Ranger Ben Santomassimo
Park Service Profiles
Ranger Ben Santomassimo kick started his career as a South Carolina State Park Ranger at Hunting Island State Park. Born and raised in Lexington, Virginia, Ranger Ben graduated from Roanoke College in 2015 with a degree in Criminal Justice and Environmental Science. It was during college, while taking an Intro to Environmental Science course and interning with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, where he realized he was destined for a career in the outdoors.
After working with the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway for two seasons, Ranger Ben moved to South Carolina to join the Myrtle Beach State Park team in 2017. Now, as a ranger at Hunting Island, Ranger Ben can be seen doing a wide variety of tasks from enforcing rules and responding to EMS calls, to running a backhoe and operating other heavy equipment. “My favorite task is anytime I get to protect wildlife. Whether it be removing nuisance alligators from a campsite, rescuing a stranded sea turtle or helping an injured bird,” Ranger Ben said.
When asked which of the state parks was the most fun to work at, Ranger Ben replied, “I have thoroughly enjoyed working at all the parks I have been a part of, and they are all fun in their own way. Both Myrtle Beach and Hunting Island are fun because of how busy they are. At either of these parks, you never know what your day is going to be like.” To prepare for his role at the Hunting Island State Park, Ranger Ben had to learn how to drive a boat, give interpretive tours for St. Phillips Island and drive a tram full of people.
Being a park ranger is an honorable job that means something different to each of our rangers. For Ranger Ben, “a park ranger is a protector. You protect the land from the people, the people from the land, the people from each other and the people from themselves. It’s what you are trained to do without even thinking, a reflexive and unconditional act,” he said. Outside of work, you may catch Ranger Ben playing with his two year-old rescue dog, Mowgli. He also hopes to one day visit Devils Fork State Park. "I have always heard good things about it, and I would like to freshwater fish again," he said.
Ranger Ben encourages anyone who loves being outdoors, can multitask and wants to do something different every day, to be a park ranger. Thank you Ranger Ben for all of your hard work and dedication!
To see a glimpse of what a day is like for Ranger Ben at Hunting Island, watch the “A Day in the Life of a Park Ranger” series.