FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014
||Brian R. Haines, public information officer
N.C. Forest Service
Transylvania County sheriff's lieutenant honored
for forest protection work
CEDAR MOUNTAIN — Lt. Jeff Smith of the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office has received the inaugural Forest Protector Award for outstanding and enduring service to protect the resources of DuPont State Recreational Forest.
The award was developed by N.C. Forest Service staff and Friends of DuPont Forest, a nonprofit group that works to enhance the public use and enjoyment of the forest and protect its natural resources.
Smith was recognized for making a routine patrol stop at Hooker Falls Parking Lot in 2006 to check on a suspicious vehicle. The simple act of running a license plate number led to the conviction of a group of grave robbers who desecrated a burial site in the Moore Cemetery in the forest. Smith also has provided exceptional protection for the forest by responding to numerous emergency calls there and supporting forest rangers in enforcing rules, said Forest Supervisor Jason Guidry.
The award was presented in March. Guidry said Smith appeared to be surprised and touched by the honor. “His fellow lieutenants are proud of him and indicate that this is simply an extension of Lt. Smith’s excellent work throughout the county,” Guidry said. “As DuPont State Recreational Forest and Transylvania County continue to increase in their national profile as recreation destinations, we will rely more and more on local law enforcement to help protect our unique natural resources.”
Forest Ranger Eric Folk, Friends of DuPont Forest President Beverly Parlier and Treasurer Jerry Clouse presented Smith with a hand-crafted, engraved walnut box. The Friends group provided the funding for the award and Dan Bresnahan, a longtime member, produced it in his workshop.
The Forest Protector Award is based on several criteria, which includes providing at least 10 years of dedicated emergency service to the forest and providing police work that prevents significant damage to forest resources.
“Friends of DuPont Forest is pleased to support this important award that honors law enforcement individuals who go above and beyond to protect and preserve this wonderful asset,” Clouse said.
Folk views the award as “a chance to recognize excellence in the emergency response community.”
Said Transylvania Sheriff David Mahoney: “Our community is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. I am extremely proud of the relationship we have with the North Carolina Forest Service staff. That partnership allows us to work together to protect some those areas that make our county a special place to live, work and play. The actions of Lt. Smith just highlight the importance of agencies working together for a common goal.”