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Awards

Scientists Save a Life, Win DOI's Exemplary Act Award

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Jake Gregg, Nancy Elder, and Paul Hershberger
Above: (Left to right) Jake Gregg, Nancy Elder, and Paul Hershberger at the USGS Marrowstone Marine Field Station, overlooking the area where they rescued a boy who had been swept offshore by a rip current.

Last spring, a boy swept offshore in a rip current was rescued by biologists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Western Fisheries Research Center's Marrowstone Marine Field Station on Marrowstone Island (WA) at the northern entrance to Puget Sound. The employees who saved the boy—Nancy Elder, Jacob Gregg, and Paul Hershberger—were honored on October 13 at the Western Region Awards Ceremony, held in Menlo Park, CA, where they received the U.S. Department of the Interior's Exemplary Act Award. Nancy, Jake, and Paul were among several USGS Western Region employees who received Exemplary Act Awards, which recognize individuals for their prompt action in attempting to save the life of another without involving personal risk to the nominee. Here is their story, in an excerpt from the citation read by Western Regional Director Doug Buffington at the awards ceremony:

"On April 30, 2004, Nancy Elder mentioned to station chief Paul Hershberger that she had spotted children playing in the water in front of their laboratory. Soon after spotting the children, the staff heard screaming in the parking lot and immediately suspected that something was wrong. Paul ran out of his office and grabbed several life vests and float coats. At the northern point of the island, he saw a boy's head bobbing in the riptide, approximately 200 yards offshore, but realized that this was too far to throw a flotation device. Nancy immediately went to the wet lab to alert coworker Jake Gregg that they had an emergency. While Nancy called the 911 operator, who transferred her to the U.S. Coast Guard, Paul and Jake decided to perform a difficult launch of their boat from the beach next to the lab. This quick thinking resulted in the successful rescue of the boy, who, at the time he was pulled onboard, was being swept offshore well into the shipping lanes. The boy was slowly warmed with blankets to bring up his body temperature. Were it not for the quick thinking and decision making of the USGS laboratory staff, the ending of this near-tragic event would have been much different."


Related Web Sites
Western Fisheries Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Sediment Impacts on Reef Corals

Coastal Ground Water Discharge

Benthic Habitats Near Oil Platforms

Research Abundance and Distribution of Southern California Seabirds

Suspended Sediment, Turbidity, and Fish Feeding Behavior

USGS Monterey Bay Science Prototype

Outreach Woods Hole Science Center Participates in Open House

10 Years of Ask-A-Geologist

Awards Scientists Rescue Boy from Rip Current

USGS Biologists Receive DOI Honor Awards

Staff & Center News Oceanographer Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

Netherlands Students Assist USGS in Florida

USGS Represented in Parade

Publications Report on Hazards Offshore Ventura County

USGS Contributes to New Book About Point Loma

November Publications List


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