The University of Maine at Presque Isle's Alumni Board of Directors announced this week that a chief ranger with the National Park Service has been named the recipient of its 2009 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.Neal Labrie, who serves as a Chief Ranger for the United States Department of the Interior's National Park Service at the Katmai National Park and Preserve in King Salmon, Alaska, will be presented with the Young Alumni Award during the University Day luncheon at Noon on Wednesday, April 8 in the Campus Center.
Labrie graduated from the University in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in Recreation and Leisure Services. His dedication to excellence has shown through in all of his achievements. After earning his degree at UMPI, Labrie attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and was named a distinguished graduate.
He then accepted a position as a Park Ranger at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pa. from 1997 to 1999 and as a Supervisory Park Ranger at Pinnacles National Monument in Paicines, Calif., from 1999 to 2003. In Philadelphia, Labrie was awarded the Silver Medal by the Federal Executive Board for outstanding law enforcement services during his first year. In California, he was awarded the Pinnacles National Monument Safety Award in 2001. From 2003 to 2007, he served as a Supervisory Park Ranger at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, where he received the Acadia National Park Employee of the Year award for his first year of work.
Now at Katmai National Park and Preserve, Labrie's duties include overseeing all emergency, law enforcement, and resource protection operations for more than 5 million acres of National Park Service lands.
His achievements are what prompted the Alumni Board of Directors to honor Labrie with this year's alumni award.
"Since his departure from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Neal has exemplified the goals and ideals that higher education seeks to instill in all who choose its path," Keith Madore, Director of Alumni Relations, said. "His career has been filled with inspiring achievements and if the past speaks for the future, the National Park Service will be well served by him for years to come. The University is proud to call Neal one of our own."
The Distinguished Recent Alumni Award is given to a graduate who has been out of college between 2-12 years and has distinguished himself or herself in his or her career or service to community. Past honorees include Scott Boucher '00, Andrew Murphy '94, Bryan Thompson '03, and Erika Valtinson ‘05. This is the fourth time the award will be presented during University Day, an event that heightens student awareness of the work being done by peers and how that work applies to service and the professional life of a community.