West Virginia Public Broadcasting Published

'The Water is a Great Medium for Women' – Longtime Friends and W.Va. River Guides on StoryCorps


Longtime friends Elizabeth Dinkins, 45, and Kathy Zerkle, 57, visited the StoryCorps Airstream in Charleston earlier this fall to talk about their work as women river guides, the rafting community in West Virginia and how the river has influenced them.

“On the outside it appears that it’s a really physical job, and to some extent it is, but I think the water is a great medium for women to work within because it’s very subtle” said Zerkle, a river ranger and emergency medical coordinator at the New River Gorge National River.

While Dinkins has left the rafting industry, and is the interim dean of the school of education at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, the two friends noted the call of the river is a heady one.

“In some ways the river is the Thanksgiving table we’re all called to,” Dinkins said.

Their conversation was recorded by the mobile StoryCorps booth during its recent stop in Charleston, West Virginia. Their interview will be housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.