NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 11, 2013) – A conservation biologist at Center Hill Lake is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for July 2013.
Park Ranger Gary Bruce is lauded for his emergency response actions during three separate incidents around the lake during the peak of the recreation season.
The DeKalb County Sheriff Department notified Bruce July 14 that a person clung to a tree in swift water below Center Hill Dam. He quickly orchestrated an emergency response and modifications to water releases through the dam that resulted in a safe retrieval of the individual without injury.
A man also fell from a bluff July 26 along the shoreline and sustained life-threatening injuries. Bruce and Park Ranger Chris Cantrell transported EMS and rescue squad personnel to the remote site and assisted with maneuvering the victim from the hillside onto the boat and to a helicopter nearby for transport to the hospital.
The very next day, Bruce and Park Ranger Terry Martin responded to the scene where a vessel collided with rocks and the shoreline and they assisted the two occupants to safety.
“His knowledge of the lake, professional relationships with local and state emergency responders, and positive attitude were essential to the successful rescue efforts,” said Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander.
Bruce said he is truly honored to receive this recognition, especially when he was just doing his job.
“I believe that every ranger in the district would have done the same thing I did if given similar circumstances,” Bruce said. “I share this honor with all the other rangers that help to ensure visitor safety around public lands and waters.”
Bruce added that he is proud of the relationships that he has developed at Center Hill Lake with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, DeKalb County Sheriff Department, DeKalb Rescue, DeKalb EMS, the marinas and even with the public.
As a conservation biologist, Bruce balances the demand for use of natural resources on project lands while ensuring their conservation for future generations. He also promotes and encourages public safety, with a special emphasis on water safety.
“It is great to have a job where you can do so many things in the outdoors, and have the opportunity to help people as well,” he said.
Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake resource manager, said everyone that works with Bruce can attest to his incredible dedication, commitment to task, and work ethic.
“In my opinion one characteristic that stands out is his constant state of readiness,” Salvilla said. “Ride along on his daily routine and it becomes evident that he is incredibly efficient, meticulous and organized. Combine these traits with a very perceptive and foresighted state of mind and it becomes obvious that he is a force multiplier.”