Mother continues 40-year-long tradition of thanks to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

GATLINBURG (AP) – The mother of a boy rescued from the backcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has presented park headquarters with a poinsettia every year for the past 40 years.

According to the park, Eric Johnson was 15 years old when he and a companion became trapped in chest-deep snow on Dec. 3, 1974. Park rangers rescued the pair, and to show her gratitude, Wanneta Johnson began taking them flowers each year on the anniversary of that rescue.

On Wednesday, Johnson again made the trip from Johnson City, bearing a poinsettia, to thank the rangers for saving her son’s life.

She was accompanied by her son this year, and they met with Acting Superintendent Clayton Jordan. Jordan is the seventh superintendent to accept Johnson’s gift.

He called the experience “humbling.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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