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DCNR Rangers’ Service Earns Governor’s Award for Excellence


​Harrisburg, PA -- Today, Governor Josh Shapiro will present Governor’s Awards for Excellence to three rangers with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for saving the lives of two people on separate occasions as part of their duties at Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County.

DCNR Rangers Steven Anderson, Alexander Dale, and Rachel Ann Oplinger were honored as an outstanding team for ensuring the safety of all visitors, and particularly for helping to rescue visitors with medical issues in two separate incidents in 2022.

“There are many facets to being a DCNR ranger -- each day in a park presents routine work as well as unique challenges and issues,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Teamwork, excellent communication, leadership, integrity, resiliency, problem solving abilities, and the quick thinking of Alexander, Rachel Ann, and Steven are some of many attributes that make them an outstanding team and great role models, dedicated to ensuring the safety of all visitors.”

In 2022, Gifford Pinchot rangers responded to more than 160 incidents. Two of them were unique.

Alexander, Rachel Ann, and Steven helped to find and save the life of a 92-year-old visitor who had a medical incident while hiking at the park.

The visitor had collapsed and was unconscious and hypothermic for hours. After recovery and rehabilitation, the visitor is back to his daily park visits and hiking routine.

The DCNR rangers saved the life of another park visitor experiencing a drug overdose. Due to their responsiveness and quick thinking, Narcan was administered, and the overdose was reversed.

“Without intervention, it is likely that the individuals rescued by the ranger team may have lost their lives,” Dunn said. “The honed observational skills, attention to detail, and knowledge of daily visitor routines enabled the staff to make decisions that ultimately ended in successful resolution of two very serious emergencies.”

There are many facets to being a DCNR ranger. Each day in a park presents routine work as well as unique challenges and issues.

Rangers have an ultimate goal of protecting park visitors and providing good customer service and memorable experiences.

The department has around 275 people who serve as ranger trainees, rangers, and supervisors.

Praising all state employees for their dedication at today’s ceremony, Governor Josh Shapiro presented awards to recognize 54 Commonwealth employees from eight state agencies for exemplary job performance or service that reflects initiative, leadership, innovation, and/or increased efficiency.

Learn more about their job duties in a short video celebrating DCNR rangers.

Find more information about Pennsylvania state parks and state forests on the DCNR website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Novak, 717-579-5177

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