Awards presented to Sequoia-Kings Canyon staff


Over the past several months, Woody Smeck, superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, has been kept busy presenting commendations to his award-winning staff for longevity and performing above and beyond the call of duty. 

Three Rivers residents may rest assured knowing that the local parks are under the capable care of the following award recipients, many who reside in Three Rivers, as well as so many other dedicated public servants.

Here are those who were honored for the specified years of federal service:


40 Years in Service

John Austin


30 Years in Service

Annie Esperanza

William “Hopper” Sullivan

Carrie Vernon


25 Years in Service

Shauna Austin 

Calvin Kessner


20 Years in Service

Maura Franklin

Edward Kelleher

Thomas Parrack

Justin Pursley

Joanne Boswell

Michael Brown 

Eric Davenport

Thor Riksheim

Chris Trotter


15 Years in Service

William Basye

Todd Bonds

Ward Eldredge

Lora Gomes

Denise Robertson

Erika Williams

Greg Brown

Karen Folger

Erika Jostad

Chris Waldschmidt


10 Years in Service

Philip Gross

Stephen Karnatz

Bill Schenher

Alysia Schmidt

Thomas Stevens

Katrina Young


5 Years in Service

Danny Gammons 

Matthew Hundt

Jonathan Winters


Additional presentations

Paul Sheehan received the Employee of the Quarter honor for October-December 2013. He was recognized for his multitasking as he has been doing two jobs over the past year, serving as collateral-duty administrative officer as well as his regular job as supervisory human resources specialist.

Tyler Jacobus was recently presented with the Employee of the Quarter award for January-March 2014 for his role in solving information-technology issues and crises with a calm demeanor and positive attitude. 


Hotshot heroes 

In addition, the Arrowhead Interagency Hotshot Crew, based in Kings Canyon National Park, along with the Horseshoe Meadows Interagency Hotshot Crew (Sequoia National Forest), received the “Award of Excellence in Wildfire EMS/Rescue” by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. The award recognizes those who have displayed an act of selflessness and heroism.

The incident occurred on the morning of June 16, 2013, as the Horseshoe Meadow Hotshot crew was hiking with the Arrowhead Hotshots to their assignment on the Big Meadows Fire in a remote area of Rocky Mountain National Park (Colo.) at an elevation of 9,000 to 10,000 feet. Luther Larkin Sr., 51, a  member of the Horseshow Meadow crew, began having difficulty breathing and experienced chest pains. An EMT with the crews evaluated him and detected no pulse, then started CPR. A paramedic that was on the fireline arrived within five minutes with an automated external defibrillator (AED). After approximately 10 to 14 minutes with no pulse and applying one shock from the AED, Larkin was resuscitated. Personnel on the two crews carried him about a quarter-mile to a helispot. In just about an hour after he collapsed, Larkin was on a helicopter and on his way to a Denver hospital.

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