We all had dreams of what we want to be when we grew-up. A teacher… a firefighter… a doctor… Well, Betty White of Life with Elizabeth, Mary Tyler Moore, Golden Girls, Password and Saturday Night Live fame – seven-time emmy winner, iconic Senior Citizen, animal advocate extraordinaire and for some a national treasure – wanted to be a Forest Ranger. Back in her day – as with many occupations and professions – it wasn’t a job for a woman. Now after many roles, the 88-year-old Betty White – albeit in an honorary capacity – is a U. S. Forest Service ranger. Last week – the honor was bestowed at a Kennedy Center ceremony.
Associated Press (AP) writer Jessa Gresko notes:
…the Forest Service presented her with a badge and a ranger’s Stetson hat, which she donned during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center. When Smokey Bear arrived mid-ceremony, White gave him a big bear hug and later asked to take the Forest Service mascot with her. She settled for a toy Smokey with its own small hat. “Wilderness is harder and harder to find these days on this beautiful planet, and we’re abusing our planet to the point of almost no return,” White said. “In my heart I’ve been a forest ranger all my life, but now I’m official.”
White said some of her first memories as a child are riding in front of her father on a horse into the High Sierras. They would stay for three weeks and never see “another two-legged soul,” she said. The family also went camping in Yellowstone National Park. White said her teachers eventually asked that she write essays on topics other than Yellowstone.
She did ask if it was appropriate to wear the “Smoky” hat at ceremony later that day noting- “it’s a formal affair” – referring to her gig at the Kennedy Center / Mark Twain Award for American Humor ceremony honoring her Saturday Night Live friend Tina Fey.