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Grand Teton National Park rangers and staff received the Department of the Interior's (DOI) Unit Award for Excellence and five rangers received the Department's Exemplary Act Award for their contributions during a challenging rescue mission in 2010. In addition, a Teton Interagency fire budget analyst received a National Park Service (NPS) award for exemplary work in the Intermountain Region's fire program, and two rangers were recognized for their law enforcement work on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott and Chief Ranger Michael Nash presented the awards Wednesday, March 14 at a ceremony in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.
The DOI's Unit Award for Excellence and Exemplary Act Awards were given to recognize the actions
of park employees involved in the 2010 search and rescue operation for 17 climbers caught in a powerful lightning storm on the Grand Teton. Grand Teton National Park and the Jenny Lake rescue team each received Unit Awards for Excellence, and rangers Scott Guenther, Case Martin, Chris Harder, Rick Guerrieri, and Jim Springer were honored with the Exemplary Act Awards for their critical roles and assistance during the difficult rescue mission. Many lives were saved by the professionalism, skill and courage of the combined rescuers; sadly, one climber died when he fell more than 2,000 feet during the brunt of the storm.
The Unit Award for Excellence is given for exceptional contributions of employee groups, units or teams who have worked together as a unit to perform a service so far above and beyond what is normally expected that it is considered to be superior. The Exemplary Act Award was established in 1982 and is given to employees or private citizens who attempt to save the life of another while on property owned by or entrusted to the DOI.
Fire Program Management Assistant Claire Scolnick received a Jeanie Harris Award that commemorates Jeanie's legacy of service by honoring a National Park Service fire program management assistant or fire budget analyst at either the regional or park level. Scolnick was nominated for her all-risk incident business skills and for her exemplary efforts to support and improve the NPS fire and aviation management program through fostering an environment of cooperation with interagency partners and representing the fire program in a positive light.
Grand Teton Park Rangers Chris Flaherty and Jason Montoya were recognized for their contributions to Operation Alliance, a two-year interagency law enforcement effort to reduce violent crime by five percent on Indian reservations. Rangers Flaherty and Montoya were assigned to the Wind River Reservation for a period of 30 days. In addition to traditional law enforcement duties, rangers conducted formal and informal education programs, served as mentors, participated in community outreach, and responded to emergencies. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called NPS Rangers and U.S. Park Police Officers to serve with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs to help support safe Indian communities.