Being an officer of the law involves special challenges, but Park Ranger Trent Kelly enjoys a different twist to the occupation.
Kelly started his law enforcement career working for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. He switched jobs and started working for Kentucky State Parks in 2003. He left to work for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, but ultimately found himself working for Pine Mountain State Resort Park again.
“I came back because I really enjoyed the job and the diversity of what we do everyday. We get to meet tourists from all over the country and we get to show off everything we have to do in the mountains,” said Kelly.
Kelly graduated from the Department of Criminal Justice Training Center in Richmond, Kentucky.
When Kelly is not working at the park, he enjoys spending time hunting and fishing.
“I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, and this job gave me the opportunity to do law enforcement and be in the outdoors. It’s very unique and it’s overall, very enjoyable work,” said Kelly.
One of the most unique parts of Kelly’s job involves trail rescues. He recalls finding lost hikers on the outskirts of park property at dusk. He was able to get them safely back on the path.
“I really like being able to help people when they need help. We want people to visit, but we want them to have a safe time while they’re here. Where we have so many people come in from out of town, we also act as an ambassador for the park, in a way, in everything we do,” said Kelly.
A few winters ago, Bell County received several inches of snow, which ultimately caused a power outage at Pine Mountain State Park. Kelly and his coworkers spent their time cutting wood for fireplaces at the lodge, clearing roadways of snow and making sure guests were warm and safe.
“It was really good to work together and be able to help the guests like that. We had to band together to get something done that had to be done,” said Kelly.
Kelly is originally from Harlan County. He and his wife Elizabeth now live in Pineville and are expecting their first child in March.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.