Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kenny Ballance

Many visitors to Ocracoke know Kenny Ballance, our District Park Ranger. Kenny was born and raised on Ocracoke, and is a life-long resident of the island. He attended Ocracoke School from kindergarten through 12th grade. In 1977 he graduated from East Carolina University. Kenny has worked for the NPS since 1978, and has served as the Outer Banks Group District Ranger on Ocracoke since 2003.

Earlier this month Kenny was honored with the 2011 Southeast Region Harry Yount Park Ranger Award. According to a recent NPS press release:

Superintendent Mike Murray announced on November 8 that long-time Outer Banks Group employee Kenneth C. Ballance has received the 2011 NPS Southeast Region Harry Yount Park Ranger Award. The peer-nominated honor, named after the first known national park ranger, recognizes excellence in the field of "rangering."

Every year each of the seven NPS regions selects a Regional Harry Yount Award recipient whose "overall impact, record of accomplishments, and excellence in traditional ranger duties have created an appreciation for the park ranger profession on the part of the public and other members of the profession. The intent of the Harry Yount Award is to honor rangers who have consistently gone out every day and performed the traditional, generalist ranger duties of protecting the resources and serving the visitor and who have done it well in the eyes of their peers over time.

"Kenny is an outstanding ranger and very deserving of this recognition. We are very proud of his many accomplishments and fortunate to have him as an employee. As a dedicated National Park Service employee, he has assisted an untold number of park visitors in his 35 years of service. Park management and his coworkers would like to personally thank him and congratulate him on receiving this significant award" said Superintendent Mike Murray.

Kenny's leadership and involvement in his community is well known and widespread.

Kenny was recognized as Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by the NC Governor's Office in 1996. One of his favorite park endeavors, spanning three decades, has been the protection of the Ocracoke Pony herd.


Congratulations, Kenny! Kenny is an outstanding Park Ranger, a dedicated member of our community, a fine neighbor...and one of the funniest people I have ever known. He should be given an award for Quick Wit and Ability to Say Anything to Anyone...and Get Away With It!


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article written by my Uncle Marvin in 1954. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:20 AM

    Congratulations to Kenny!!!! He is well-deserving of this latest honor.

    I'd say "He's a keeper"!!!!

  2. bill kostar7:36 AM

    Congratulations! It's certainly not every Park Ranger who lives in a place where the park is the entire island.
    And those dingbatters!

  3. Anonymous10:33 AM

    Perhaps he could provide some material to the TV show parks and recreation. I grew up watching a series on television about a park ranger in the Everglades. Does the OI have an air boat contingent? Actually I hope not as it seems the louder the air boat the "better" Congratulations to the ranger; dealing with the general public can be trying at best---- dealing with a non customer service oriented park ranger is trying at best too. It took two years to get a response from a hand written letter about a trail I had visited in the Smoky Mts-- granted, I received a response with an apology for the delay, but I can only think it got buried in a pile of papers -- now with only e-mail a slip of the finger could delete a half mornings toil. I say send letters and wait for a reply with the post office you have confidence it will be delivered an e-mail will it be opened and read who knows--

  4. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Phillip - you have the Best discription of Kenny - he does say anything...and gets away with it. We all love him and he is one of the funniest people on an island full of funny folks. Go Kenny. You make us proud.
    To any off islanders - there is a great exhibit at OPS museum with lots of fun Kenny stuff. The celebration of Muzey (sp?) the wonderful woman he cared for in her later years and threw such a great 100 yo party. We should all be so lucky as to have Kenny as our caretaker!

  5. Anonymous2:02 PM


    How about posting a photo of Kenny Ballance, so we off-islanders can share a greeting and congratulations next time we're about?

    He would seem to be a gracious role model, like you, for welcoming visitors to the island.


  6. Here is a great photo of Kenny:

    I'm sure Kenny is overjoyed that he is on the Outer Banks Seniors web site!

  7. Anonymous7:40 AM

    Thanks for including the photo. It's a good one. Now I'll know what this terrific guy looks like the next time I'm blessed to be in his jurisdiction!

    Congrats Kenny!!!!!