Newsroom
Midwest Region

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 17, 2011

Contact:
Lynda Knutsen, 218-449-4115

4th Annual Midwest Torch Award Comes to Leopold Wetland Management District

(Left to Right) Ben Halverson  (Leopold Wetland Management District), Chris Mursu (Big Stone NWR), Mike Belsky (Necedah NWR) and Erik Acker (Port Louisa NWR).
(Left to Right) Ben Halverson (Leopold Wetland Management District), Chris Mursu (Big Stone NWR), Mike Belsky (Necedah NWR) and Erik Acker (Port Louisa NWR).

The Midwest Torch Award has been passed on to another well-respected individual in the wildland fire profession. On March 10, 2011, Leopold Wetland Management District (WMD) Career Seasonal Range Technician Ben Halverson was recognized as the recipient of the 4th Annual Midwest Region Torch Award during the Midwest Region Awards of Excellence.

Halverson is committed and dedicated to District and the wider U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) Fire Management Program and follows in the footsteps of past honorees, Chris Mursu of Sherburne NWR, Mike Belsky of Necedah NWR and Erik Acker of Port Louisa NWR.

Always willing to make the extra effort to get tasks accomplished ahead of schedule, Halverson, maintains a safe work environment and trains his team with safety being a top priority.

His experience, knowledge and expertise in equipment maintenance annually saves Station time and money. When maintenance issues occur, Halverson consistently upgrades equipment as needed and coordinates the purchase of new fire equipment to keep the Station fire-ready and fully operational. Each year Halverson fills a vital niche in fire readiness and equipment winterization, making sure equipment is ready for fire activities and properly winterized for cold-weather storage. 

Halverson assists the District in exceeding annual fire acreage targets, but also shares his energy and enthusiasm cross-programmatically: completing habitat restorations, duck surveys, as well as seed collection and harvesting. Ben also assists with a variety of maintenance projects, including welding, plumbing and electrical work. Without Ben's skills and passion for the Resource, the District's Fire Program and other accomplishments may not have been achieved. 

Along with his efforts on the District, Halverson aided in the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill as a Resource Advisor, provided leadership and training as an instructor during the week-long Geographic Engine Academy at Ft. McCoy Military Base and assisted with multiple prescribed burns at Horicon NWR, Necedah NWR and for the Wisconsin Private Lands (Partners) Program.

“Ben’s great attitude, work ethic, motivation, and professionalism make him an example for employees throughout the Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Steve Jakala, Regional Fire Management Coordinator.

The Prescribed Fire Program in the Midwest Region is consistently regarded as one of the best within the Service and the success of our Program is no accident. The dedication and professionalism of the Region’s core fire staff and the support of refuge staff ensures its success. 

As with any program of this magnitude and complexity, no one person is responsible for its success or failure—we succeed or fail collectively. Within any successful organization, a few individuals stand out from the crowd, for going above and beyond what's normally expected of an employee. In 2010, Ben Halverson was one of those individuals. Congratulations Ben, and may your 2011 fire season be full of continued success. 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.


 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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Last updated: November 4, 2013