Judy Daulton, a park ranger at Lake Cumberland, Wolf Creek Resources in the Operations Division was recently named U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month. She was recognized primarily for her quick thinking and conflict resolution skills leading to the de-escalation of an argument between a contractor and a visitor of Kendall Recreation Area.
Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl, Nashville District commander, announced Daulton’s selection, “She represented USACE in a positive and professional manner.” He added, “She consistently goes above and beyond in everything she does.”
In October 2022, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) closed off the boat ramp and roadway at Kendall Campground and Day Use Area to conduct repairs following the 2019 flooding of the area. Large road closure signs warning the public not to enter, were posted in both areas.
According to Daulton, “A day-use visitor had crossed the barrier and was walking around in the area.” Daulton explained a Corps contractor confronted the visitor, stating the area was closed off to the public. The visitor felt the contractor was abrasive and challenged his authority to tell the visitor they were not allowed there. “The two of them were cursing and screaming at each other,” said Daulton, who was standing at the top of the boat ramp.
Jon Friedman, Lake Cumberland’s resource manager, recalled the incident as a difference in perception. “The visitor perceived the contractor as hostile, threatening, and belligerent.” Friedman continued, “While the contractor perceived his actions as being necessary; protecting the safety and security of persons and assets.”
By this time, other visitors had congregated and watched the heated exchange. Daulton calmly asked the men to refrain from yelling and calmed them down enough for both men to walk away without further escalation.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is comprised of many individuals across several disciplines. While some fields have minimal interaction with the public, park rangers interface with the public daily. Those interactions have potential to significantly impact the public perception of the Nashville District and USACE.
Sahl remarked, “I am continuously impressed by the ability of our Rangers to interact with the public in so many different situations, many of which are contentious.”
Daulton is a seasoned park ranger with more than 20 years of experience interacting with the public. She is known for her willingness to go the extra mile to provide a pleasurable experience for visitors. Lake Cumberland’s customer comment cards reflect hundreds of comments about their awesome camping experience at Corps facilities. According to Friedman, this is “due in no small part to Judy working day and night to ensure seamless operations.”
Daulton recently received the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service for her outstanding work on operations at the Mill Springs Recreation Area to ensure the mill has continuous operations during the recreation season.
When asked about her work and reputation, Daulton said, “The Corps is the largest water recreation provider and often the first responder to disaster areas. I’m proud to be part of that.” She is proud to have assisted landowners, campers, boaters, and visitors for two decades. “I’m proud to be a part of an agency that provides so much value to our nation and the world.