March 23, 2002 – As a child, Kim Lyons enjoyed much of what the V.I. National Park in her native St. John had to offer. Now, she's back as development director at the Friends of the Park.
"I bring the perspective of a St. Johnian having grown up in the park," Lyons said.
She started work March 20 and is taking over the position from Trudy Toliver, who will leave at the end of March after two years on the job.
As development director, Lyons is responsible for fund-raising, membership and public relations. "This is a key position for the Friends," said John Fuller, chair of the not-for-profit organization's board.
Lyons' background is in public relations, marketing, advertising, fund-raising and management. She was an assistant Tourism commissioner and has worked for AT&T Virgin Islands and for Greengage Associates when it was the V.I. government's advertising agency. Along the way, she opened the Purple Door, a popular St. John restaurant and nightclub.
She relocated to New York in 1998 and returned home to St. John last summer. "And I spent some time in France and Nigeria," she said.
While conceding that some St. John residents do not view the park in the same positive light that she does, Lyons said she is glad the park is part and parcel of St. John. "I'm not sure I would like to see what St. John would look like if it was not there," she said.
Lyons, who has a 7-year-old daughter, Savannah, said some of her fondest memories are of visiting with her uncle, Louis Wesselhoft, who worked for the park at Cinnamon Bay. "This gave me great affection for the park, and I would like my daughter, and all children on St. John, to have this same appreciation," she said.
In many ways, she said, the park looks the same as it did 25 years ago, an aspect of St. John she likes. "I appreciate walking down the trail at Salt Pond. It takes me back to my childhood," she said.
Joe Kessler, Friends president, said he is confident that Lyons "has the knowledge, experience and instincts to raise the resources necessary for the Friends to be an effective partner of the V.I. National Park."
Viewing the challenges ahead as opportunities, Lyons said she will work hard to bring more people into the Friends of the Park fold and to give them a better understanding of what the park and the Friends do. "It's a good cause I can attach my name to," she said.
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