Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Honors Chattanooga-Area Volunteer As SMART Conservation Steward Of The Year

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
USA-1 SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. (L) and USA CEO and Executive Director Scott Vance (R) presented Jeff Burgin with the SMART Conservation Steward of the Year Award
USA-1 SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. (L) and USA CEO and Executive Director Scott Vance (R) presented Jeff Burgin with the SMART Conservation Steward of the Year Award
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance has honored Jeff Burgin of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) with the 2019 SMART Conservation Steward of the Year Award for his efforts to help improve public access to one of the Southeast’s premier fishing and boating destinations. 
 
The award recognizes volunteers from each of the USA’s charter unions who have made exceptional contributions to the USA’s efforts to organize union volunteers to donate their time and unique trade skills to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.
 
Mr.
Burgin, of Dunlap, serves as SMART Local 5’s Chattanooga-area business representative. He also championed a USA Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) project to enhance access to Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga—a popular destination for anglers and other watersports enthusiasts from within the state and around the country.
 
Mr. Burgin played a pivotal role in the major overhaul of one of Chickamauga’s busiest access points, the Wolftever Creek Boat Ramp adjacent to Harrison Bay State Park just outside Chattanooga. The renovation expanded year-round access by replacing an existing dilapidated dock with a brand-new, 104-foot-long, handicap-accessible floating pier. Volunteers also restored a fishing pier adjacent to the launch and later hosted a USA Take Kids Fishing Day event at the rejuvenated ramp.
 
The entire project was conducted without state game and fish funds. Materials were purchased with $10,000 raised by United Auto Workers Local 42 and $22,000 in federal marine fuel tax revenues from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. All union labor was donated by volunteers from SMART Local 5, UAW Local 42, IBEW Local 175 and Iron Workers Local 704.
 
“Jeff was crucial to the Wolftever Creek fishing access project,” said USA Conservation Manager Rob Stroede. “He, along with the apprentices that he leads, donated their time on multiple weekends to see the restoration through to the end. Without his assistance and leadership, the project would have been difficult to complete. Now the renovated pier provides better access to the thousands of anglers and boaters who utilize the boat ramp, as well as to the many anglers who fish from the pier.”
 
For his part, Mr. Burgin said the efforts were a labor of love.  “After hearing Stroede speak about the upcoming project and the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program at a Chattanooga Area Labor Council meeting, I was hooked and told him that we wanted to help,” Mr. Burgin said. “The USA is spot-on with their efforts to provide union labor with an outlet to serve their communities with meaningful conservation projects that positively impact the environment. I’m thankful to serve and look forward to working with the USA again in the future.” 
 
USA CEO and Executive Director Scott Vance presented Mr. Burgin with his award Aug. 15 at SMART’s Second General Convention in Las Vegas.
 
The Conservation Steward of the Year selection process begins with the nomination of potential recipients by peers or union leadership. From this pool of nominees, USA staff select individuals who have had the greatest impact on the USA’s mission, represented their unions in the most exemplary fashion, and made the biggest difference in their local community. 


Trailblaze Challenge To Help Wishes Come True

2019 Free Youth Deer Hunt Registration Underway To Win Opportunity To Record 1st Harvest

The Ayers Foundation Working To Conserve Tennessee Wildlife


Area hikers have accepted the challenge to trek 26 miles on Lookout Mountain during one day. However, the event is more than a physical challenge. It is also a challenge to raise funds to make ... (click for more)

Youth between the ages of 10-16, who are hunter safety certified and who have never harvested a deer, are eligible to win a spot in what has become an annual special hunt. The Tennessee Wildlife ... (click for more)

The Ayers Foundation , created in 1999 to sustain and significantly improve the quality of life in Tennessee, has made a notable gift to Tennessee Wildlife Federation in support of its efforts ... (click for more)


Outdoors

Trailblaze Challenge To Help Wishes Come True

Area hikers have accepted the challenge to trek 26 miles on Lookout Mountain during one day. However, the event is more than a physical challenge. It is also a challenge to raise funds to make wishes happen for children with critical illnesses. The Trailblaze Challenge supports Make-A-Wish East Tennessee and the special children the organization serves. A wish experience can ... (click for more)

2019 Free Youth Deer Hunt Registration Underway To Win Opportunity To Record 1st Harvest

Youth between the ages of 10-16, who are hunter safety certified and who have never harvested a deer, are eligible to win a spot in what has become an annual special hunt. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will host the hunt in conjunction with the opening day of the 2019 Tennessee Young Sportsman Deer Hunt on Saturday, Oct. 26. Youth from various regions from across the ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Man Shot On Sylvan Drive After Accosting Two People At Residence

Chattanooga Police said a man accosted two people at a residence on Sylvan Drive before he was shot early Saturday morning. Jeremy Brister, 25, was charged with aggravated criminal trespass, aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated domestic violence. The victims were listed as a woman, 38, and a juvenile male. At 1:28 a.m., police responded to the 600 block ... (click for more)

4 Juveniles Arrested In Ridgeside On Aggravated Assault And Robbery Charges

East Ridge Police have arrested four juveniles for suspicion of aggravated assault and attempted aggravated robbery in the city of Ridgeside. Officers were in the Ridgeside area investigating a report of suspicious people walking in the area. While in the area, a call came in of an attempted car-jacking. Within minutes, East Ridge officers had three of four suspects in custody. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Let The Water Company Pay The Bill - And Response (2)

Tennessee American breaks a line and 35,000 people lose water for three days. Well they don’t exactly admit they broke it, they were working on it a few feet away and it just broke….so they say. One half of TAWC service area is out of water three days and nights, hospitals canceling surgery, schools closed and opened and then sending the children home, businesses shut down, government ... (click for more)

Hypocrisy Of Tennessee American Water Company Critics - And Response

All pump-pressure systems have acute failures. It is expected that utilities will experience system failures that are unanticipated, even with the best prevention. These would be acute failures. That is why all utilities from electric, water, and yes municipal sewer collection systems and treatment plants have response plans. Tennessee American Water Company experienced an acute ... (click for more)