Coronado National Forest employee honored for service to community

Art Elik, posing for a picture with Smokey Bear at the Nogales Ranger District Station on the Coronado National Forest. Forest Service photo.

Nogales Ranger District employee Art Elek was among 15 public safety officers from Santa Cruz County, Arizona, honored during a banquet June 9 sponsored by the Nogales Rotary Club.

Elek, a fire prevention technician, was honored at the Fourth Annual Public Safety Officers Awards Dinner in Nogales, Arizona. He was recognized for his successful efforts to partner with Tucson Electric Power Company to install a number of fire danger rating signs around the ranger district, including a Smokey Bear fire danger sign at the Nogales Ranger District Office. The signs call attention to the need to be careful with fire, and raise awareness that fire season is a year-round occurrence on the Coronado National Forest.

Elek was also recognized for collaborating with Santa Cruz County officials to install a water fountain on a walking trail near Coatimundi Drive in Rio Rico, Arizona, where summer temperatures frequently exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The fountain provides what could be life-saving water to under-prepared walkers on the trail.

“Our public safety officers and their organizations are devoted and trained to keep the peace,” said event chair Robert Astengo. “We are privileged and honored to recognize 15 public safety officers who are dedicated to protecting our well-being and making our community, Santa Cruz County, a safe and beautiful place to call home.”

Elek is a strong promoter of fire prevention and safety, and avidly attends school events. Setting an example for fellow employees, he exemplifies putting service above self.