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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: August 7, 1997

Public Service Recognition Award

Helen V. Turner, an employee of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, La. has received a public service recognition award from the Survey for her contributions to the workplace and the community.

One of only 11 people nationwide to receive the award, Turner will be honored at ceremonies in Reston, Va. in October. According to Dr. Robert E. Stewart, Jr., center director, the award is for employees whose enthusiasm for their jobs and contributions to public service show the best in public employment. "It is meant to honor the unsung heros and heroines of the public service and to show the contributions that federal employees make each day," he said.

The nomination for the award stated, "Helen Turner's position description says she is a secretary, but we all know she is really the heart and soul of the National Wetlands Research Center's Technical Support Office." Turner was nominated for her ability, enthusiasm, and commitment in performing outreach and community activities, learning more about wetlands, building employee morale, and attending to the needs of fellow employees.

For example, each year Turner coordinates 30 volunteers for the Audubon Institute's 2-day Earth Fest in New Orleans, and represents the center at Earth Day celebrations in Baton Rouge and Alexandria, La. She spends many workdays and weekends tending exhibits at science and information conventions, often accompanied by her husband Wesley, who is an official NWRC volunteer.

Because of these volunteer efforts, Turner is active in organizations such as the Gulf of Mexico Program's Public Information and Education Committee, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and the Louisiana Urban Forestry Council.

Turner takes slide shows to elementary schools and helps give tours at the center, particularly for French speaking visitors for whom she translates.

In the community, she is active in the Combined Federal Campaign and the United Way of Acadiana as well as the March of Dimes. She assisted former U.S. Representative Jimmy Hayes' office in coordinating the memorial services and monument sponsored by Federal employees in Lafayette for the Oklahoma City bombing victims.

Turner is a founding member and officer in the Center's employee organization and is active in coordinating holiday functions. She is also a member of the recycling committee.

She helps out in special events such as safe driving campaigns, women's history month, and Acadiana Migratory Bird Day.

According to Gaye Farris, Turner's supervisor, "Helen is always there to help us with both business and personal problems. If you're new in town, Helen will give you advice, directions, or sympathy in finding everything from an apartment to a dentist. During time of crisis, especially when we lost someone in the field, her many large and small acts of kindness helped a grieving staff."

Farris added, "Most of all she has the joie de vivre of the Lafayette people, making coming to work a pleasure for us all."

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