Anyone who has called the park office during the last three years knows the steady, radio-quality voice of Russell Buff – part-time office assistant extraordinaire. With the field and office staff burning the candle at both ends during the busy summer months, Russell brings order to the Paddy’s Creek Area office and gift shop.
A lifetime resident of the town of Valdese, Russell was a frequent visitor to Lake James State Park long before he retired from a career as a computer programmer and data processor and started working here.
“It’s just a wonderful place to be,” he said. “Every day in the park is a good day.”
When asked to describe the day-to-day challenges he faces as the voice of Lake James State Park, Russell admitted to feeling the pressure of being everyone’s “answer man.”
“Giving people the right information when they call, no matter what their question is, that can be challenging,” he said. “People want directions, the want weather reports, they want advice on which campsite to reserve, they want to know the creel limit on largemouth bass. Sometimes it takes me a little while to find the answers.”
Regardless of the challenges, Russell said he looks forward to coming to work every day. “The laughs we share as a staff and the people I get to meet, I’m having the time of my life.”