Gift to MSU memorializes Forestry Commission employee


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Posted: 10/5/2001


A Mississippi Forestry Commission employee who died in the line of duty is being honored by a corporate gift to Mississippi State University's College of Forest Resources.

The $5,000 memorial gift in support of forestry education is part of Stihl Inc.'s 2001 National Forestry Heroism Award program honoring John Paul Pritchett Sr. of Webster County.

Pritchett is being recognized for extraordinary courage during a Webster wildfire in August 2000. The commission crew chief received fatal second- and third-degree burns when a sudden wind shift trapped him in what became a pine plantation inferno.

An international manufacturer of chain saws and other portable power tools based in Virginia Beach, Va., Stihl created the National Forestry Heroism Award in 1996 to honor the brave actions of individuals working in or devoting significant portions of their time to the forestry industry.

James Malone of Stihl Southwest will present the check Tuesday [Oct. 9] during the College of Forest Resources' annual advisory committee banquet. The event is being held at the Plymouth Bluff Convention Center near Columbus.

Pritchett's family earlier received from company representatives a plaque, a monetary gift, a MS 440 Magnum chain saw, and a trip to the STIHL Timbersports competition in Branson, Mo. In addition to the MSU gift, Stihl is donating to a charity of the family's choice.

"We deeply appreciate the gift Stihl is making to the College of Forest Resources," said CFR Dean Sam Foster. "These funds will be used to establish a scholarship in the college for majors in forestry, forest products or wildlife and fisheries."

Deans Office