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Keats McLaughlin is the outdoor adventure program director at the RAF Mildenhall Outdoor Recreation Center. The 52-year-old Rockford, Ill., native has been leading tours and adventures for about two years in England.

Stripes caught up with McLaughlin shortly after he was named the Air Force’s top national parks and recreation leader for 2007.

So you’ve had a busy summer and now it’s slowing down as the weather turns. What cool stuff is coming up?We’ve got a very cool trip to Northern Ireland for Halloween. We’re going to go hiking and then go to Europe’s largest Halloween festival in Derry.

What about this Walk with the Wolves I’ve seen advertised?Since I came from Alaska and I am familiar with wolves, I thought it would be neat to do something like that here. It’s part of our nature walk series. I went out to scout out the place and check out the program they put on, and it looks fantastic. You even get to feed the wolves.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do here in the U.K.?I’d have to say white-water rafting in Scotland and Wales. But we just went surfing in Cornwall, and that was also very cool.

I did some surfing in Cornwall earlier this year. It’s tough but a good time.We had a blast, and we’re probably going to arrange for more surfing in France next year.

I see you guys got some nifty inflatable kayaks out. What do you plan to do with those?Yeah, we just got those, and we’re really excited about it. We plan to go out and take them to some places that you normally can’t get to by car, like some of the lochs in Scotland.

You guys do some adventurous stuff. Have you ever suffered any serious injuries out there?Really I haven’t. [We] are very safety-conscious. The most injuries we’ve had happen on our trips is someone gets a scrape or a scratch. We’ve never had a major injury.

Is it safe to say you really dig your job here?I do love my job. I’m not an office person and this job allows me to get out. And I’m definitely a people person. Every trip we go on is different because of the people.

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