A Tribute to Volunteers - Thank You Jerry Hattan
Story by Kassie Bales, range management specialist, Buffalo field office, and Civil Rights Advisory Committee High Plains representative
It seems these days the work load continues to increase and there are only so many hours in the day to get that work load completed. Jerry Hattan is a very important asset to the Torrington field office. Whether it is a question about a pivot design, who owns which field, family histories, hydraulics or when the next home game is for the Torrington Trailblazers, Jerry generally has an answer that you never have to question. Jerry worked for the agency for 41 years and nine months when he decided to retire and became a dedicated Earth Team volunteer. He did the same job with the same precision he just volunteered his services to help the field office. Jerry is truly a remarkable man and a native of the Torrington area.
He was born in Torrington and raised on a farm and ranch at Veteran, Wyo. He graduated from Veteran High School and began attending classes at Goshen County Community College there in Torrington. After a family hardship he had to drop out in order to help out on the family farm. In 1962 he began work as a part-time employee for the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in the Torrington Work Unit. In 1965 he was brought on full time as an engineering technician in the SCS Casper state office. He was in Casper six years before transferring back to the Torrington area. He took night classes through multiple colleges and attained his associate’s degree. He then transferred to Laramie to attend the University of Wyoming through the SCS’ Upward Mobility Program where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. In 1982 Jerry became the East area irrigation water management specialist for NRCS but worked on projects across the great state of Wyoming. He would assist with projects through planning, designing and installation of the irrigation systems.
Jerry has received many awards over his many years of service but one of the highlighted awards was presented to him by the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts. He was awarded “Outstanding Technician of the Year” in addition to “Conservationist of the Year.” In 2006 Jerry decided to retire from the agency but didn’t stop there. He retired on a Friday and was back in the office as an Earth Team volunteer the following Tuesday since Monday was a holiday. He has been an Earth Team volunteer for seven years in the Torrington field office and continues to assist with irrigation expertise. He logged 8100 volunteer hours in his seven years of volunteering.
He assists with anything irrigation related and enjoys training the new employees who come to the Torrington office. Jerry also does work for the three conservation districts in Goshen County. He enjoys having coffee daily with the local farmer and ranchers. Many irrigation issues were solved at that coffee table.
When Jerry isn’t at the office working on irrigation projects he enjoys spending time with his family. He is married to Donna and enjoys family time with his three children and six grandchildren. He enjoys watching sporting events and is an active member in the Booster Club. He and his wife enjoy the home games and even travel to some of the games to support and watch the kids. He is a very active community member and doesn’t know a stranger. Jerry’s service to the agency has truly gone above and beyond and his wisdom of the area and irrigation is unrivaled to any. A very large thank you and gratitude is extended to Jerry for his work to conserve water for over 50 years and the wisdom he has shed on those that have had the privilege to work with him.