Dennis Brown: From Inverness to Denver parks

By BY MARK H. STOWERS COLUMNIST,

Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

Brown’s Grocery was heaven in Inverness. Aisles and aisles of cans and boxes and such but the meat counter was where you wanted to be.

The lanky grocer with glasses could cut up anything and serve it up with digital precision. If you asked for a pound of cheddar cheese, one quick slice and onto the scale – not an ounce under or over.

What I didn’t know is that he wasn’t from Inverness. No, Mr. Brown came up from Yazoo City when he heard about the opening and need for a grocer in our little hamlet.

I came upon these facts in a chat with his youngest son, Dennis, who’s older than me but has an interesting job.

He works for the City of Denver, Colorado as a Supervisor of Park Rangers. His story began in Yazoo City where he was born but moved to Inverness when he was in the second grade.

Working for the Colonel Journal newspaper, he took all sorts of photos and had decided to attend MDJC at the time (now MDCC) in their art program but as the pre-cursor to attend a four-year college. But a broken heart changed his course and after two years at Moorhead he moved to Oxford with one of his brothers.

“I got detoured and ended up working with the US Forest Service,” he said. “That changed the course of my life. We did tree planting, timber stand improvement, general work and firefighting. The whole natural resource thing just came at me. And I also found a place to do some photography.”

After a few years there, he moved to Austin, Texas. 

“I found employment in various things until I fell in with a gentleman there who was an arborist or as old school folks would call him, a tree surgeon,” Brown said. “He turned out to be a great friend and mentor and I worked for him for 12 years. Then I decided I needed to change direction and started an arborary consulting business.”

When 9/11 hit, the downturn of the economy took its toll on his consulting, so Dennis started looking for another job.

He found an ad for Parks Worker as a Park Technician.

After securing the needed EMT certificate through the local volunteer fire department, he was on his way.

After several years there, his wife, Sue Mutchler, continued her career climb and that led them to jobs in Denton with Parks and Wildlife.

Eventually she was offered a position in Denver in 2012– a park ranger but in an urban park.

Then he got a position with one of their mountain parks.

Denver had purchased 14,000 acres outside of their physical boundaries due to a unique piece of legislation.

“I have 13 rangers that work under me. One of the oldest campgrounds – it just turned 100 years old last year,” he said. “Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is also under my jurisdiction.”

He deals with a lot of “what’s the big deal” type of violations.

“I climbed up on the rocks. What’s the big deal? I started a fire. What’s the big deal?” he explained. “Things police officers and others don’t want to deal with. That doesn’t mean there are instances that go beyond our control and we call the local sheriff or police office.”

He keeps up with Inverness and such on Facebook and enjoys taking that small-town hospitality and wonder to his Park Ranger position.

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