News from the DNR Office of Communications

The Maryland Park Service Awards Four Employees For Saving 79-Year-Old-Man

Annapolis, Md. (October 21, 2009) — Four staff members from Point Lookout State Park received Maryland Park Service Valor Awards for their quick responses in taking action when a visitor suffered a life-threatening laceration at the park campground in August.

“Once again, we see why it is so important that our Maryland Park Rangers are trained as first responders,” said MPS Superintendent Nita Settina. “I’m very proud of the Rangers’ quick thinking and action, which helped to save a life.”

Park staff received an emergency call for an unknown injury at the park while handling an incident involving a tractor-trailer stuck in a ditch. The only word heard by responders was “man” before the call was lost.

Maryland Park Ranger David Best initiated a team response and rapidly located the victim at a campsite in the Hoffman area in the park.

Initial responders, Campground Host Ed Dugans and seasonal Park Ranger Joe Raley, found an unresponsive 79-year-old man sitting upright and bleeding profusely. The man, it appeared, had dropped a razor-sharp fillet knife, lacerating his lower right leg.

While Dugans and Ranger Raley worked to cut off the blood flow, seasonal employee George Gatton arrived with Ranger Best and began more extensive first aid. Park Rangers Bill Moffat and Cliff Puffenberger provided escort for responding Natural Resources Police Officers and the Ridge Volunteer Rescue Squad. The victim regained full consciousness and was transported to a near-by hospital.

The Maryland Park Service Valor Award is presented to those individuals who perform an extraordinary action which is attributable to saving a life, attempting to save a life, preventing or attempting to prevent property or resource loss, or involving public safety. The following individuals were presented with their awards by Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina October 1, at the Maryland Park Service Employee Field Day, held at Gunpowder Falls State Park in Baltimore County:

  • Maryland Park Ranger David Best (recently transferred to Deep Creek Lake State Park in Garrett County)
  • Seasonal Park Ranger Joe Raley of Ridge.
  • Seasonal Maintenance Technician George Gatton of Ridge.
  • Volunteer Campground Host Ed Dugans of Lusby.

   October 21, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at