Gary Culberson has worked for Fort Payne Parks and Rec. for a little over 20 years. The maintenance of the city pool, splash pad, maintenance at the rec. center, the fountain in the city park, mowing the grass at all of the city’s parks, and keeping the picnic tables in good condition are just part of what his job entails.
Culberson lived in Mentone until he was the age of four. His father worked construction and his work took the family to Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. When Gary turned ten years of age his family moved back to the area and he has been here ever since.
He graduated from Fort Payne High School in 1979, he now has a daughter at F.P.H.S. who he is very proud of. “She is going to competitions for photography and has already won some,” said Culberson. “I think she got her love of photography because I always challenged her to look at things through the lens from different angles.”
After high school he went to boot camp in Fort Dix, New Jersey and was with the National Guard for 10 years. He has worked at several places in the county including the DeSoto State Park, Sola Electric, GameTime, and a hosiery mill.
Culberson is not one to sit around, he said when he’s not at work he still works. Although occasionally he and his wife do go fishing in a pond for some relaxation.
A local rancher allows him to keep some cattle on his land for assistance working his cows. Culberson worked for a diary while he was in school so has experience with cattle and likes to raise his own beef.
For 40 years he worked with the Fischer Rescue and went on many wilderness rescue missions. “I joined the rescue at age 18. Many nights I’ve hunted in Little River Canyon for lost people,” said Culberson. “I grew up here hiking the canyon with my friends and we all knew it so well we could hike it in the dark with only a flashlight. I’ve been on rescues that turned into recovery missions as well and that was the bad part of the job, that and watching for poisonous snakes, especially in the dark.”
As a person who tries to keep the city looking pretty he wants to send a message to parents to please teach their children not to liter. “It is sad the amount of trash we find along our city streets,” said Culberson.
Gary’s Motto: “Can’t never could do nothing.”
— Marla Ballard’s Who’s Who appears each Tuesday.