2018 Finalists

Congratulations to all our finalists below!

City of Sidney

Justin Aselage

City of Sidney, Parks and Recreation Department, Ohio

Ranger Justin Aselage started working for the Sidney Parks and Recreation Department in June of 2013 and within just a few months after his instruction with a Sidney Police training officer, apprehended a bank robber. While that is impressive for someone with such little service time, he has been an even bigger asset to the city as a ranger in the parks.

Justin is interactive with the citizens in the over 450 acres of park land and we receive compliments often about his demeanor, even when he is writing a warning or ticket. He is a public relation star for the parks department and the city of Sidney. He interacts with children throughout the year by being a part of the city's recreation programs. He has implemented a nature walk program for kids in the summer, met with grade schools and provided the educational experience for busloads of students.

During the recent 70th Anniversary celebration for the 220-acre nature preserve called Tawawa Park, he offered a nature walk to those that came out to the celebration. Notes from educators are sent in to the department thanking him for his time and patience with the young children and comment how interactive he is with the kids.

Justin also assists the Sidney Police department with parade details, backups to domestic incidents and has been the lead on several pursuits in the city. The road patrol officers appreciate his readiness to assist them in what is many times a caustic situation. Justin is ready to assist wherever he can. While the city parks are still open during the winter months, the cold weather obviously reduces the number of park patrons. Ranger Aselage takes off his uniform during this time and assists with maintenance in the department. From pouring concrete, installing play equipment, plowing snow and taking the lead with the parks department's Ash tree remediation program, Justin is willing to assist wherever he can.

Under his leadership, park staff and contractors have removed over 1000 Ash trees in the parks that died due to the Emerald Ash Borer. While on patrol during the summer months, Justin completes a triage in the parks and prioritizes which trees need to be removed first for safety reasons. He then determines which trees will be removed by parks staff and which are to be felled by a contracted certified arborist. He works closely with the contractor and staff to make sure the removals are done in a safe and timely manner

In closing, Ranger Justin Aselage has made his mark in the department and the community with his open personality, love of children and nature and his work ethic.

three island parks

Jamie Bigsby

Three Island Crossing State Park, Idaho

Jamie Bigsby is the hardest working and most dedicated park ranger imaginable. It is truly a pleasure and a privilege to work with her. Whether it be the most disgusting mess or most challenging mechanical repair, there is not a job she won’t tackle. She is skilled and experienced in many more areas than her principal accountabilities as park ranger. She’s owned a concrete business and even been a helideck firefighter. Jamie can certainly be depicted as a present-day Amelia Earhart, and she goes the extra mile to take care of our 134,000+ annual visitors.

Jamie is involved in the community and any co-sponsored activity from beginning to end. She is an integral part in the planning and implementation of all the numerous annual events. She works on her days off, and even stays late in the evenings to attend every meeting leading up to every event. Once, we had a last-minute request to host a guest speaker and plan an impromptu interpretive program on night sky viewing for our customers. Jamie actually spent the night in her car to ensure the speaker had a ride to and from the airport and around town for supper and anything else he might need before, during and after the late-night program.

She cares deeply about her peers and subordinates as well as the public she serves. Jamie works a long ten-hour day, often working right through her lunch break, then depending on the traffic and roads, drives at least an hour home each night. Everyone she encounters, supervises, and works with, immediately recognizes and respects her completely for her commitment to excellence. Jamie can always be relied upon to know the names of all the plants and animals in the park. Her heart is the size of Texas and her personality is as sweet as honey.

She will rescue every critter that crosses her path including spiders, whether they’re poisonous or not. Once, a patron reported a bird hooked with fishing line in a tree overhanging the river. Jamie rushed to its rescue. It was hooked in two places and dangling from a tree branch. One hook went through the tip of its wing and was wound tightly around it and the other was right through the middle of the wing. The fishing line was cut and while in transport it got away and flew to a nearby tree. Jamie was broken hearted and tried desperately to catch it again because the hooks were still in its wing. She had to be convinced to come away and ensured that it had a much better chance to live than it had before. Jamie vowed to keep an eye out for the little American Robin in hopes that she would have another chance to remove the hooks.

Jamie goes about her day so very quietly and humbly, constantly moving about her business all the whilst touching many hearts and lives and never knowing how truly amazing and special she is.

michigan state parks

Paul Kline

Ludington State Park, Michigan

As the lead ranger for one of Michigan’s busiest state parks, Paul Kline takes on several roles. He is the park’s Safety Officer, leading regular staff safety trainings and ensuring staff are working safely. He is the park’s licensed Herbicide Applicator, working with park volunteers and service crews to treat invasive species in the park. As a very accomplished sawyer, he is responsible for conducting yearly hazardous tree surveys and removing problem trees.

He has used his woodworking skills to create custom maple cabinets for the park’s interpretive displays and aquariums and to build beautiful maple chairs for the park’s historic, CCC built beach house, using original CCC plans. Many of his projects will live on long after he leaves park service. This is in addition to conducting routine maintenance, customer service and law enforcement duties.

However, it is Paul’s contributions to the Michigan State Park system, above and beyond his park-specific responsibilities, that cause him to really stand out. Throughout the Cadillac District of Michigan State Parks, of which twelve other facilities are included, he trains park rangers in proper and safe chainsaw and aerial lift use, as well as in safe tree felling.

Annually, at the Michigan State Park Ranger and Law Academy, he volunteers to lead new rangers through the CPR and First Aid training and assists with emergency response scenarios. Paul is always quick to volunteer to assist at other facilities that need a hand. This past season, he assisted with downed tree removal at Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater, MI, after the park was hit with 80 mph winds that toppled trees throughout their park, just prior to Labor Day. Previously, he volunteered to be stationed at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, for multiple weeks, to assist with tree removal and clean-up.

Paul is also the district’s Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). As CPSI, Paul has audited the district’s existing playgrounds, providing recommendations for improvements and repairs to ensure they are safe for users. He was integral in making sure that Ludington State Park’s new playground met industry safety standards and led this community build project. He is currently providing guidance to staff at Leelanau State Park as they navigate their community build playground project.

It isn’t just the work that Paul accomplishes that makes him stand out, it is also his willingness to help with the positive development of his co-workers. He is always willing to provide guidance and support when needed. He makes sure that his co-workers know that they are valued. For the seven years he has worked here, he has cooked lunch for staff on the Fourth of July, every year, whether he’s working or not. It is this dedication, in addition to his contributions to Ludington State Park and the entire Michigan State Park system that make him well deserving of the ServiceWear Apparel Park Ranger of the Year Award.