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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


March 21, 2005


Contact: John Wood, Klamath Basin NWR, 530-667-2231


Service Fire Managers and Safety Officer Receive National Award

Award Winners From Kansas, South Dakota and Montana 

Three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees have earned the Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award, among a total of eight award winners, for demonstrating outstanding leadership skills in wildland firefighting during the 2004 field season. 

Todd Schmidt, a fire program technician at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas, and Pat Harty a prescribed fire specialist at Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota received the award as members of the Mid-Plains Interagency Handcrew Boss Team. Rodney Redinger, a training specialist for the state of Kansas Forest Service also received the award as a member of the handcrew team. The three worked together to organize other fire specialists in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and Colorado to create an experienced, tightly organized crew to respond to wildland fires in the central Great Plains. In the past two years, the group also provided technical and leadership training to wildland firefighters in that region. 

Paul Chamberlin, a Fish and Wildlife Service fire operations safety officer in Missoula Montana, received the award for promoting the “LCES” (Lookout, Communication, Escape routes, Safety zones) training concept, which was created originally by Paul Gleason and is now fundamental to all wildland firefighter safety training. Chamberlin also has designed and promoted national safety programs for working around trees and snags in wildland situations. 

The other four award recipients, whose names have not yet been announced, are from two other federal agencies and a Tribe. 

The national award recognizes outstanding, demonstrated leadership in the principals and values of wildland firefighting. The awards are made in the categories of mentoring and teamwork, motivation and vision, and initiative and innovation. It was created in 2003 in honor of Paul Gleason, a well-known federal fire leader, mentor and teacher best remembered for developing the LCES concept. Gleason died of cancer in 2003. 

Recipients are named each spring by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) based on a nomination process, and may include individuals or groups from various agencies and external organizations. The NWCG is a national team of fire managers from the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Association of State Foresters, Intertribal Timber Council and the U.S. Fire Administration.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. 

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