Meet the 103-year-old who just became a Grand Canyon junior ranger
A 103-year-old woman has been sworn in as a junior ranger at the Grand Canyon National Park.
Rose Torphy was visiting the park as part of a trip with her daughter Cheri Stoneburner when she got into a conversation about the junior ranger programme – essentially an educational programme for kids – in the park shop.
Cheri told the Press Association: “She said she has been very fortunate that she was taught that at an early age but many children now don’t have that so she thinks the ranger programme is an excellent opportunity for kids to learn.”
Rose was brought up in Superior, Wisconsin and used to visit the lakes every weekend with her parents, so developed a love of nature from a young age.
Now almost a century later, she is actually older than the Grand Canyon National Park itself.
The canyon will celebrate 100 years since it was officially designated as a national park next week, on February 26.
The junior ranger programme is funded by the Grand Canyon Conservancy, the park’s official charity, to help young visitors learn about the park through activities.
Rose was sworn in in a ceremony in which she promised to learn all she could about the park and share what she discovered with others.
The junior rangers also promise to help protect the canyon, something Rose – who had 18 great-grandchildren and a further 10 great-great grandchildren, was more than happy to agree to.
“I hope somebody keeps watching over it so that my great-great grandchildren can visit it too,” she said.
Rose’s visit last month came at a difficult time for the park, with staff furloughed thanks to the government shutdown.
With her story reaching national and international audiences, Rose says she doesn’t know “what the fuss is all about”, but she is glad to see so much focus on the park, which she had previously visited back in 1985.
Cheri said: “She is very happy that it has brought attention to the Grand Canyon and its need to be protected. We were there during the government shutdown and she was very sad when she was watching the news and saw how many of the national parks were being trashed by people.”
Rose’s Grand Canyon visit was part of a larger trip for her and daughter Cheri, which also included a stop in Las Vegas.
Another of Cheri’s videos shows her taking in the sights and sounds of Fremont Street, including musicians and street performers.
She even joins in with one musician playing the steel drums.
Asked by her daughter what she makes of it all, a smiling Rose responds: “It’s beautiful and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
It’s a love of life that Cheri says cascades down the whole family.
“She is an absolute treasure,” Cheri said. “We have five generations and she shares her zest for life with all of them.
“She has a glass of wine every night and toasts my dad who passed away 20 years ago, with his favourite toast, ‘Here’s to us none better and damn few as good’.
“We all love her spirit. We are blessed.”