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Randall East Receives 06 Jerry Johnson Award

Randal East, Resource Engineer, receives the 2006 Jerry L. Johnson Award

Randall East, Resource Engineer, Grove Hill, Alabama, was recently honored as the 2006 recipient of the Jerry L. Johnson Award awarded for excellence in public service through family, employment, profession, and community. East was selected for his contributions to community through volunteer work and church activities, as well as exemplifying the highest standards of work ethics as an NRCS employee. The award carries a stipend of $1,000 which is donated in the recipient’s honor. A one-of-a-kind wood carving was given to Randall as a token of appreciation.

East has been active in service to the community of Thomasville, Alabama, since moving there in 1987. He was named Citizen of the Year for 2004 for his service to his family and community. He has served as soccer, baseball, and basketball coach in the city leagues. He is active in Boy Scouts where he served a Cub master for Pack 51, chartered by Thomasville Methodist Church, from 1991 through 2001. In 2002, along with Pineview Baptist Church, he started Troop 76 where he currently serves as Scoutmaster. East was privileged to work with his son Christopher as he earned the Eagle Scout Award and 66 merit badges.

Baseball is another community activity which he supports. He is a multi-year sponsor of Thomasville Winter Baseball Clinic. Each year this clinic provides instruction to youth from Thomasville and the surrounding areas from major and minor league players. He built and maintains a web site on Clarke County Baseball and local history.

East is co-founder of the Kingdom Builders of Clarke County. This organization of volunteers make much needed repairs on houses. Since its inception in 1998, Clarke County Kingdom Builders has improved the living conditions of over 150 residents of Thomasville and Clarke County. They serve others by helping keep their neighbors safe, warm, and dry. Improvements have included wheelchair ramps, roofs, porches, steps, and floors. The organization also maintains a mobile home in Jackson, Alabama, used for temporary housing for victims of fire or natural disasters.

East retired from the Alabama Army National Guard in 2006 after 20 years of service. He is a Retired Officer of the 877th Engineering Battalion (Combat)(Heavy), Alabama Army National Guard. He also served in the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps and Seabees prior to transfer to the Alabama Army National Guard in 1991. He served in Panama, Dominican Republic, and Egypt in various assignments and has been decorated with the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal.

East is an active member of the Pineview Baptist Church and has served in several leadership capacities including Deacon and Sunday School teacher. He has been on several mission trips with the Washington County Baptist Association.

Professionally, East has been active in the Alabama Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. He has received several awards for his work as an NRCS employee, including awards for assistance with Emergency Watershed Protection program following floods that affected southwest Alabama.

In recent years, East was diagnosed with a rare skin disease Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris that has ravaged his health, but not his spirit. He continues to serve his fellow man through his own suffering with this disease. His dedicated spirit and “no quit” attitude has been an inspiration to those around him.

John Richburg, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations-West Team and East’s supervisor, extols East’s work ethic and commitment to excellence. “Many people would have used their disease to find a way to retire or to get others to help them, but Randall continues to volunteer to help others as much as he ever has. His commitment to the mission of NRCS is outstanding. NRCS and I could not have handled the increased workload associated with hurricanes Ivan and Katrina had it not been for Randall,” says Richburg.

Much like Jerry Johnson, for whom the award is named, Randall East is the type of involved, dedicated NRCS employee that represents the intent and legacy of The Jerry Johnson Award.

Jerry Johnson, deceased Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Forester in Alabama, served conservation in Alabama and exemplified characteristics such as initiative, vision, unselfishness, teamwork, enthusiasm, discipline, confidence, and faithfulness. With funding from the Bradley/Murphy Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Trust, which Johnson worked with for many years, Alabama NRCS established an award in his honor. All NRCS employees in Alabama are eligible to be nominated for the award.