National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Paul Gleason Lead By Example Award

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Know any firefighters who are good mentors? Provide motivation or vision? Initiate or innovate? Now's the time for recognition by nominating them for the Lead by Example Award! (LBE Award nomination form)

The Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award is presented by the NWCG Leadership Committee to remember Paul Gleason's many contributions to the wildland fire community and recognize individuals or groups that exhibit the same spirit and dedication to leadership...those who lead by example. This national recognition will acknowledge those in the wildland fire service who exemplify the wildland fire leadership values and principles.

The Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award Program will:

  • Recognize actions associated with wildland fire;
  • Recognize actions within the last two years;
  • Recognize individuals or groups at all levels; and
  • Promote the wildland fire leadership values and principles.


Nomination Process

Nominations will be accepted in three categories:

  1. Mentoring and Teamwork: This award recognizes an individual or group for outstanding effort or accomplishment related to the wildland fire leadership principles of developing others for the future and building the team.
  2. Motivation and Vision: This award recognizes an individual or group for providing inspired vision and clear intent. This could be demonstrated by influencing others to achieve an exceptionally difficult mission or improve the organization.
  3. Initiative and Innovation: This award recognizes an individual or group for executing an outstanding initiative or innovation related to the implementation of the wildland fire leadership development program.

Evaluation of nominees will be based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of significant accomplishment in the stated category
  • Alignment with the wildland fire leadership values and principles
  • Scope of the accomplishment, considering available resources.

Evaluations will be accomplished through a five-member cadre that represent a cross-section of the wildland fire service.

Nominations must be received by December 31st. Selections will be made by January 31st. Awards will be presented in the spring. Presentations will be made by a Leadership Committee member at an appropriate venue for each recipient.

The Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award 2022 Winners: Coming Soon

What makes this award different from other firefighting awards?

This award was developed to recognize firefighters who lead by example and exemplify established wildland fire leadership values and principles. The values – Duty, Respect, Integrity – help guide the decisions and actions of each firefighter, especially those in leadership roles. The 11 leadership principles provide the specific actions leaders should take in order to demonstrate the core values. Principles such as “Know Yourself and Seek Improvement,” and “Make sound and timely decisions,” issue sound marching orders for firefighters, whether they are striving to become leaders or already fill a leadership role.

How do I nominate someone for an award?

First, you must choose the category under which your nominee will fall. The categories include 1) Mentoring and Teamwork; 2) Motivation and Vision; and 3) Initiative and Innovation. Second, you must write the nomination using the following criteria: 1) demonstration of significant accomplishment in the stated category; 2) alignment with the wildland fire leadership values and principles; and 3) scope of accomplishment, considering available resources. The award must be submitted by December 31, and include the name and unit of nominee, and name and unit of person submitting the nomination, as well as other important information.

How are the winners chosen?

Winners are chosen by January 31 each year by a panel consisting of people from the wildland firefighting community. Awards are presented the following spring.

Do the nominees have to be federal employees?

No, nominees can be employees of state, tribal or local firefighting organizations. The important point is that they are setting the example for leadership in the wildland firefighting community.

Can I nominate a group of individuals?

Yes, nominees may be individuals or groups. The same categories and criteria apply for both.

Who is Paul Gleason?

In short, Paul Gleason was a leader. Paul succumbed to cancer in 2003 following a wildland fire career that spanned several decades. During his career Paul led and mentored firefighters, he studied and taught wildland fire, and through his contributions to the wildland fire community, improved firefighter safety. Paul developed the LCES (Lookout, Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones) concept that became the foundation of firefighter safety. When asked what he would like his legacy in fire to be, Paul said this: "I suppose I would want my legacy to be that firefighters begin to realize the importance of being a student of fire and that I was able to help make that happen."

Year Recipients
  • Barbara “Bea” Day
  • Jason Kuiken
  • Greg Smith
  • Grassroots Wildland Firefighters
  • Eric Bush
  • Jeremy McIntosh
  • Training and Training Support, Tucson, AZ
  • Brendan Fennigan
  • Josh Acosta
  • Paul Petersen
  • Robert "Zeke" Ziel
  • Steven Hubner
  • Kim Lightley
  • Peter Barry
  • Boise BLM Helitack
  • Kim Kelly
  • Hector Madrid
  • Chris Henry
  • Matt Jolly
  • Larry Bradshaw
  • Diego Mendiola
  • Debbie Myers
  • Dan Cottrell
  • Scott Anderson
  • George Risko
  • South Puget Sound Region, Washington Department of Natural Resources
  • Jerry Ingersoll
  • Justin Vernon
  • Tommy Hayes
  • Rowdy Muir
  • Kevin Donham
  • Kip Gray
  • Eric Hipke
  • Alex Robertson
  • Bryan Sholz
  • Paul Cerda
  • Wally Ochoa
  • Chad Fisher
  • Dr Carl Seielstad
  • Jim Shultz
  • Palomar Interagency Hotshot Crew
  • Anthony Escobar
  • John Lauer
  • Shane Olpin​
  • Travis Dotson
  • Tony Doty
  • Patrick Lookabaugh
  • Ralph Thomas
  • Jason Fallon
  • North Zone Fire Management
  • Thomas Taylor
  • Dennis Baldridge
  • Stan Stewart
  • Pete Glover
  • Steve Holdsambeck
  • Kathy Komatz
  • Rich Dolphin
  • Bequi Livingston
  • Cyndie Hogg
  • Gary Hawkins
  • John "JP" Harris
  • James Barnier
  • George Weldon
  • Jerome McDonald
  • Larry Sutton
  • Brad Mayhew
  • Chris Wilcox
  • Fire Management Division, Winnemucca Field Office
  • Tom Boatner
  • Texas Forest Service
  • BDF Engine 57 Family Support Staff
  • Jack Kirkendall
  • LJ Brown
  • Pete Gordon
  • Brit Rosso
  • Fire Operations Staff, Vale District BLM
  • Pam McDonald
  • Bill Waln
  • Paul Chamberlin
  • Daria Day
  • Jon Larson
  • Mid-Plains Interagency Handcrew, Crew Bosses
  • Karl Brauneis
  • Jim Cook
  • Dave Koch
  • Mark Linane
  • Bill Miller
  • Dan Kleinman
  • Curtis Heaton
  • Mike Bland

On April 27, 2005, the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program awarded the first ever Paul Gleason Lead By Example Award - for Lifetime Achievement to Ted Putnam, PhD.  Read Ted Putnam's Lead by Example Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2010, Bud Moore's family received a LBE Lifetime Achievement Award in sincere appreciation and reverence for Bud's service and example. Read Bud Moore's Lead by Example Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2019, the NWCG Leadership Committee awarded Jim Karels a Paul Gleason Lead by Example Lifetime Achievement Award in sincere appreciation for his service and leadership example. Read more about Jim Karels' years of service.




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