July 15, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Forestry: Union Democrat: Ghana RPCV Jerry Perez completes first year as deputy supervisor for Stanislaus National Forest

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ghana: Peace Corps Ghana : The Peace Corps in Ghana: July 15, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Forestry: Union Democrat: Ghana RPCV Jerry Perez completes first year as deputy supervisor for Stanislaus National Forest

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-22-73.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.22.73) on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 6:49 pm: Edit Post

Ghana RPCV Jerry Perez completes first year as deputy supervisor for Stanislaus National Forest

Ghana RPCV Jerry Perez completes first year as deputy supervisor for Stanislaus National Forest

Ghana RPCV Jerry Perez completes first year as deputy supervisor for Stanislaus National Forest

New forest official enjoys job

Published: July 15, 2004

1By GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER

In his first year as deputy supervisor for Stanislaus National Forest, Jerry Perez will also earn his law degree in his spare time.

"The law is such a major part of our lives," said Perez, 43. "I always figured it wouldn't hurt me."

Rather than actually practice law, Perez said he plans to stay with the Forest Service, where he expects his legal studies will help him decipher lawsuits and other legal issues facing the forest.

Perez started his new job at the Stanislaus forest supervisor's office in Sonora about six weeks ago. From Washington D.C., he replaces Glenn Gottschall, who retired in January after 15 years. As second in command, Perez will help Stanislaus Supervisor Tom Quinn lead the forest.

Perez has worked with the Forest Service on and off for almost two decades.

While he spent many of his early years in the field, fighting fire and planting trees, the past four years in the beltway left Perez longing for the West's open space.

"You begin to wonder, what's the quality of life," he said, noting that the 90-minute commute he once faced has been cut to a 15-minute drive from Columbia to the forest supervisor's office.

With Yosemite National Park next door and wine tasting rooms throughout the foothills, Perez said he knew he made the right choice. An avid hiker, fisherman, golfer, bicyclist and telemark skier, he looks forward to pursuing all his varying interests.

"It felt really good coming up over Sonora Pass," Perez said, of the grand finale to the cross-country drive he and his wife, Rita, made to reach their new home.

Perez grew up outside New York City and attended West Virginia University, where he graduated with a degree in forest resources management in 1985.

That summer Perez volunteered with the Forest Service in Colorado, on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a forest ranger.

After several temporary assignments with the Forest Service, Perez headed to Ghana, Africa with the Peace Corps.

There he established a community nursery and met his wife, who was also serving in the Peace Corps. The couple have been married for 10 years.

After he returned to the states, Perez served the Forest Service again in Vermont, first as the Rochester Ranger District as a forester and then as the National Environmental Policy Act coordinator.

He also served as a public affairs specialist and writer working in Walla Walla, Wash. and provided guidance on litigation to 17 national forests from his office in Milwaukee, Wis.

For the past four years in D.C., Perez worked as a litigation coordinator, acting as liaison between Forest Service headquarters and regional offices on legal matters.

In the meantime, Rita worked her way up the medical profession and eventually ended up in administration, writing grant proposals for biomedical research. Now she may go back to school or find similar work here.

Perez's diverse experience is why he was tapped for the Stanislaus deputy supervisor spot, forest officials said.

The new second-in-charge said he looks forward to learning all he can from foothill residents, Supervisor Tom Quinn and the rest of the Stanislaus staff. He expects to learn a lot from the regional office in Vallejo as well.

Perez' goal is to eventually earn a spot as a national forest supervisor somewhere in the country, so he sees this job as the perfect preparation.

So far, he has made a good impression in the Stanislaus' head office.

"Jerry has hit the ground running," Quinn said. "He has seized several challenging assignments and has already taken a leadership role in resolving some very sensitive issues. Although it's impossible to replace the wisdom and years of experience Glenn Gottschall provided, I feel very fortunate to have gained a deputy of Jerry Perez's caliber."

In his spare time, Perez said he follows his hometown New York Mets and adopted Oakland A's when not on forest trails or studying for law classes he takes at night at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Perez expects to graduate in May from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. His classes in Sacramento will transfer to complete the required coursework.

When living in D.C., Perez said he left home at 6 a.m. and didn't return until 11 p.m. four days during the week. His weekends were mostly spent studying.

"My wife's been very patient," Perez said.

With a focus on elder law, Perez said he wants to defend senior citizens from elder abuse when he retires from the Forest Service.

But he's not in a hurry to leave yet.

Instead, he said, "I'm looking forward to slowing down."




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Story Source: Union Democrat

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ghana; Forestry

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