Danny Crumley’s work at the Arkansas Forestry Commission in Batesville varies daily — presentations on forests to students at an area school, a battle against a forest fire, some maintenance work needed on equipment essential for forest management. His work as a forest ranger has been appreciated by his co-workers, and Crumley has the award to prove it.
On Dec. 13, he was named District 8 Employee of the Year for the Arkansas Forestry Commission.
District 8 of the Arkansas Forestry Commission covers Marion, Searcy, Baxter, Stone, Izard, Fulton, Sharp, Independence, Lawrence and Randolph counties.
Crumley has been a forest ranger in Batesville for 15 years.
“I’ve always lived here, but I used to work construction, and I worked for a company out of Dallas, Texas. I came back to Batesville and worked for Atlas Asphalt; then I got in as a forest ranger,” Crumley said.
Crumley said he had friends who worked in the forestry industry and thought it looked like fun.
“I had always wanted to do it. When I was laying asphalt, I thought this job would be easier, but I think I jumped out of the pan into the fire — literally,” Crumley said.
Kenny Smothers, forester for the Arkansas Forestry Commission in Batesville and Crumley’s supervisor, said Crumley’s job duties depend on what time of year it is.
“We do anything from forest management to fire protection, urban forestry, Smokey the Bear programs or doing mechanics,” Smothers said.
Crumley’s favorite part of his job is fighting wildfires.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” he said. “It’s an adrenaline rush.”
Crumley’s hard work in the field of forestry was what helped him snag the Employee of the Year award, Smothers said.
“There’s several things [Danny] has done this year that got him that award,” Smothers said. “If I need him to do something, he’ll do it, and you don’t necessarily have to tell him to do it — he just knows what to do. He’s always very willing to help anyone else in the district if they need help with mechanics or even with fires.”
Smothers said he nominated Crumley for the award, which was presented to Crumley at the Arkansas Farm Bureau building in Little Rock. He was honored along with another representative for District 8, as two employees from each district received an award.
“It’s an honor to get it, but I didn’t do anything that anybody else didn’t do,” Crumley said. “I’m proud to get it; don’t get me wrong.”
Crumley also does a certain amount of law enforcement in his job, Smothers said.
“If I was burning on my property and my fire got out and damaged another person’s property, [Danny] could write them a ticket,” Smothers said.
Crumley said he enjoys his time with the Arkansas Forestry Commission and looks forward to what his career has in store for him.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.