Hello everyone! This is Joe Morse from Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Today I present to you my eleventh Service Spotlight, where I interview a volunteer from one of our sites to get a better sense of what they bring to our volunteer program.
This April, I had the opportunity to interview Patrick Sousa. Patrick is a retired wildlife biologist for the Department of Interior in Alaska and has been a long time volunteer at the Fort’s Blacksmith Shop. Generally soft-spoken, I got to see the humorous side of him during the interview.
Here’s the transcript of my interview with Patrick:
How long have you been volunteering at Fort Vancouver?
Until a little after I retired. So that would be 2010.
What do you typically do in the blacksmith shop?
Well we talk to people who come in. Make various implements. Hooks, and knives, and fire starters.
How did you happen to become a volunteer at Fort Vancouver?
Well I retired and I done some blacksmithing 30, 40, years ago. With retirement I had the time and opportunity.
What’s your favorite thing about volunteering here at Fort Vancouver?
I enjoy seeing the kids come in with school groups, and other visitors. It’s being able to pass on some of the history and the role of the blacksmith in that history.
What keeps you volunteering?
See previous answer. Also I enjoy the process of making things out of iron.
What the biggest challenge of being a volunteer and how do you overcome that?
I don’t know that there are many challenges other than interpreting that history accurately. There’s a lot involved.
What’s one thing you’d like to tell people who come to the Blacksmith Shop?
The blacksmith was a critical player in the history of the Fort and the Northwest.
Any cool facts about yourself that people should know?
Well I was a wildlife biologist prior to retirement. Started in Colorado, worked in Alaska, all the way down to Oregon. Fairbanks is where we were located in Alaska, basically doing environmental reviews.
That’s all folks! Come visit our Fort and watch our volunteer blacksmiths handle iron with a bad temper. The June Spotlight is coming up next!