Timothy Woods jokingly admits that his career as a volunteer for Riverside State Park began for purely selfish reasons: to keep the Centennial Trail free of pinecones and pine needles so it is easier for him to ride his bike there.
“I was out riding and I stopped and asked the man who was weeding and cleaning up the trail if he needed any help. He said yes,” Woods said.
That was three years ago. This year, Woods received Riverside State Park’s Volunteer of the Year award.
“I was so surprised,” he said, “I had no idea they were going to give it to me.”
Woods received the award at Washington State Parks’ 100-year birthday celebration in June.
Megan Ortega, the volunteer coordinator for Riverside State Park, said Woods is a dream of a volunteer.
“He is loyal and dedicated and he always has a good attitude,” Ortega said.
Volunteers handle many different jobs at Riverside State Park, and Ortega said Woods never turns anything down.
“I draw the line at cleaning the toilets,” he said, laughing.
Woods happily tackles weed eating, sweeping, trash gathering and a variety of repairs.
He’s retired now but said his background in maintenance and repairs comes in handy.
“And it’s just a great group of people to work with,” Woods said.
He volunteers pretty much every Wednesday plus a few hours on other days, racking up between eight and 20 hours a week.
And as a frequent park user he figures it’s the perfect place for him to volunteer.
“There are so many things to do there,” Woods said. “It’s our park. It’s your park, it’s my park, it’s everybody’s park. I love being there.”