(photo by Carol Bungay)
“I love it when I can be the cause of sawdust flying about and creating something out of wood or other material,” says Ron Bungay (“Yellow Shoes”). He also enjoys boundary maintenance and working on the fringe of the A.T. corridor.
Ron’s love affair with the A.T. began in the mid-90s, during a section hike from Maryland to the Hudson River. He was impressed with the kindness that people he encountered offered to A.T. hikers. He joined the Keystone Trails Association and the Potomac A.T. Club and began volunteering occasionally.
After retiring in 2005 from a career as a special education and shop teacher, Ron increased his volunteer efforts. He helped construct the Raven Rock Shelter in Maryland and four shelters on the Tuscarora Trail. Fellow shelter crew leader Mike Wingeart was then the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) Coordinator. With his encouragement, Ron joined ALDHA, where he served four years on the board. He has been work trip coordinator for the past four years, often assisted on trips by his wife Carol.
Ron completed section hiking the Trail in 2007. Near the Chestnut Knob shelter in Virginia, a stray pup began following Ron, and he and Carol adopted “Chestnut” into the family.
When the Appalachian Trail Museum opened in a former grist mill in Pennsylvania’s Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Ron became a docent. While continuing in that role, he also has put his construction skills to good use on the old building. Past museum manager Joe Harold says, “Ron has been a great boon. He has led the crews that have donated several hundred hours to completely remodel our basement, transforming it from a dingy, musty dungeon into a bright colorful, dry space that has become our Children's Museum.” Ron continues to donate his time and expertise toward remodeling the top two floors of the building. (Photos of some of the museum work can be found here.)
In 2013, he began working on the A.T. corridor boundary and soon began organizing boundary work trips. Last November, a work trip brought 20 volunteers to PATC's Blackburn Trail Center in Virginia, where they accumulated more than three hundred hours of volunteer time working on the boundary. Ron says the success of the ALDHA crews is because the local Trail club, ATC, and ALDHA all combine their resources for the betterment of the Trail.
Ron says, “I am humbled by the commitment of the volunteers who took the wonderful idea of a trail from Maine to Georgia and made it a reality.” He feels honored to be recognized for his efforts, but believes the honor "goes to all the volunteers who came before and those currently so wonderfully serving the Trail community.