The ‘superstar’ lights up the day for visitors to Wind Creek State Park in Alabama

There really is no secret to providing top-notch customer service, if you play by the rules.

Jacquetta Perry has a proven formula for satisfying her clients: “Be polite to the client and always put them first, no matter what.”

This dedication to putting customers first is why Perry recently won the Lake Martin Tourism Superstar award. She has many opportunities while helping visitors to Wind Creek State Park, on the shores of beautiful Lake Martin in southeast Alabama.

Perry (third from left) celebrated his “superstar” honors with Wind Creek State Park employees (from left) Scottie Jackson, Bruce Adams and Larrmy Warren. (Wind Creek State Park)

Perry’s mission as Accountant at the Wind Creek Front Desk, Building 52, is to give visitors first-rate attention. Working six days a week, Perry is often one of the first people visitors meet. Working 12 years at the park, she interacted with thousands of people. In her current role, Perry arranges cabin stays and camping, and advises people on hiking options and other park activities.

“Every time I check in on someone at the window, they love to come back to me,” Perry said, sporting a wide, welcoming smile that lights up his face and uplifts visitors. “It’s important to always be respectful and to be kind – it makes them want to come back and visit your park.”

To help put guests at ease, Perry immediately uses their names when registering.

“My favorite thing is checking in campers and meeting new people,” said Perry, who can offer recommendations on everything from boat rentals to top biking routes to scenic spots in visit around the lake.

The numbers slow to a trickle during the winter – about 30 campers per month – in January and February. During the summer, the warm weather and opportunities for boating, swimming, and other water sports attract more people, when up to 300 people can check in on Fridays for a weekend.

Perry fills up a propane tank for a park visitor. (John Deney)

Whatever the weather, Perry provides cheerful assistance to people strolling in and out of the park’s business office.

“Jacquetta is the most versatile, dedicated and conscientious employee I have ever had,” said Wind Creek State Park Superintendent Bruce Adams. “She makes the job site fun for clients and co-workers. Jacquetta is likely to wear many hats during the workday – where there’s a void, she’s there to fill it.

Wind Creek State Park and Lake Martin

With 586 campsites, Wind Creek State Park is one of the largest state-operated campgrounds in the country. The park welcomes thousands of visitors each year, mostly from Alabama and the Southeast. Perry makes a point of sharing the many fun activities offered at the park.

“I love that a lot of our customers come here and take a look, so they can see what their preference is and where their motorhome may or may not fit,” Perry said. The campsites are equipped with water, electricity and sewage connections.

Perry likes to add a personal touch when arranging camping for visitors to Wind Creek State Park. (John Deney)

For campers looking to spend a few nights in a tent, Perry recommends first getting a “search pass” and a map of the campground. Visitors can browse the grounds and rate how many sites they like. They can then book their preferred site online or come to the office and book it.

Tent camping is popular. Many Scout troops take advantage of the option in the summer. The park also has 20 equine campsites where people can bring their horses.

Built for fun with friends and family, the park offers basic sites with water, electricity and sewer for $65 plus tax to camp Friday and Saturday nights, leaving Sunday. A site with a view of the lake and amenities, for the weekend, costs $80 plus tax. There are seven bathhouses for tent campers and another bathhouse near the marina.

The park sees many repeat visitors.

“It’s like a family park, so a lot of our guests come every year for family reunions, to see family they haven’t seen in a while,” Perry said. “A lot of their kids grew up here on Lake Martin, so they’re carrying on that tradition.”

Two park rangers enforce hours of silence and walk through the park, and Alabama state troopers also keep watch.

‘Ambassador’ loves the park and the people

Perry also camped at Wind Creek, and she and her family used one of the park’s seven camping cabins. “I stayed here two years ago,” she said. “That’s good. We sat by the fire and made s’mores.

She encourages people to come and enjoy the experience of relaxing at Lake Martin and “being one with nature”.

“It’s so peaceful in Wind Creek,” Perry said. “It’s something you have to experience for yourself. Once you’ve spent a few days here, you’ll want to come back every year.”