Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ACA Staff Member Kelsey Bracewell Wins Safety & Rescue Award

By Woodie L. Walker, Community Conservationist at Friends of the Rappahannock

Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) presents its Safety & Rescue Award each May at our annual members meeting. On May 16, Kelsey Bracewell from the ACA received our 2015 award for work she performed during the past year. 

This award was established in 1987 by the late Dr. Robert Wheeler, a Fredericksburg physician and longtime FOR supporter. Past recipients include ACA's Chris Stec, who won the award in 2010, and folks involved with our local emergency response teams.

The intent of the award is to recognize those who make our river safer for water sports enthusiasts - area paddlers and boarders. Bill Micks, FOR founder and owner of the Virginia Outdoor Center, nominated Kelsey for this award, which was agreed upon unanimously by our staff. In addition to her ACA duties, in May 2015 Kelsey and Chris teamed up for FOR's annual whitewater rescue training for our staff and volunteers. This is a full-day training that is essential for us - we lead many trips on the river and also run summer camps for children, who spend a lot of time in the water. Kelsey and Chris provided this same training again this May.

Kelsey has just the right vibe to make our training very informative, and also enjoyable. She combines technical expertise with a friendly attitude that puts attendees at ease. I like the way she stresses hands-on training. She talks us through the exercise, then has us show we can perform the maneuver.

I've known Kelsey for almost three years, and it was a real treat to be the guy handing her the framed award certificate the other night. I am proud to be part of a team that recognizes her work to make this river a safer place for all of us.

Congrats, Kelsey!

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