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Kevin Hale Named 2024 Volunteer Of The Year

Kevin Hale Named 2024 Volunteer Of The Year

Posted on March 8, 2024

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce Kevin Hale as volunteer of the year for 2024.  Kevin was selected by the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s board of directors from among the Museum’s corps of more than 150 active volunteers for this honor.

A current resident of Brownstown, Pennsylvania, Kevin is now retired from a 45-year career in purchasing and sales in the lumber business.  Kevin, a New York City native, attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania where he pursued studies in ancient history.  During his undergraduate work in Buffalo, he double majored in history and languages: Latin, Greek and French.  He also spent six years in the Army National Guard in an artillery unit.

So how did he come to his interest in trains?  “My dad was always into trains,” Kevin says.  “As a kid, he took us from Queens to Coney Island on a 15¢ subway ride where we were always in the front or the rear car.  He liked model trains, too.  I still have his 1938 Lionel model train set.”

Kevin has been a member of the Friends for five years and is active at the Museum, primarily in conducting railroading merit badge workshops and school tours.   He also teaches civics to home school groups.  “I feel as though I am naturally inclined to teach, history in particular,” Kevin notes.  He opens his home and model railroad to more than 100 children and their families during the holidays.  “I have a small family,” he says, “but sometimes I feel like I have adopted the whole world.”

Self-described as chatty and outgoing, Kevin enjoys volunteering at the Museum.  “It’s great because I meet people from different backgrounds, which I find exciting.  There are so many opportunities here to volunteer, the scheduling is flexible and the staff and other volunteers could not be nicer,” he says.  “And, we get to talk about trains.  I brought my dad here in 1979 and he remembered the engines he saw at the World’s Fair in 1939.”

Kevin also participates in the Museum’s Adopt-A-Train program.  He selected the GP9 diesel-electric locomotive No. 7006 to adopt.  Why that particular historic piece?  “It’s just my favorite.  I seem to have developed an affinity for it,” he states,” although I am certainly interested in trains from all over.”

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania director Patrick C. Morrison states that, “every once in a great while, someone like Kevin Hale comes along, who has the right combination of temperament and skill, particularly when it comes to working with school groups, scout groups and other group tours.  He’s fun, versatile, patient and kind.   His sense of humor is infectious, but measured, and he truly cares about providing the kind of visitor experience we all crave.”

Kevin Hale will be formally recognized as the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s volunteer of the year by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission at a ceremony in Harrisburg in the spring and during the Museum’s annual Members Day banquet at the Barn At Stoner Commons in Lancaster on Saturday, September 28, 2024.