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Retiree devoted to ‘greater causes’ volunteers at nature preserve

Jerry Redden isn’t one for sitting around in his retirement.

He’d much rather be out in the woods using hand tools to help maintain nature preserves.

The Bracken County native retired nearly 20 years ago after working as a tool maker for 3M for 23 years. Since then, he’s been looking for “greater causes” to keep himself active.

“If you rest, you rust,” he said.

One of his latest is being part of the crew that helps maintain Lower Howard’s Creek Nature Preserve, led by Bill Crankshaw.

Redden said he learned about Lower Howard’s Creek after taking a guided hike a couple years ago. During the hike, Crankshaw spoke often about the honeysuckle bushes that grow throughout the preserve and the need to keep them under control.

“I needed something to do and I decided to give Bill Crankshaw a try,” he said. “We make a dent in it. I don’t have any intention of us whipping it all.”

For two years, Redden and other volunteers met every Tuesday to work in the preserve. The work can vary from clearing trees and fighting honeysuckle bushes to rebuilding stone walls around the property.

“It’s satisfying and almost fun,” Redden said of the work. “I’ve used these trails, hiking and backpacking, for 30 years. It’s just time to give back.”

Though they are taking this winter off, that wasn’t always the case.

“Last winter we rebuilt a lot of stone fences,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work. This fall, Bill Crankshaw said ‘I’ll see you in the spring.’”

Redden is still keeping himself busy volunteering at the Floracliff Nature Sanctuary in Fayette County along the Kentucky River.

“Through volunteering I have met and made friends I value,” he said. ‘There is so much opportunity there to do good for the public.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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