Gatlinburg teen wins award for volunteer park service

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – Sterling Fisher started volunteering at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when he was only 6 years old.

On Friday, the now-18-year-old was recognized as the recipient of the National Park Service’s Hartzog Youth Volunteer Award.

The Daily Times reports ( the young man from Gatlinburg had already contributed 300 hours of service to the park by the time he was 16. In high school, he organized a junior chapter of Friends of the Smokies whose 20 members have completed more than 400 hours of volunteer service.

Also recognized on Friday was longtime volunteer Tom Harrington. He has been a park volunteer for 17 years and has contributed more than 20,000 hours of service. Harrington was selected as the southeast regional winner for the Enduring Service Award.