Harry Yount Award

"They are a fine, earnest, intelligent, and public spirited body of men, these rangers. Though small in number, their influence is large. Many and long are the duties heaped upon their shoulders. If a trail is to be blazed, it is 'send a ranger.' If an animal is floundering in the snow, a ranger is sent to pull him out; if a bear is in the hotel, if a fire threatens a forest, if someone is to be saved, it is 'send a ranger.' If a Dude wants to know the why, if a Sagebrusher is puzzled about a road, it is 'ask the ranger.' Everything the ranger knows, he will tell you, except about himself."

- Stephen T. Mather
First Director, National Park Service

In the tradition of Harry Yount, the National Park Service honors rangers who have the skills to perform a wide scope of ranger duties - protecting resources and serving visitors.

Brandon Torres, Chief of Emergency Services
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Throughout his 14-year career, Ranger Torres has dedicated his life to helping others and protecting visitors in the national parks as a federal law enforcement officer, paramedic, rescuer, firefighter, coach, guide, and teacher. His work has extended far beyond the basic call of duty. He's taken part in complex rescue operations, assisted with medical emergencies, and responded to natural disasters.

In addition to Grand Canyon, Torres has worked at Olympic, Grand Teton and Zion national parks and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. He has instituted lasting programs including a backcountry bear canister loan program at Grand Teton and the search and rescue helicopter short-haul technique at Zion. He has also served on high profile search and rescue missions, special events such as the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and response efforts for Hurricanes Isabel, Rita, Ike, and Sandy.

"In a profession where extreme dedication and high standards are the norm, Brandon Torres has set himself apart with his impressive leadership ability and wilderness skills," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "As the chief of emergency services at Grand Canyon National Park, his job is incredibly demanding. He never knows what will happen next and is prepared for everything, just in case. He is the steady hand that can save your life in a medical emergency, that can pull you out of a trouble when you've gotten in a jam, and that can correct a dangerous situation before it's too late."

Torres has earned the highest respect from his coworkers, mentored other rangers, and is known for his kindness, sound judgment, and sincerity. Torres approaches park visitors with respect, concern, and compassion-often in difficult circumstances.

Brandon Torres
Media Photo (click on image)

Previous awardees:
2011: Lisa Hendy
2010: Scott Emmerich
2009: Peter Armington
2008: Gary Moses
2007: Gordon Wissinger
2006:Todd Swain

Harry Yount: Yellowstone's first and only gamekeeper

"After building a winter cabin in the park in 1880, he became one of the first white men known to spend time on a year-round basis in Yellowstone. Independent and resourceful, able to subsist on his own without close supervision, and having a familiarity and knowledge of the natural processes surrounding him, Harry Yount has become an archetypal model for the National Park Ranger."

Enigmatic Icon: The Life and Times of Harry Yount