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Forestry Alumnus Nationally Acclaimed for Wildfire-Prevention Education

One of the country’s highest honors for wildfire prevention − named for one of its most recognizable public figures − has been presented to Paul M. Reier, a 34-year veteran of the Virginia Department of Forestry and a 1977 forest technology graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology predecessor Williamsport Area Community College.

Reier, of Toano, Va., earned the Bronze Smokey Bear Award, acknowledging  the “energy, dedication and commitment” he has demonstrated in countless education programs on fire prevention.

Paul M. Reier
Paul M. Reier

“Paul works tirelessly, even after hours, to ensure Smokey is at numerous fairs, special events, baseball games and schools. He partners with everyone from local nursing homes to the local rescue organizations and fire departments,” said Fred Turck, VDOF’s assistant director of resource protection. “Paul always finds new ways to get Smokey Bear involved in community events and is proactive in his efforts.”

The Bronze Smokey Bear Award is the highest honor given for wildfire service on the state level, and is reserved for people or organizations that provide sustained, outstanding service in wildfire prevention. The award is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Advertising Council.

“I’m so glad to see Paul’s extraordinary efforts being recognized on a national level,” said Carl E. Garrison III, Virginia’s state forester. “He has been a leader in wildfire prevention and education efforts for many years, and he’s so very good at making sure Smokey Bear’s message (“Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”) is understood by children of all ages.  His work has been an important part of our goal to reduce the number of wildfires caused by human activity.”