Great Smoky Mountains National Park is pleased to announce the selection of Dawn Brackins as the Park’s 2015 “Employee of the Year.” This marks the 32nd anniversary of an important partnership between the park and its neighboring communities which recognizes the outstanding work of park employees in all disciplines. A public event will be held on Tuesday, May 3 at 11:30 a.m. on the lawn at Park Headquarters near Gatlinburg, Tenn.
The annual event, sponsored by the Smoky Mountain Tourism and Development Council, will also observe National Tourism Week. In conjunction with this observance, a visiting family to the Smokies will be selected to participate as “Tourist Family of the Day.” Jimbo Whaley, singer/songwriter and General Manager at Hearthside Rentals, will serve as the event emcee.
Employee of the Year, Dawn Brackins, began her career at the Smokies in 1997 as a seasonal maintenance worker at Elkmont Campground. In 2000, Dawn received her first permanent position with the Facility Management Division as a custodial worker for the Park Headquarters Administration Building. Dawn now also oversees the custodial needs of one of the National Park Service’s busiest set of restrooms at Sugarlands Visitor Center along with caring for administrative facilities at Twin Creeks Science Center, Park Headquarters, Headquarters Annex Building, and the Resource Education Administrative offices.
“Visitors and employees continue to find exceptionally clean facilities due to Dawn’s ongoing commitment to hard work and willingness to go the extra mile year after year,” said Maintenance Worker Supervisor Paul Bogart.
Not only do park staff and visitors benefit from the incredible amount of work that Dawn accomplishes, she also performs her duties with a smile on her face and has an encouraging word for all she meets. As one of the employees that visitors are most likely to encounter around Sugarlands Visitor Center, Dawn also provides helpful information to countless visitors who ask her for directions, suggestions, and information about park resources.
“Dawn exhibits the meaning, the heart, and the pride of a Park Service employee,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “She represents the National Park Service exceptionally well with her quality of work, positive attitude, and willingness to go above and beyond the performance of her duties.”
Dawn lives in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with her husband, Tommy Brackins, who retired from the Smokies after serving 33 years with Facility Management Division. They have three adult children – Misty, Chad, and Jason – along with five grandchildren. Dawn spends much of her free time supporting numerous fundraising activities through the non-profit group FRIENDS (Friends Reaching, Inspiring & Educating Neighbors about Down-Syndrome). Founded by her daughter Misty in honor of Zaeley, Dawn’s granddaughter, FRIENDS raises money for the care of down-syndrome individuals and public awareness. Dawn is also an active member of her church.
Co-hosts of the event include Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, Gatlinburg Department of Tourism, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, Smoky Mountains Tourism Development Council, Blount County Partnership, and Cocke County Partnership.