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State park ranger receives Governor’s Ambassador Award

James Burke rewarded for reviving state park guest

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2014) – James Burke, a Kentucky State Park ranger in eastern Kentucky, received a Governor’s Ambassador Award for courage on Oct. 8 for his role in reviving a guest who fell ill at the park this summer.

James BurkeBurke responded to a call July 6 about a possible heart attack victim at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg and administered CPR until emergency medical service personnel arrived and took the man to the hospital. Burke was credited with stabilizing the guest so that he could get to the hospital. The guest died three days later.

“Ranger Burke is an exemplary example of a state employee’s unselfish public service to those persons who visit and are guests of the Kentucky Department of Parks,” Col. Joe West, director of the ranger division for the state parks, wrote in his nomination.

Burke has been a state park ranger for three years and works along the Dawkins Line Rail Trail near Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. He previously served as a law enforcement officer in Beaver Dam, Hartford, Johnson County and Paintsville. He was also the police chief in Beaver Dam. He is a native of Johnson County.

Created in 2008, the Governor’s Ambassador Awards were established to highlight stories of employees who have made a positive impact on their co-workers, customers or community. Nominations for the awards are accepted throughout the year in six categories: customer service, courage, leadership, professional achievement, teamwork, or community service and volunteerism. The 2014 awards generated nominations involving nearly 200 employees.