By Pat Jenkins
Tom Faubion isn’t the kind of guy to rest on his laurels.
He received the state Department of Natural Resources’ Volunteer Hero award Dec. 6 in Seattle. Two days later, he was out again on the horse trails in Elbe State Forest, continuing the work he’s been doing for 25 years to the state’s deep appreciation.
Faubion and others like him in DNR’s volunteer program “inspire the best in all of us,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Not only do their actions directly influence the success of the program, but their dedication and sense of service inspire those who have the opportunity to work with them.”
Faubion, a lawyer who lives in Kapowsin, and Bob Langley of Everett were chosen as the first recipients of the Volunteer Hero distinction. Nineteen people were nominated by the public for their sustained service, leadership, and commitment to helping the state maintain rereational land.
“It’s an honor to recognize Tom and Bob’s accomplishments,” said Goldmark, who presented each of the award winners a certificate and a jacket during a recreational leadership meeting.
Goldmark said Faubion’s dedication has made a positive impression on the land, resources and people.
Faubion returned the compliment. “DNR has been very supportive of all the volunteers and the work we do,” he said.
A member of the Backcountry Horsemen since the 1970s, Faubion and other club members have developed and maintained a horse trail system at Elbe Hills. Their combined thousands of volunteer hours have produced “the finest trailhead and trail system in Washington,” he said. “It’s a showplace for anyone wanting to see what can be done through the cooperation of volunteers and the state.”
DNR officials said Faubion is often one of the first to help clear trails of downed trees and debris after storms. On one of his most recent regular weekend visits to the trails, he packed in material for an interpretive center that volunteers are helping build.
Faubion is senior partner in the Lakewood law firm of Faubion, Reeder, Fraley and Cook. He once served as Municipal Court judge for Eatonville.
DNR picked Langley as a Volunteer Hero for his work on trails in Capitol State Forest, Tahuya State Forest, and Walker Valley. His efforts have included rerouting trails to protect streams and reopening them after storms.
In the first nine months of 2012, volunteers donatd more than 49,000 hours of labor statewide, according to DNR. Goldmark said their leadership and expertise enhances environmental protection, public safety and overall quality of life for fellow Washingtonians and users of state recreation land.
DNR manages about 3 million acres of state-owned trust lands for revenue to trust beneficiaries, including public schools and universities, as well as public services in several counties. The agency also manages approximately 2.6 million acres of aquatic area, including parts of Puget Sound. Goldmark is the elected head of the department.