with 36 Years of Service Retires, Leaving Paynes Prairie with His Legacy
By Nicole Wiesenthal
Ranger Howard Adams, a man of few words and former Paynes Prairie park ranger, will not be forgotten. Instead, he will be remembered by the rangers he impacted through his 36 years of work at the park.
Even though Adams, who has worked at Paynes Prairie for 36 years, retired last Friday, he will be remembered by park employees for his wisdom, quiet personality and ability to calmly assess situations.
“He knows everything, and he is quite unassuming,” said park ranger Jan Powell. “He cares about the critters, plants and people, and his leaving will be a great loss to the park.”
Adams has been with the park since its very first years. His passion and knowledge have made the park a pleasant place for rangers to work.
Rangers at Paynes Prairie can still remember their first experiences working with Adams.
Amber Roux, park service specialist of Paynes Prairie, quickly learned to appreciate that although Adams was wise and knowledgeable, he was also quiet and calm.
“There’s a quiet calm around Howard, no matter what’s going on, and it resonates with you when you’re with him,” Roux said. “[It] enables you to slow down, look and listen, and experience the world around you.”
Rangers talk about Adams with bright smiles on their faces. They mention his dependability, knowledge and calmness.
“Even if it’s just some weird, crazy thing going on, he’s never alarmed because he’s seen it all,” said assistant park manager Matt Blesdoe. “If there’s a bison out or a horse on the road, I’ll ask him if he needs help, and he’ll think for a moment and say something like, ‘Yeah, that’d probably be good.’”
Paynes Prairie park rangers can each tell you a favorite story about Adams, ranging from the time he sunk a tractor to the time he almost got gored by one of the long-horned cracker cattle in the park. They recognize, though, that what the park will miss most will be his knowledge and passion.
“He still has that passion,” Blesdoe said. “Even though he’s not the most talkative person, he has a passion not found in most people.”
Rangers believe that it will be difficult to fill the gap left behind by Adams.
“They’ll try to hire someone who knows a tenth of the stuff he does,” Powell said.