COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Employees at Texas A&M Forest Service have been awarded two Bronze Smokey Bear Awards for their wildfire prevention outreach efforts across the nation over the course of Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday in 2019.

    The Texas A&M Forest Service Smokey Bear 75th Wildfire Prevention Team delivered outreach and prevention activities bigger and better than ever before, and involved diverse skill sets from employees across the agency.

    With a state as vast and diverse as Texas, no one agency or entity can solely be responsible for protecting lives and property from wildfire. It takes everyone — and a lot of unsung heroes working behind the scenes to pull off a Texas-sized birthday celebration for an American Icon.

    “This campaign involved so many people from across this great agency,” said Bruce Woods, Wildfire Mitigation and Prevention Department Head for Texas A&M Forest Service. “We were able to bring together so many different talents and generous contributions of time from all pockets of TFS to pull off one heck of a celebration — all the while imparting the importance and responsibility of wildfire prevention.”

    Some of the most unique and innovative activities included Smokey 75th Birthday Geocoins, the 254 Texas County Smokey Road Show, Parties in the Parks, a customized Smokey Bear Texas License Plate and the fun social media video challenge that traveled across the country.

    Although wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility, team members recognized by this Bronze Smokey Bear Award are:

    Weldon Dent, Wildland Urban Interface Specialist, Lufkin; Heather Gonzales, Wildland Urban Interface Specialist, Victoria; Kari Hines, Program Coordinator, La Grange; Linda Moon, Manager of Communications and Marketing, College Station; Caylee Reid, Communications Specialist, College Station; Terry Smith, Contracts Officer, College Station; Alan Degelman, Purchasing Department Head, College Station; Robby Dewitt, Associate Director, College Station; Veronica Davenport, Business Administrator, College Station; Jon Motsinger, Central Texas Operations Department Head, Austin; Aldyth Lewis, Executive Assistant, College Station; Karen Stafford, Program Coordinator, Lufkin; and Bruce Woods, Wildfire Mitigation and Prevention Department Head, College Station.

    Excellence in program delivery doesn’t happen by accident, it reflects leadership.

    State Forester and Texas A&M Forest Service Director Tom Boggus is also a recipient of a Bronze Smokey Bear Award.

    Boggus serves as the national voice for wildfire prevention among the state forestry agencies and territories which are responsible for wildfire prevention on 1.52 billion acres of forests, range and grasslands nationwide. 

    Boggus has served as the chair of the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) Committee elevating importance of wildfire prevention and the Smokey Bear awards by having them presented at the National Association of State Foresters meetings annually. Boggus also helped create a recognition program for wildfire mitigation awards. 

    In 2017, Boggus had the CFFP committee recognized by the Texas Legislature, both in the House and Senate, and in 2019 was one of the rope handlers for the Smokey Bear balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    “His passion as an active promoter of wildfire prevention and Smokey's message is second to none in this country,” said Jim Karels, previous Florida State Forester. “Tom has been the lead voice, the cheerleader and the driving force behind promoting Smokey's message nationwide – and has been known to give a Smokey presentation while standing on top of a desk showing everyone his Smokey Bear socks!”

    Deputy Regional Forester for USDA Forest Service Jan Davis presented the Smokey Bear Awards in College Station Tuesday as part of the Texas A&M Forest Service’s annual personnel meeting.

    “Recipients of these awards symbolize our best in such a critical area of the Forest Service mission,” Davis said. “Locally, regionally and nationally, Tom and his team have faced challenges with dedication and professionalism, and their leadership in wildfire prevention continues to be invaluable to both Texas and the nation.”

    The Bronze Smokey Bear Award is the highest honor given to organizations or individuals for outstanding wildfire prevention service that has impact within a state over at least a two-year period. A maximum of 10 Bronze Smokey Bear awards may be given annually.

    The USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and the Advertising Council (Through the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) Program) are sponsors of the national Smokey Bear Awards. 



    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office, 979-458-6600,