They say the volunteers are the face of the refuge. This definitely rings true in the case of the Hatches. Travelling all the way from Mississppi, John and Bridget Hatch volunteer and travel across the U.S. In comparison to Bridget, John Hatch seems like a skyscraper, but it seems like their heights are their only difference though, as they both had great personalities, always lending a hand, cracking jokes, telling stories, or in our case, fighting (imaginary) bad guys.
Not only were the Hatches great company in the office, but they also made great company as our neighbors! Seeing their RV in the driveway always gave us a sense of comfort. After weeks of Lily and I scaring each other in the bunkhouse, we worked ourselves into quite the frenzy! Yet the Hatches were always there to fend us from imaginary intruders, scary coyotes, and not so vicious deer.
Despite our panicked midnight texts, and goofy demeanor, the Hatches still invited us to their 4th of July/ going away BBQ. “Don’t worry about bringing anything” Bridgette assured us for the tenth time. Our worries were settled when we arrived to plates stacked with ribs, pots full of baked beans, and burgers on burgers on burgers. We were full long before they even brought out the dessert!
After a hefty dinner, the Hatches invited us to chat in their RV. I knew the RV was big, but I was still so surprised to see how spacious it really was! We plopped ourselves on the couch and struggled with how to start. Bridgette was full of stories, and as soon as she got started, we tossed the questions out the window.
Bridgette told us about how soon after retiring, the Hatches packed up, sold their house, and began their RV adventures. They weren’t the first in their family to do so. They were actually following a similar plan of John’s parents. When asked why they chose the RV lifestyle John responded with “We just wanted to see the US”.
In fact they’ve actually been able to do a lot of that. They’ve travelled to so many states and bounce from park to park volunteering across the country. They told us of the great sights they have seen, the new friends they have made and the old friends they have seen. After some prying, Bridgette even shared with us one of the most unpleasant experiences she has had while volunteering:
“We thought it would be a good idea to restock the bathrooms for the night, and before I even stepped in, I got that feeling like I just knew that something bad was going to happen” I look inside and there’s feces. Everywhere. A shampoo bottle that one of the visitors had left behind? Thrown all over the ground. I’m so glad I haven’t run into anything like that again!”
Thankfully, they didn’t encounter anything as bad as that while working for the refuge and they had quite a bit of fun. “Everybody here is like family.” I consider myself fortunate to be able to work alongside people who get along so well.
If you haven’t noticed the pattern, it kind of seems like Bridget did all the story telling. Where was John Hatch during all this? He was sitting at the dining table just a few feet away, looking up a video of his fifteen seconds, or to be more exact, six seconds of fame.
Although we are sad to see them go, the Hatches are starting their next adventure, as they head North to Washington and then back to Mississippi. Even if the Hatches have to be careful of cramming the RV with mementos, they’ll never have to worry about their RV filled with memories.
Thank you Bridget and John for brightening up an already sunny office 🙂 To say the least, you’ve inspired me to always keep exploring and to never lose my spunk!