Fort Ross Bicentennial image

Olmsted Award – Leadership and Vision

Nina Gordon image Nina E. Gordon Senior Policy Coordinator,
 Interpretation and Education Division

Nina led the way for thousands of people to enjoy the outdoors.  Among her achievements were wheelchair accessibility at Ano Nuevo State Park; also she helped to create the "California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights" and the "Children in Nature" programs.

Hill Award – Inspiration

James Pence image
James Pence
State Park Peace Officer/Ranger
 Sierra District
NOTE: Accepting for James (photo below) is
James twin brother, Sean Pence.

Officer James Pence was dedicated to the protection of park resources wherever he worked.  Until his untimely death at the age of 49, James was a steadfast leader and an inspiration to many people throughout California for more than 20 years.

Twin Brother of James Pence image

Drury Award – Professional Integrity

Timothy Guardino image
Timothy Guardino, (Posthumous) 
 State Park Peace Officer/Ranger
Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division

Tim was a model employee for the Department since 2003. Tragically, Tim passed away on October 14, 2012, from Lou Gehrig's disease.  Tim's professionalism and strong moral compass embodied the term integrity.  Officer Guardino facilitated the development of a new statewide law enforcement training course to provide improved customer service to the State's Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreationists.

Two Drury Awards for 2012
Image James A. LuscutoffJames A. Luscutoff, Division Chief
Concessions, Reservations and Fees Division

In a career spanning 42 years, Jim worked in nearly every division at headquarters. The last 15 years as Chief of Concessions, Jim ethically insured that concession management and policy were compatible with the mission, public interest, and State Parks operational needs.

Mott Award – Innovation

Chuck Combs image
Charles (Chuck) Combs
Staff Park and Recreation Specialist 
 Mott Training Center

Chuck has served California State Parks for more than 38 years.  As head of maintenance training at the William Penn Mott Jr. Training Center, Chuck realized that no other park agency offered training in skills vital to good maintenance practices.  He worked with federal, state, and local agencies to develop specific hands-on classes that have earned California State Parks an excellent reputation with park and land management agencies across the United States.

Dewitt Award – Partnership

Michele Luna image
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Michele Luna, Executive Director

This non-profit interpretive organization was founded to promote education, preservation, and restoration of the natural and cultural resources of the Russian River area through interpretation and stewardship.  Since 1994, the "Stewards" have volunteered more than 30,000 hours; raised $1.2 million for the Willow Creek Bridge project, and performed many other projects and tasks in support of California State Parks.

Dewitt Award – Partnership

Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers (CCLK) Cooperating Association; & Point Sur SHP Volunteers images 
Point Sur SHP Volunteers  &  Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers (CCLK) Cooperating Association; 
Kevin Hanstick & John O’Neil, Chairpersons

For 20 years, the dedicated CCLK Cooperating Association and the Point Sur volunteers have provided financial and volunteer support.  During 2012, the volunteers contributed 15,300 hours of service and the docents conducted 276 tours for 6,000 visitors at Point Sur State Historic Park.  It is estimated that over the years, the CCLK has contributed more than $1.5 million towards restoration work at the park.

Ingenuity Award

Communications Cell Connectivity image 
Communications Cell Connectivity Project
 Mojave Sector/Tehachapi District

Matthew E. Williams, Project Leader, State Park Peace Officer/Ranger
Russ Dingman, Staff Park & Rec Specialist I
John C. Aiton, Park Maintenance Worker I (not pictured)

Cell phone and emergency 911 service was brought to remote Red Rock Canyon State Park because of the ingenuity and initiative of this team of dedicated employees.  The idea was conceived by Matt Williams and then the  team designed, hand-built, and installed solar powered I/T cell-repeater towers - a feat that local commercial providers  and other private professionals could not provide.

Special Commendation Awards

Sharon Dennis
Sharon Dennis, Associate Government
 Program Analyst,
Administrative Services Division

Sharon is recognized for establishing an ethical, accountable program to recycle old Department computers to get them into the hands of needy children and school systems.

Gil Hernandez
Gilbert (Gil) Hernandez
Park Maintenance Worker II, Angeles District

Gil has protected and preserved parks resources in the Angeles District for more than 35 years - through fires, floods, earthquakes  -  and even the Rodney King riots.  Most recently Gil has become a key staffer with the Los Angeles State Historic Park special events program.

Tara Lynch Tara Elizabeth Lynch
Senior Staff Counsel
Legal Office

Tara stepped up to act as interim Chief Counsel, maintaining a well-respected and highly functioning Legal Office during the recent times of public pressure and limited staff resources.  She constantly uses her legal prowess, integrity, and friendly attitude to support the mission of California State Parks.

Cameron Morrison
Cameron M. Morrison
State Park Peace Officer/Ranger
Diablo Vista District

Cameron (Cam) worked above and beyond "typical" ranger duties by taking on many extra tasks and projects in the parks.  For more than ten years, he has been stalwart and instrumental in the area of resource protection in a very large park area.

Ranger James Valdez 
James D. Valdez
State Park Peace Officer/Ranger
Angeles District 

James spearheaded the special-event programs within the Los Angeles State Historic Park, which has become somewhat of a premier location for large-scale music festivals and cultural events.  James built the program with little experience and no blueprint.

Linda K. Walton 
Linda K. Walton
Museum Curator I
Archaeology, History, and Museums Division 

With no prior experience in conducting museum-collection inventories in the field, Linda coordinated artifact inventories for the California State Park System to provide an accurate count and locations of mission museum collections.  She also worked very hard to secure outside funding for museum collections.

California Quail Image
California Quail

Robin Joy Wellman 
Robin Joy Wellman
State Park Interpreter
Russian River District

Robin planned a series of events for the Fort Ross State Historic Park Bicentennial Year Celebration - working with Russian diplomats, Native Americans, and others to tell the story of this icon of Russian-American history.

Special Act Award - Extraordinary Act of Heroism

Evan S. Walter, Ranger
Evan S. Walter
State Park Peace Officer/Ranger
Lake Oroville State Recreation Area
Northern Buttes District 

While off duty at a Chico shopping mall, Evan intervened when a 15-year-old male was being repeatedly stabbed by a suspected gang member.  Evan took the suspect into custody prior to other officers' arrival.  The victim survived the attack.

Ranger Walking Away image