Decades-long employee of Castaway Cove reflects on service to Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — After 20 years of Castaway Cove's presence in Wichita Falls, one employee dove into the waterpark's mission two decades ago and never looked back.

General Manager Steve Vaughn has been employed with the park since the first drop of water 20 years ago.

He worked with the Wichita Falls Fire Department for 32 years while simultaneously working as an EMT, aquatic supervisor and operations manager at the park. However, after nearly losing his life to COVID-19, he pursued a career as general manager at Castaway Cove full-time.

"I like to be out here with the guests. I have people here that I have met that for July 4," Vaughn said. "I may go pop firecrackers at their house with their family. Sometimes they'll come over to our house for a barbecue or something and the employees at the same time. We [just have a] family atmosphere with everybody."

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While Castaway Cove has made a splash in the community for years, it hasn't always been smooth sailing.

"The biggest challenge was a few years ago during the water rationing with the lakes being down way low. We actually trucked water in every day, and that was a pretty good challenge," Vaughn said. "We were scared that the park was going to have to close up that year, but we were actually able to truck it in and save the park that year."

Vaughn said over the years, he's seen many changes, but his love for the park and the joy of meeting new people and forming connections is what keeps him coming back and keeps him young.

As Castaway Cove celebrates 20 years of operation, Vaughn stands as a testament to the dedication and passion that define the success of the park.

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