Serving as a Park Patrol for the City of Columbia since 2004, Mary Plakorus blends two of her loves — being outdoors and helping others. She answers questions, reports suspicious activity, monitors parks and trails, and serves as an ambassador for other park users. If you attend city sponsored activities in the parks, such as Polar Bear Plunge, soccer at Cosmo Park, Family Fun Fests, or Art in the Park, you may see her in her bright yellow vest that says “Park Patrol” busy directing traffic, answering questions, and helping in any way possible.
“As a Park Patrol volunteer, Mary keeps an extra set of eyes on our parks and trails to keep them safe and in good repair,” Leigh Britt, Neighborhood Services Manager, explains.
Mary’s favorite parks are Stephens and the MKT. “I love being outdoors and being with others,” she says. “Being a volunteer is a giant adventure. There is a surprise around every corner. If you are having a bad day, go volunteer. You’ll meet a lot of happy people and a few who are having a worse day than yourself. There is a satisfaction that comes from helping others.” So why does she volunteer? Mary says she spends too much time in the parks not to.
~Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson