Fish & Boat Commission Presents Inaugural Resource First Award, Other Annual Awards

As part of its quarterly business meeting Wednesday and Thursday, the Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) presented various awards to staff and partners.

Inaugural Resource First Award: Before the start of Wednesday evening’s trout seminar, Executive Director John Arway presented the agency’s inaugural Resource First Award to Rod Cross, a resident of Chambersburg, Franklin County. 

“Rod is committed to conservation ethics, youth education, habitat improvement, partnerships and, most of all, to the resource,” said Arway. “He has devoted his life to partnering with and leading conservation groups for the improvement and protection of natural resources—both for public recreation and the environment. The Commission is honored to recognize Rod and to present him with the inaugural Resource First award.”

During a seven-year term as president of Pennsylvania’s Falling Spring Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Mr. Cross helped to secure $1 million in grant money to overhaul four half-mile sections of Falling Spring Branch near Chambersburg, Franklin County. He has served as operations director for the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp in Boiling Springs, Cumberland County, for 16 years, and previously he helped found a TU chapter in western Pennsylvania.

In 2012, Rod was acknowledged for his conservation service and volunteerism by becoming one of Field & Stream’s selected finalists in its “Heroes of Conservation” national recognition program.

“Rod Cross is the kind of individual who keeps the outdoor sports alive and thriving for all us,” said Field & Stream Executive Editor Mike Toth. “Not only is he making Pennsylvania a better place for sportsmen now, he also is working to create and nurture more sportsmen for tomorrow.”

Among his many achievements, Rod is most proud of his leadership in operating the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp.

“The resource starts to make sense for these kids, and they get fired up about fishing and the health of the earth,” he said. 

At the start of Thursday’s formal business meeting, Director Arway presented several additional awards.

Lifesaving Award: Executive Director Arway presented a Lifesaving Award to PFBC employee Russell “Rusty” Rupp for heroic efforts. On June 11, 2012, Rusty assisted Pennsylvania State Police during a fatal accident in Penn Township, Cumberland County. Russell helped a man who had a severe arm injury, saving the man’s arm and his life. Through the turmoil of the accident, he took the initiative to help the injured. Rusty is a seasonal employee at the PFBC’s maintenance area in Lancaster County.

Dam Safety Award: The PFBC’s Engineering Section received the 2012 Northeast Regional Award of Merit from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO). The section includes PFBC employees Gerald Woomer, Jason Anderson, and Paul Urbanik and former employee Jack Rokavec. Each year the ASDSO selects one candidate from each of its four regions across the country to receive its Regional Award of Merit. ASDSO’s Northeast Region is comprised of 11 states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands. The award is given to individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, or other entities working in the dam safety field that have made outstanding contributions to dam safety on a regional level. The award was formally presented in September during the association’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado.

“Wave of Excellence” Award: In keeping with Executive Director Arway’s interest in recognizing a job well done, the PFBC in July created a new employee recognition award entitled the “Wave of Excellence.” The award allows employees to recognize other employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in performing their work or who have provided extraordinary customer service.

“I am pleased to announce that Teresa Erdman is the second recipient to receive the Wave of Excellence Award or the ‘WE’ Award,” Arway said. “Teresa was nominated by a fellow co-worker and the first recipient of the award, Amos Ferguson. Teresa is known to put ‘we’ - the PFBC - above ‘me.’” Teresa works in the Executive Office at the Harrisburg headquarters.

As winner of the “Wave of Excellence” Award, Teresa will be permitted to keep the award for six months before passing it on. The Pennsylvania brook trout sculpture is extremely unique and was specially designed by local artist Brad Gebhart. The base is made of blue river rock and is meant to simulate a brook trout swimming in water. 

Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Confluence Award: Linda and Bob Steiner are the recipients of the second Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Confluence Award. This award recognizes contributors to the magazine who have exhibited a long-term commitment to promoting recreational fishing or boating within the pages of the magazine and beyond.

Linda Steiner’s start as a contributor to Pennsylvania Angler predates Bob's. Her pen-and-ink drawing of a jumping trout was published in June 1972. Bob Steiner's first article for Pennsylvania Angler magazine was published in June 1973.  It was entitled, "When Johnny Came Marching Home" and was about a young Vietnam War veteran who returns home, but doesn't feel truly "home" until he goes wild brook trout fishing. Linda illustrated the article.

Bob and Linda co-authored "Once a year, every year, at Tidioute-Fishing is King," an article with photos about the "state champion" fishing contest, for the September 1976 issue. Linda's first single-author article, with illustrations, was "The Beginning Fly Tyer's Bane." It was published in the March 1979. Linda also wrote the Commission’s "Pennsylvania Fishes” book.

Bob started working for the Fish Commission in 1972, as a fish culturist in the salmon program, and in 1974 went into law enforcement. He contributed numerous "Notes from the Streams" during his tenure as a Waterways Conservation Officer.

Both Bob and Linda have received award recognition for their photos and their writing in the Pennsylvania Angler & Boater magazine, from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Association of America.


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