Forestry unit wins state honor

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MEMBERS OF THE Decatur County Forestry Unit’s staff gather on the steps of the Georgia State Capital in Atlanta with Georgia Forestry Commission Director Robert Farris after being honored by Governor Nathan Deal and the State Senate and House of Representatives. They were named the Georgia Forestry Commission 2011 Southern Unit of the Year. From left, front; Ranger Bryan Cottles, mitigation specialist Tina Nix, holding one of their congratulatory proclamations, and Head Ranger Rodney Heard, back; Ranger Johnny Barwick, Director Farris and Ranger Van Smith.

Chief Ranger Rodney Heard and the Decatur County Forestry Unit has been named the Georgia Forestry Commission’s 2011 Southern Unit of the Year.

Chief Ranger Heard and his staff were honored Monday, March 19, at the state capital in Atlanta by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Georgia Forestry Commission Director Robert Farris and the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives in Atlanta.

In resolutions they received from both the Senate and the House, they were praised for many notable achievements including assisting on 2,148 acres of prescribed burning, plowing over 1,136 miles of firebreaks, and serving on multiple incidents with 79 days of deployments throughout the record breaking 2011 fire season and the April, 2011 tornadoes.

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Their outstanding 2011 achievements also included leading eight building projects throughout the Flint District, resulting in considerable savings to the agency and the state of Georgia

They have also served as an integral part of Decatur County’s Tree City USA program and Rural Fire Defense program, coordinating with Decatur County Fire and Rescue to obtain a boat for wildfire suppression around rivers and lakes.

They acquired support from Decatur County for the mitigation specialist position which provides a valuable service to the unit’s operations, completing a Community Wildlife Protection Plan for Decatur County, which will be instrumental in protecting local homes from wildfires.

In addition, the unit has volunteered to bring wildlife prevention messages to county parades and attended numerous training courses that will result in the unit’s ability to provide enhanced services to the citizens of Georgia.