Park Ranger Frederick Stukes
Park Service Profiles
Frederick Stukes started his South Carolina State Park Service career as a park technician at Lee State Park. After almost a decade of service, Stukes took a position as a park ranger at Lee. His years of service to the state and broad experience on his park make this month’s Park Service Profile particularly special.
Stukes was born and raised in the small town of Rembert, South Carolina. He is 33 years old and married to Jawanda Kay Stukes. He graduated from Crestwood High School and is currently working to obtain a degree in Natural Resources Management from USC Sumter. From his start as park technician, Stukes has been hands on. He believes his work as a park tech prepared him for his job as a park ranger. “As a park tech on a small park you wear many hats and you are looked at as a ranger. So the changeover was easy and smooth.”
Ranger Stukes has been at Lee State Park for his entire career thus far, but as with many park rangers, he has traveled across the state to help with special projects and events at various parks. Some parks he has worked at include: Aiken, Barnwell, Cheraw, H.Cooper Black, Poinsett and Sesquicentennial State Park. In his day-to-day job at Lee State Park, Stukes performs a variety of tasks. Stukes says: “I do everything from registering campers, helping out with programs with 4H kids, cleaning restrooms and doing different other projects around the park to better fit the needs of our visitors.”
Stukes knew he wanted to be a park ranger from his first day as a park technician at Lee. He says: “It opened my eyes to see what joy the park brings to the fisherman who’s trying to catch that keeper, to the bird watcher who spotted a Yellow Warbler nesting, or those campers who camp once a month and treat you like family.”
Those very special “regulars” also played a role in what Stukes cites as the hardest thing he has had to deal with:
“One of our regular camping couples reached the age where their health wasn’t the best and the time had come for them to give up camping. The wife looked me in my eyes with tears coming down her face and said, ‘Fred, this is the last time.’ It took all I had not to cry. As a park ranger we sometimes get attached to people and you look at them as family so when they hurt, you hurt.”
It’s obvious Ranger Frederick Stukes has a passion for his job at Lee State Park. When we asked him to sum up his job in a phrase he said he’s “living the dream!” We agree! Thanks, Ranger Stukes, for all you do!