Coverage of the stalemate in Congress that forced the U.S. government to a standstill

Oldest Full-Time Park Ranger, Betty Reid Soskin, Heads Back to Work After Government Shutdown

Betty Reid Soskin couldn't be more delighted to be dressing for work and getting ready to head into the office

By Lisa Fernandez
|  Thursday, Oct 17, 2013  |  Updated 6:43 PM PDT
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Betty Reid Soskin couldn't be more delighted to be dressing for work and getting ready to head into the office. Janelle Wang reports.

Betty Reid Soskin couldn't be more delighted to be dressing for work and getting ready to head into the office. Janelle Wang reports.

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For Oldest U.S. Park Ranger, Furlough is Waste of Time

Betty Reid Soskin, 92, of San Pablo is the oldest National Park Service Ranger in the country, and she says she is "thoroughly confused" about why she is furloughed. Oct. 7, 2013. Cheryl Hurd reports.

RAW VIDEO: Oldest National Park Service Ranger Talks About Her Furlough

Betty Reid Soskin, 92, of San Pablo is the oldest National Park Service Ranger in the country, and she says she is "thoroughly confused" about why she is furloughed. Oct. 7, 2013
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Betty Reid Soskin couldn't be more delighted to be dressing for work and getting ready to head into the office.

For Soskin, the "office" is the the visitor's center at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond, Calif.,  which has been shuttered since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown.

"I'm absolutely delighted," she told NBC Bay Area on Thursday morning, after Congress voted to end the shutdown late Wednesday  night. "Right now, I'm getting ready for work. I have a conference call, then I'll clear out my emails and then start my day."

MORE: Memorials, Museums Reopen After Shutdown

The 92-year-old San Francisco Bay Area woman - the oldest fulltime U.S. park ranger - is one of the more memorable voices heard during the shutdown, when she publicly voiced her displeasure at being furloughed. She didn't mind so much that she was missing her paycheck. She didn't like sitting idle for nearly two weeks.

In the last decade of her life, she said that she feels she is still alive for a purpose - to give a firsthand account about working women during WWII - since she lived through that herself. Soskin worked as a clerk for the all-black Boilermakers A-36.

MORE: Voices of the Shutdown: What It Means

And she felt that hanging around the house while she was furloughed was simply a huge waste of time for a women of her age.

"At this stage of my career, I have a sense of urgency," Soskin said in a previous interview.

During the shutdown, Soskin said she "mostly gave interviews," adding that she realized that she became a human "backstory," giving voice for the roughly 800,000 federal workers who were also furloughed. "I didn't do much of anything," she said.

MORE: Oldest Ranger Says Furlough is a Waste of Time

So, that's why Soskin was excited when she watched the congressional vote on C-Span - a vote that told her she'd be in the office the next morning. And it's not only her, but workers at the country's 400 national parks, including at Yosemite, and at federal agencies, including at NASA Ames in Moffett Field, will also be turning on their computers and start collecting paychecks starting on Thursday.

And after clearing out her slew of emails, Soskin said she's ready to slip into her role as interpretive park ranger again, educating people on the role of women and African-Americans during World War II.

"I get to share my knowledge with the public again," Soskin said. "I missed that."

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