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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is pleased to announce awards for three park Law Enforcement officers. Matthew Davis and Shaun Hughes recently received the Department of Interior's VALOR award, the highest award given to agency officers for risking their lives to save others. Bill Smith recently received the Midwest Region's "Harry Yount" Award for professionalism and expertise in the ranger profession. The VALOR award was presented to Rangers Hughes and Davis in Washington DC by Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. Ranger Smith's award was presented in Marquette, by Midwest Region Chief Ranger, T.C. Colyer.
Davis and Hughes received their award for a September 2014 rescue, 8 miles out on the Lake, during rough water, that saved the life of a diver with the BENDS. Rangers Davis and Hughes worked alongside the Grand Marais Coast Guard Auxiliary, who deserve high praise for this rescue. Smith received his award in acknowledgement of his calm, helpful demeanor and thorough knowledge of law and policy, that keeps enforcement situations deescalated and effective. The award is named for the agency's 'first'ranger', who exemplified good judgement, excellent people skills and fierce protection of the resources under his care.
Superintendent Laura Rotegard remarked, "We have honored good rangers. These three serve with passion, commitment and intelligence and are assets to not only the park, but to the communities we live in. I am proud of them and privileged to serve with them."
VALOR awards are not set on a schedule. They are awarded as deemed appropriate. There were 3 other National Park Service groups/individuals honored at the 71st Awards Ceremony in DC, each for outstanding lifesaving actions occurring over the last 2 years. Harry Yount awards are given each year to seven (7) individuals-1 from each NPS region. These seven now compete for a national award, which will be determined soon.