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Page, Ariz. – An employee with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area received the Department of the Interior’s highest award for Valor.
Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, presented Jeff Wilson with the prestigious Valor Award during the Department of the Interior’s 66th annual Honor Awards Convocation on May 6, 2009.
On April 6th, 2008, Jeff was one of several firefighters who responded to a fire at the Wahweap concessioner employee housing. Firefighters arrived on scene and found the employee dormitory engulfed in flames.
Thirty minutes into the fire, the incident commander received word that the occupants of two rooms were unaccounted for. He immediately ordered two teams of firefighters to enter the building, breach the doors, and search for victims.
NPS firefighter Jeff Wilson entered the building with Page firefighter PJ Marlow. Their assigned search area was a smoke filled corridor with the ceiling burning above them. They broke down the door and entered the room. Using a thermal imaging device, they identified a single victim lying on a bed and quickly carried him to safety.
An unconscious 59-year old man was asleep in his room when the fire broke out and did not hear the alarms. He was transported by park ambulance to Page Hospital and later flown to Flagstaff in critical condition suffering from severe smoke inhalation. After many days in intensive care and weeks of recuperation, the gentleman made a full recovery.
"It’s great to see one of our own recognized for his extraordinary efforts," Superintendent Stan Austin said. "Jeff is an outstanding representative for the community and the National Park Service."
Page Firefighter PJ Marlow has since received the Valor Award from the City of Page, and has been promoted to the rank of Captain.
Jeff Wilson, an electrician at Glen Canyon, has worked for the National Park Service for two years. He was accompanied to the Awards Convocation in Washington, D.C., by his wife Bethanne, his parents Richard and Linda Martin, and Glen Canyon Superintendent Stan Austin.