Update on Paul Gleason Wildland Fire Scholarship
Colorado State University, Warner College of Natural Resources
Department of Forestry and Rangeland Stewardship
Since the scholarship was established, not a year has gone by without gifts being made in Paul’s memory, to continue educating his “Students of Fire.” These gifts have so far provided ten stipends, thanks to more than 66 individuals and groups from California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
Ken and Sheila Till stepped forward in 2010 and again in 2011 with generous commitments to a future
endowment of the scholarship through their estate, which is expected to generate enough income to cover full-time CSU tuition for one firefighter every year.
In the meantime, however, the annual awards will end once all funds are spent, unless additional donations are enough to establish a self-sustaining endowment. To donate, go to http://warnercnr.colostate.edu/paul-gleason-scholarship.
Paul Gleason Scholarship Winners, 2005 - 20152005-2006
Stephanie McKee / Earned B.S. in fire ecology, May 2008
Environmental coordinator, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, 2010-present
Michele Mavor / Earned M.S. in natural resource stewardship, forest sciences, May 2009
Fire ecologist/fuels specialist, BLM, Pocatello, Idaho, 2012-present.
Mark Pieper / Earned B.S. in forestry; minor in watershed science, December 2007
Type 1 wildland firefighter; works as a technical fire photographer.
2008-2009 / All gifts are invested in pending endowment; no scholarship awarded.
2009-2010 / All gifts are invested in pending endowment; no scholarship awarded. CSU Foundation extends pending endowment until 2010, when funds are divested.
Mark Herrington / Earned B.S. in forestry; concentration in fire science, May 2012
Type 1 firefighter/EMT, Bearlodge Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest , Wyoming
Lora Trout / Earned B.S. in forestry; concentration in fire science, December 2013
Type 2 wildland firefighter on a wildland engine crew in Colorado.
Wesley Tulli / Working on B.S. in natural resource management, with a minor in ecological restoration. Former firefighter, plans to work with local government to provide clean and sustainable lifestyles for Colorado residents. Hopes to someday make a national and even global impact.
Robert Ryland / Earned B.S. in forestry; concentration in fire science, December 2013
Type 2 wildland firefighter on BLM Green River engine crew, Vernal, Utah.
Working on becoming Type 1 firefighter; Type 5 incident commander.
Working toward B.S. in forestry; concentration in fire science.
Type 2 wildland firefighter with chain saw certification. Plans to join his family in management of the Trinchera Ranch, the largest private conservation easement in Colorado.
Zackary Smith / Working toward a B.S. in forestry; concentration in fire science.
($1,000 award will be provided in Fall 2014)
Stephanie McKee, environmental scientist, was the first scholarship winner. After graduating, she worked for the U.S. Forest Service (USFFS) in central Washington, then advanced to become an environmental coordinator in Northern California. She was chosen to begin the USFS Middle Leader Program in November 2014.
The second scholarship winner, Michele (Shelli) Mavor, met Paul during her second season as a firefighter in 2000. Shelli worked full time as a USFS engine captain while in college, and spent a total of 13 years on a fire crew before becoming a fire ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in eastern Idaho. She wrote:
“Meeting Paul at a fire refresher was incredibly influential. I listened closely to his words during his presentation (overview of the Dude Fire) and spoke with him afterward. He was a humble man and instilled in me early on that every situation is a learning situation, whether good or bad. Throughout my time in fire, I used every situation available as a teaching or learning moment for myself and crews. I would even decline single-resource overhead assignments to stay with my crews to allow them growing opportunities. I hope my career to this point would have impressed Paul. I make every attempt to give back to the fire community and those affected by fires.” She added: “I feel blessed to be in my current position, using both my fire background and my education. The scholarship in Paul's name helped make all this possible! I will never be able to express the amount of my appreciation!!”
Mark Pieper, smokejumper/photographer - Mark (in photo at left) has fought fire for 12 seasons, since 2002, on handcrews, on an engine crew, as a hotshot, and as a smokejumper in Missoula, Mont. After graduating, traveling the world, and honing his skills as a still photographer, he now contributes to fire research and testing in the field as a technical documentary filmmaker for the Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC), and has also supported the Missoula Fire Lab. He is currently working on his task force leader qualification, while supporting research that will help firefighters. He is thankful for the Gleason Scholarship that supported his interest in fire science.
“From a safety standpoint, it’s helpful in fire research to have scientists who are fully line-qualified,” he said.
Mark Herrington, wildland firefighter/ EMT - “I’m so grateful that because of the financial help I got through college, I’m not having to pay back any school loans now,” says Mark (in photo at right), a seasonal senior firefighter on a USFS handcrew, working on engine boss and crew boss qualifications. “There are many current and future firefighters who greatly appreciate the scholarship program.” A certified emergency medical technician since 2008, he returns home in the off-season to Livermore, Colo., to serve at the local volunteer fire department.
Lora Trout, wildland firefighter, says, “Life is good!” She is busy and happy after earning a degree.
Wesley Tulli, student, wrote: “The Gleason Scholarship has lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school: learning. Without such generosity, the number of successful students achieving their dreams would be much lower. This generosity brings further inspiration in me to do the same for others and, with my success, I pledge to pay this deed forward and help those with strong desire, but who lack financial support, to achieve the goals they have set out to accomplish.”
Zackary Smith, the 2014-2015 scholarship winner, writes: “I greatly appreciate the scholarship providing me with an opportunity to continue my education. The money I was awarded will allow me to finish school by May 2015. I will be the first person in my family to complete a college degree. I appreciate the opportunity and consider this an investment in me and I am determined to continue to do my best.”