“The single most rewarding memory was the opportunity to help a group of folks in Alabama. We don’t think about public land in Alabama, but it was a homestead state. Their ancestors had homesteaded. Civil war came, destroyed all of the records.
What ended up was that these folks owned the property but didn’t own the mineral rights under their property. It was about thirty-thousand people in Southern Alabama. They couldn’t sell. They couldn’t do anything. It was a very depressed time. Folks wanted to sell their homes, sell their property. And they couldn’t do it because of this lean on their property and mineral rights.
And it was working with their local congressman that we were able to clear up the title for them, make sure that they could own the land outright, so that they could deal with it as real property owners. It wasn’t anything the Federal government particularly wanted. There were no mineral interests there. It was just one of those crazy things in the law that really impacted these people.
And I got a letter from a woman there, and the letter just said, I never knew the Federal government cared until I worked with you. And I thought, wow, where else would you get an opportunity to do something that significant for people.” -Elena
“I think when I first started working here, I had a major experience. It was very memorable because we went on, went to an AO conference. And my supervisor asked that I do a presentation there. I was fairly nervous because the material was pretty new. And I knew that most of the people in the audience were experienced BLM employees so why would they want to hear from an intern? So, my supervisor gave me a good pep-talk and told me to go and do the presentation, and it turned out to be very good. Everyone was excited. It was an office of the future presentation, and so it was preparing me for something that I didn’t expect. I got up in front of a crowd, and it let me know that just because you are new doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer. So, it was a good experience.” -Tiya