Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
January 30, 2006
NC's Tom Crews Honored by Interior Department for Hurricane Katrina Response Leadership
Photo credit: Gulf coast hurricane award photo, credit Tami A Heilemann
13 FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE EMPLOYEES WERE HONORED IN CEREMONY THANKING HURRICANE EMERGENCY WORKERS - Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Fire Management Officer Tom Crews, pictured third from the left, served as Incident Commander for the FWS Hurricane Katrina Response Team.
Thirteen Fish and Wildlife Service employees were among 125 workers from 14 Department of the Interior agencies honored in ceremonies January 25 for their rescue and recovery efforts following the Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Among them was North Carolina's Tom Crews, Fire Management Officer for Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Manteo and Incident Commander for the Hurricane Katrina Response Team in the fall of 2005.
“Today, we celebrate our heroes,” said Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who said that the aftermath of both hurricanes moved agency employees to go “well beyond the call of duty” as they worked to rescue people, deliver supplies and medicine, provide security, employ engineering skills and much, much more. Service employees honored included Russ Watson, Paul Yakupsack and Mark Parr, of Louisiana; Tom Crews, of North Carolina; Glen Stratton and William D. Wolfe, of Florida; Rick Huffines, William Ferguson and Fred Wetzel, of Georgia; Paul Camp, of Colorado; Curtis Heaton, of Arizona; Richard Johnston, of Texas and LeaAnne Thorne of Washington, DC.
The Service contingent was introduced by narrator Ron Rull of the Secretary’s Office of Communications, who said that Service employees “responded to hurricanes Katrina and Rita with a wide range of vital assistance to hard-hit refugees and local communities. They helped in the rescue and evacuation of several thousand city residents trapped by rising water.” Secretary Norton said Interior employees left comfortable lives in exchange for long hours and big risks, performing “magnificently” under “the most trying of circumstances.” Norton said she was most impressed by the employees’ initiative, common sense and “get-it-done” attitude throughout the entire ordeal.
“On behalf of President Bush,” she said, “we salute you.” Each Service employee, along with all of the other department agency employees honored at the ceremony, were presented with a certificate and were individually thanked by Norton and by Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett.