"Prompt, dependable, honest, and good with people." These are words a MerleFest volunteer team leader uses to describe Tony Eagle. Having volunteered for fourteen years, Tony is something of a MerleFest institution. He always requests to work perimeter security and team leader Jason Parnell is always pleased to have him patrol the cabin road at the backstage area. "Anything good you can say covers Tony Eagle," comments Jason.
Perhaps his many years of experience as a Dayton, Ohio police officer is what prompts retiree Tony to return to perimeter security year after year. He says his best duty as a police officer was his eight years of bicycle patrol. Even though he no longer patrols the streets of Dayton, cycling is still an interest for Tony. He considers staying healthy a hobby and a necessity. In addition to cycling he also walks, hikes, canoes, and kayaks.
On retiring, he and wife Sue left the snowy north and moved to Townsend, Tennessee which Tony calls "the peaceful side of the Smokies." The couple has seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Sue joins Tony in volunteering at MerleFest when she can. Retirement has allowed the couple to fulfill travel dreams. "We have a twenty-six foot RV, and my gypsy blood has taken us to forty-nine states. Sometimes my mind thinks I am only sixteen years old."
Tony learned about volunteering at MerleFest while attending the festival one year. He was at the Creekside stage and noticed a person sneak in by wading the creek. "I told someone that it looked like they needed more security. They told me about volunteering and the rest is history," remembers Tony.
His favorite artists at MerleFest are Doc Watson, Emmylou Harris, and the Sunday morning gospel singers. ?" tell everyone, if they don't find music they like here, they never will!!!" Tony continues, "Every year is like a reunion/homecoming. MerleFest is the BEST in the world, it's FAMILY."
MerleFest is fortunate to have people like Tony Eagle as part of our volunteer family. In the words of Jason Parnell, "Bottom line, Tony is a good man."