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FRIENDS Welcomes New Executive Director, Remi Sojka!

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The staff and board at FRIENDS are very excited to announce Remi Sojka, our new Executive Director! This is a time of many exciting changes, and we hope to continue to grow our organization for members like you, our volunteers, and the communities surrounding the Parkway! Remi grew up in the coal mine region of Poland, and comes to us after two decades of priestly ministry. Although he’s climbed and hiked all over the world, his heart always goes back to the Blue Ridge Mountains. “From its inception, the Blue Ridge Parkway was meant to safeguard the history and grandeur of the region,” Remi says. “I, too, want to protect and preserve what I and so many others love – the beauty and heritage of the oldest mountains on Earth and the people who have lived in their midst.”

Remi

Hiking in Patagonia.

 

Forrest Gump’s momma said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

These words pretty much describe my life. I never thought, growing up in the coal mine region of Poland, that I would come to “the land of the free and the home of the brave” in 1989 to become a priest. I never imagined that after two decades of priestly ministry, I would feel that God is calling me to serve His people in a different way.

I fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1990 and have been fortunate to call them my home for almost two decades now, living in the Roanoke and New River Valleys since 1999.

Although I climbed and hiked in the Nepalese Himalayas, the European and New Zealand Alps, the Central and South American Andes, though I admired Ama Dablam in Nepal and loved my months of trekking in New Zealand, fought elements for more than three weeks on Denali and almost lost my life on Aconcagua, my heart has always gone back to the Blue Ridge Mountains. From its inception, the Blue Ridge Parkway was meant to safeguard the history and grandeur of the region. I, too, want to protect and preserve what I and so many others love – the beauty and heritage of the oldest mountains on Earth and the people who have lived in their midst.

I am Polish-American. I am a Blue Ridge Mountain man. I am a FRIEND.

 

 

3 Comments
  1. Wade August 12, 2017 at 12:58 am

    You are going to do a great job!

  2. Suzanne Gallagher September 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

    So happy to read this about yoy, Remi.

  3. Chichi Bennardo October 7, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Gives us great joy to read about you! Take care dear friend.

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