DEP'S SHINN PRESENTS
EAGLE AWARD TO CHIEF FIREWARDEN
Department of Environmental Protection
Commissioner Bob Shinn recently presented the department's
highest level of commendation, the Eagle Award, to Dave
Harrison, the State Firewarden and Chief of the Forest Fire
Service during a retirement dinner at McGuire Air Force
Base Officer's Club.
Shinn praised Harrison's 49 years of distinguished
service to the state and to the national forest fire protection
"Dave is and always will be a legend
to the state's forestry service. Everyone knows and wants
to talk to Dave. Governors, state legislators, the press
and even celebrities like Harrison Ford who stopped by on
a number of occasions at DEP's Aeroflex airport in Andover
to talk to Dave about what he does and how he does it. They
are both avid pilots. Mr. Ford even tried to talk Dave into
letting him fly one of our Hueys, but Dave, with much regret,
declined," said Shinn.
Harrison started his career with the Forest
Fire Service as a crewman in 1952 while a student at Barnegat
High School. Over the years, Dave earned the respect of
firefighters and state officials by rising through the ranks
of DEP and becoming District Forest Firewarden in 1955,
and later Chief in 1983. He played a key role in developing
a comprehensive Forest Fire Service aviation program and
addressed forest fire protection management issues across
20 northeastern states.
"Dave has certainly earned the wings
of our Eagle Award. New Jersey's Forest Fire Service is
an organization well respected by the wildlife protection
community across the United States and is second to none
due to the distinguished service of Dave Harrison,"
said Shinn. "Dave has lead the way through his dedication,
knowledge and expertise in promoting the aggressive control
of wildfires without compromising firefighter safety."
As an executive member of the Middle Atlantic
Forest Fire Protection Compact, Harrison assisted with improving
overall wildland firefighting preparedness across the Mid-Atlantic
region and served as the compact's historian. He played
a major role in protecting New Jersey's wildlife and national
resources for 29 years as DEP's Deputy Conservation Officer
with the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Harrison, a Waretown, Ocean County resident,
has held an aircraft pilot's license for more than 40 years
and will continue to fly missions as needed for the Forest
Fire Service. Maris Gabliks, a Lakewood, Ocean County resident,
has been appointed Acting Chief and State Firewarden.