is presented award
Joseph O’Neill, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Outdoor Recreation Planner from Cottonwood, ID was recently presented the 2009 Resource Management Agency Award by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association (IOGA). O’Neill was recognized by the IOGA for his contribution to enhance communications, understanding and cooperation with individual outfitters and the Idaho outfitting and guiding industry. The award was presented during the noon luncheon at the annual IOGA meeting held at the Red Lion Hotel in Boise, ID.
Since 1988, the IOGA annually recognizes a state or federal resource management agency employee who exemplifies communication, trust and building positive relationships with the outfitting and guiding industry through their work as a resource manager. According to Grant Simonds, Executive Director for the IOGA, “Our industry is heavily regulated by both the state and federal government. It is imperative that we consistently work on building positive relationships.”
Simonds noted that O’Neill was selected as the 2009 recipient for his efforts to create great working relationships with the Special Recreation Permit holders. During the awards ceremony, Simonds referenced an incident on the Lower Salmon River where O’Neill was instrumental in helping a local outfitter. According to Jerry Hughes of Hughes River Expeditions, one of their guides had a medical emergency and needed to be evacuated from the river. The guides called Hughes using a satellite phone and requested a Life Flight evacuation but, due to a powerful thunderstorm, such an evacuation was not possible so Jerry Hughes called Joe O’Neill for assistance. Hughes stated, “My wife and I called Joe at home that evening and were amazed at how quickly he was able to arrange a jetboat to meet us. We met Joe and an Idaho Fish and Game jetboat operator on the river at dawn. At that time I replaced my injured guide and continued down river with the float trip while Joe accompanied the injured guide and my wife back to the launch site where they met the ambulance and EMT’s [that Joe arranged]. Joe stayed with them until our guide in the Syringa Hospital at Grangeville.”
Hughes expressed his appreciation for the extra efforts that O’Neill took in this situation, “Our injured guide needed medical assistance and Joe went well out of his way in this situation. We appreciate everything he did and the cheerful, helpful demeanor he displayed throughout the event.”