[caption id="attachment_69237" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/09\/IMG_4354.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="484" class="size-full wp-image-69237" \/> FORMER\u2008WATOGA\u2008STATE Park Superintendent Richard Dale, above, recently visited the park to see the bench that was installed in his honor by Jim and Judy Meads, of Glenville. The Meads, when a young married couple, lived at the park in the late 1960s when Jim was the park\u2019s naturalist. Photo courtesy of Rose Clark[\/caption]\r\n\r\n<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/09\/107379142_721007102032553_749751241042433339_n.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="172" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-69234" \/>\r\n\r\nJaynell Graham\r\nEditor\r\n\r\nA bench, given by Jim and Judy Meads, of Glenville, has been placed in front of the Watoga State Park administration building to honor former park superintendent Richard Dale, who served there from 1966 to 1975.\r\n\r\nJim Meads was the park\u2019s naturalist for a few of those years.\r\n\r\n\u201cA little bit of kindness goes a long way,\u201d Dale said. \u201cWhen Jim and Judy got married, they were living in a camper at the park. I had them move in above the office. They remembered that all this time, and appreciated it.\u201d\r\n\r\nJim and Judy attended Dale\u2019s 94th birthday party last year.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt was the first I\u2019d seen them in a while,\u201d Dale said. \u201cThey told me they were having a bench made.\u201d\r\n\r\nDale\u2019s family took him to Watoga in August to see the bench and to have his photo taken with it.\r\n\r\nDale has a lot of stories from his 32 years with the state park system, and a lot of them are from Watoga. He remembers Jim finding a red-tail hawk between Seebert and the park. It had been hit by a car, but was just stunned. Jim said it would respond to kindness. And it did. Jim named the hawk Garth, and it became a part of the park landscape, stealing hamburgers and getting burned, and catching blue-gills, only to have one whisked away by an eagle. It was a good life for a hawk, until Jim left \u2013 then Garth moved on, as well.\r\n\r\nDale will be 95 October 30, and his life has run the gamut of experiences.\r\n\r\nGraduating high school in 1943, the 18 year old soon found himself in Navy boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois. Moving on from there, he enjoyed a \u201ccruise\u201d through the Panama Canal \u2013 but did not enjoy being in the middle of a typhoon in Okinawa.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe typhoon was the worst thing I have ever been through,\u201d Dale said.\r\n\r\nHis time in the service put him on the front line of history, as his ship was the first into Nagasaki after the A-bomb was dropped.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere was nothing there but rubble,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nTen years after discharge from the service, in 1956, Dale got his first state park assignment, going to work at Babcock State Park. In his 32-year career, he was also assigned to Cedar Creek, Holly River, Watoga for 9 1\/2 years, Audrey, Cass for 8 1\/2 years and Prickett\u2019s Fort.\r\n\r\n \u201cI\u2019ve been blessed with a lot more than I deserve,\u201d Dale said, \u201cand I\u2019m thankful every day.\r\n\r\n\u201cI asked the Lord to make me a kind person.\u201d\r\n\r\nFor Jim and Judy Meads to dedicate a bench in his honor, more than 50 years after Dale showed them that \u201clittle bit of kindness,\u201d it would be fair to say that Dale can put a checkmark in the answered prayer box.