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Best Park Ranger/Peacemaker 

Michael Allen

Staff Pick

If anybody could bring peaceful resolution to the eternal battle for supremacy between unicorns, Pegasus, and narwhals (see page 45), it would be Michael Allen. His official job title is community partnership specialist with the National Park Service, but unofficially, he's one of the few people acting as a conduit for meaningful conversation between the frequently polarized local chapters of the NAACP and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Last year, after tensions reached a boiling point at the SCV's Secession Ball in December 2010, Allen got leaders from both groups to meet in his office and hash out a few of their differences of opinion. The Rev. Joseph Darby, of the NAACP, said the meeting was a significant first. "Frankly, I think that it was positive in that it got people to talk frankly," he said. "Before, it was just TV interviews. You shoot your best shot, the other person shoots his best shot." As the sesquicentennial anniversaries of all the Civil War events arrive, Charleston is going to need Allen's cool voice of reason more than ever.

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