When V.I. National Park handed out its volunteer of the year award at the annual Friends group meeting in January, it went to an 18-year-old Hampton, Ga., man with deep roots on St. John.
Joshua Wells spent the last two summers staffing the Visitors Center front desk and handling other chores at the park.
“I thought it was a good experience to get the culture and beauty of the island,” Wells said.
He likes talking to visitors, answering their questions and taking responsibility for such tasks as opening the center in the morning.
Paul Thomas, the park’s chief of interpretation, said Wells was a great volunteer who showed up every day on time and stayed until the Visitors Center closed. Additionally, he helped with other programs, such as the summer camp.
“He took great pride in what he was doing,” Thomas said.
While he already had good people skills, Thomas said the volunteer post gave him the chance to polish them.
Deputy Superintendent Mike Anderson said he hopes Wells returns to the park when he graduates.
The volunteer post came with a few perks, including going on park tours to places such as Reef Bay, Wells said.
The Miami-born Wells said he plans to volunteer again this summer.
A senior at the Lighthouse School who’s heading off to Beacon College in Leesburg, Fla., in the fall, Wells plans to study web design. He said he like working with computers and the “different pictures.”
Math is his best subject.
Wells has spent summers on St. John since he was small, staying with his grandparents, Coral Bay residents Warren Wells Sr. and Yvonne Wells. Yvonne Wells was on hand at the Friends meeting to accept the award for her grandson.
“He’s a loving child and willing to try just about anything, and he’s very ambitious,” Yvonne Wells said later.
She said his dedication to his volunteer job shows a sense of commitment.
With lots of cousins on St. John, he doesn’t lack for company. He likes to go to Trunk Bay beach with them. He likes the tropical weather, and he especially enjoys St. John’s Festival that wraps up July 4.
Back in Georgia, he’s involved in Taekwondo, goes to the movies and plays video games.
“And I like to eat a lot,” he said, laughing.
He has two brothers, Jacob, 6, and Reagan, six months.
His parents, Warren Wells Jr. and Carmen Wells, are proud of their son for all his achievements but especially for winning the volunteer of the year award from the park.
“It was a great accomplishment,” his father said.