The New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in Maine has made the announcement that they have appointed Rufai Shardow to the position of park ranger. Shardow is not a new employee of the park, however, as he has been working there in several capacities on a seasonal basis for the last five years. His most recent post was as a Visitor Use Assistant.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth earlier this year and lives in Fall River with his family.
Shardow is from Ghana in West Africa and says he was inspired to become a member of the park ranger community by his father who served as a corrections officer. He stated that his dream was to be “in uniform and [serve] people” and he became a naturalized citizen of the United States to do just that.
He joined the Army and served a one-year tour in Afghanistan. Shardow came to Fall River in Massachusetts to be near his sister who had moved there years before he had. After he graduated from UM-Dartmouth he was awarded the designation of Emerging Scholar of the Year.
Those who work with him at the park describe Shardow as an easygoing and friendly individual who enjoys chatting with the park’s visitors and who has transitioned nicely into life in Fall River.
He has stated that as a child in Ghana he lived for a brief period in a castle that served as a prison for slaves. He often shares stories of his harrowing childhood experiences when he is giving tours of the park as he is able to tie in those experiences with the history of the New Bedford region and the slave trade from years past.