TULSA, Okla. -- The outstanding accomplishments in the area of water safety education by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper were recognized with the Commander's Certificate of Appreciation by the Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sept. 27.
District Commander Col. Michael Teague presented the award to OHP Marine Enforcement Section Trooper Tony Richardson for his leadership in support of safe boating and water safety throughout the state. The USACE credits Richardson's accomplishments with creating a safer outdoor recreation experience at Tulsa District lakes.
The nomination notes that Richardson has provided guidance, creativity, and direction to lake stakeholders and USACE staff in ways to improve safety and foster relationships among professionals within the water safety arena. Richardson also helped the Corps with creation of the "You Have Been Ticketed" campaign which rewards youngsters "caught" wearing a life jacket with a coupon for a Wendy's Frosty treat.
"We've got a great partnership with the Corps that has been successful," said Richardson. "The Corps is a great group of people I get to work with."
Richardson routinely works directly with Corps staff in organizing media campaigns and serving as a spokesperson for media interviews about boating and water safety. He also works with the Corps to organize special emphasis days to educate the public about boating and water safety.
"Trooper Richardson's accomplishments in creating a safer outdoor recreation environment have helped to create an outstanding experience for all visitors to our lakes in Oklahoma," said Teague. "His support and organizational efforts with the media and a variety of events throughout the state has educated thousands of individuals that commonly recreate at Corps lakes."
Richardson is the sole boating education instructor in the state, and he has personally taught the class to thousands of adults and children. It is noteworthy that of the individuals who have successfully completed the class, none has been involved in a boating accident to date.
"Hands-down he carries us as a safety educator," said Lt. Kurt McKean, Richardson's supervisor. "He can always be counted on and he always gives 110 percent."
The Department of the Army's Commander's Certificate of Appreciation recognizes outstanding public service by individuals or groups.