Shelter Island resident and long-time forest ranger Bryan Gallagher is among 40 of his colleagues to receive the Director’s Commendation Award presented by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for his work with the New York Wildfire and Incident Management Academy.
The commendation goes to candidates who, over the years as New York State forest rangers, have performed their responsibilities in an outstanding manner.
Mr. Gallagher received the commendation this week for his leadership in working with the Wildfire and Incident Management Academy since 1999, four years after its founding.
The Academy was launched in the wake of the 1995 Pine Barrens fire that ravaged more than 2,500 acres of trees from Rocky Point through many parts of the Hamptons. Firefighters from 175 districts were able to contain the blaze after several days. Thanks to their efforts, the fire did not claim houses and businesses.
Mr. Gallagher, 50, played a significant role in the ongoing growth of the Academy, according to a DEC press release.
He has assisted with logistics for a 10-day training program that has served 200 and 650 first responders each year.
As a member of the state’s Incident Management Team (IMT), he has functioned as a logistics chief and taken on other leadership responsibilities.
The training at the Academy was designed to link tactics and techniques in firefighting with management of incidents.
“Forest Ranger Bryan Gallagher has worked tirelessly assisting with the running of the fire academy, both in the spring and fall of each year,” according to the DEC’s statement of his commendation.
“The many successful years of the Wildfire Academy are never a one-person job, but Ranger Gallagher’s contributions have frequently been recognized as integral to its’ success,” the statement said.
Mr. Gallagher was recognized for his passion, commitment and the success he has brought to the firefighting community.
“In his 19 years, he has developed an experience and knowledge that has made him a mentor and leader to the past seven classes of rangers to begin their careers on Long Island,” the DEC statement said. “His character, personality and tireless work ethic have also built countless relations among the enormous number of agencies and community groups on Long Island. The recognition the division has gained among the Long Island community in his pursuits is a testament to his self-sacrifice, professionalism and dedication to service, in keeping with the highest traditions of the Forest Ranger force.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos called the forest rangers the state’s first line of defense in protecting the environment and safeguarding natural resources.