Big Thicket Employee Honored for Heroism

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Date: July 7, 2017
Contact: Jason Ginder, 409-951-6721

Big Thicket National Preserve Superintendent Wayne Prokpetz is pleased to announce that on Tuesday, July 4th, Park Ranger Michael Hughes was honored with a Department of Interior Valor Award, for outstanding performance and bravery while responding to the May, 2016 flooding throughout Southeast, Texas.  Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke presented Ranger Hughes and others with citations during the Department’s 2017 Independence Day celebration in the Main Interior Building in Washington, DC. 

The citation of Valor awarded to Ranger Hughes cites his heroic efforts to rescue local Southeast Texas residents from rapidly rising waters and extreme flooding conditions. Using his meticulously developed skills as a motorboat and airboat operator, Ranger Hughes is credited with performing multiple rescues throughout the late night hours. “I am proud to serve with Ranger Hughes.” stated Superintendent Prokopetz. “The dedication and selfless devotion demonstrated by Ranger Hughes and many others in the hours and days after the flooding events in May of 2016 are what makes all of us proud members of this community.”

A lifelong resident of Tyler County, Ranger Hughes has worked for the National Park Service (NPS) for the past fifteen years. Prior to joining the NPS, Ranger Hughes served his community as part of the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department for twelve years.

“Especially on the Fourth of July, when we are celebrating the birth and the greatness of our nation, to have people that go above and beyond the highest traditions of service, self-sacrifice, I was honored to give the awards of Valor today and recognize them for a job well done.” said Secretary Zinke.

Last updated: July 7, 2017

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