Dalton Bundy

Hello, my name is Dalton. I recently moved to Pineville, KY, but I grew up in a small rural/agricultural town in Southwest Nebraska. I thrived in Nebraska state recreation areas with the small amount of outdoors I had. I grew up loving to fish and explore what little habitat is left, with a profound fascination for aquatic species. After high school, I immediately signed up for the Navy as a rescue swimmer. However, after an injury, I ended up being a helicopter mechanic. It seemed to be a fitting position as the men in my family are all mechanics in trade. After my service, I felt I needed to follow in their shoes and sign up for auto body school classes. Quickly realizing this wasn’t for me, I switched schools and my degree to something better aligned with my childhood outdoors side. As of December 2020, I have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology, focusing on ecology.

I decided to become a part of the Mt. Adams Institute VetsWork team for a few reasons. I believe this internship provides a massive opportunity for veterans to network with employers in their field. Among this, however, is the opportunity to share what the great outdoors has to offer the community. Through this internship, I hope to encourage others with the enthusiasm I have found through my experiences and education. I thoroughly believe that connection with nature is a predominant factor in protecting our ecosystems. I am also excited to work hands-on with colleagues from different fields and expand my horizons and ensure our recreational areas are well maintained. My biggest goals for this experience are to get hands-on experience with the various departments associated with the U.S. Forest Service and to try to get others involved in the outdoors.

Caleb Keenan

I was born in South Carolina and raised by two educators. I joined the Army a year after high school. I love camping, mountain biking, and just being in the outdoors.

Once I found the VetsWork program, I instantly knew I wanted the position. I love the outdoors and grew up going to the Sumter National Forest. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to serve on the Sumter. I’m excited to see how the Sumter National Forest runs while representing the Mt. Adams Institute and learning new skills to help me with my career.

Anthony Wallace

I grew up in Montrose Mississippi, I’ve been an avid outdoorsman since I can remember, anything from hunting to fishing. I graduated high school in 2013, joined the Army as a chinook mechanic. I spent six years in the military, five of those years spent in a non-flight role, and one year as a crew chief. I was stationed in Fort Hood, Germany, and Korea. I exited the service in 2019, where I worked as an electrical and hydraulic technician for Canrig drilling in North Dakota.

I decided to take this position because I needed something I felt passionate about and have always loved being outdoors and working with my hands. I’m excited to learn new skills and gain new experiences from this opportunity.

Ben Ives

My name is Ben Ives, and I am a Navy veteran. I’ve worked outside for the past 15 years and enjoy working in the elements and observing seasons’ changes. Through these positions, I have learned how to take clues from nature. For example, frogs coming out of hibernation are a good sign of the last frost and a great time to plant seeds. I know how magical everything can look at 2 a.m. on a snowy morning, working snow crew for the communities I served in Colorado and Oregon.

Through the VetsWork program, I want to learn new ways to save natural resources and be a better steward of the environment. My goal is to make a positive impact helping these agencies achieve their mission. I look forward to obtaining practical experience doing science which I find fascinating for this planet that I love. I cannot wait to intern with intelligent people and an organization like Mt. Adams Institute who shares my core values of honor, courage, and commitment.

Melissa Gattrell

Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania instilled in me strong respect and understanding of the importance of taking care of the land. That respect and love for natural things grew when I moved to California at 18 to become an adventure guide. I took groups backpacking, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. My playground has always been mountains, rivers, and the ocean, and I feel great importance in helping others see wild places’ value.

I attended Appalachian Bible College and studied recreation management. After college, I worked in outdoor education and adventure guiding until I joined the Coast Guard in 2013. My military experience was a great way to learn more about the ocean and serve the community through search and rescue. I had always been interested in the Forest Service, and after my time in the military, I wanted to get back into the recreation industry. The VetsWork program seemed like the perfect fit. I’m excited about how this internship will open doors for me into a Forest Service career. I will be serving in my second term with VetsWork at Land Between the Lakes in Golden Pond, KY.

VetsWork: Reflecting on the Year

In all jobs, routine is fundamental and unavoidable, though not necessarily a negative thing. One welcome routine from this position was the commute to Mountain View and Blanchard, a 100-mile scenic route from the river valley to the mountains. Continue Reading…

VetsWork: Feeling Inspired

Feeling inspired from a recent snowshoeing expedition to investigate a snow-covered mining claim, I decided to purchase a set of snowshoes and check out the terrifically named — Lake Valhalla. Continue Reading…