Patrick Sutton and another Veteran Trades Apprenticeship member, Billy Tyler, show a Southeast Conservation Corps crew how to repair and maintain park signs.
November 9, 2018 | Patrick Sutton was eager to learn new skills when he started the Veteran Trades Apprenticeship Program in February 2018, but says he was entirely inexperienced in historic preservation. The program started with a month of hands on training at Gettysburg National Military Park in PA and now, after five months with Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park (GA), he has gained a host of new skills. In addition to basic carpentry, masonry, and woodworking, he now knows how to complete bronze work, straighten and clean monuments, repair and seal roofs, operate small machinery, and has earned an S212 chainsaw and an herbicide applicator certification.
He finds the work engaging, rewarding, and challenging. “Every historical piece is unique. A lot of thought is put into successfully completing the project while simultaneously keeping the piece or monument historically accurate.” Patrick is most proud of cleaning the Point Park wall on Lookout Mountain, overlooking the city of Chattanooga and the historic Lookout Mountain Battlefield. Reflecting on the work, Patrick says, “It took a lot of time, effort, and teamwork, starting every morning at 6 AM.” Another highlight for has been connecting with visitors, enhancing their experience of the historic landscape, and showing preservation techniques to Southeast Conservation Corps members.
Patrick is now in his second Historic Preservation Training Center and Stewards term, and is still working at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in Georgia and Tennessee.