Secretary of Agriculture talks with Division Supervisor running vaccination sites

Working 12-14 hours a day while still doing his regular job as Engine Captain

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Secretary of Agriculture conversation Forest Service COVID-19
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on video call with Division Supervisor Jeff Hammond and Forest Service Chief Vicki Christianson. Image from FS video.

The U.S. Forest Service has published a 13-minute video of a conversation with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Division Supervisor Jeff Hammond, and Forest Service Chief Vicki Christianson.

Mr. Hammond is a FS Engine Captain from Prescott, Arizona. In the video uploaded April 12 he said he was in charge of coordinating personnel administering COVID-19 vaccinations at three sites, working 12 to 14 hours a day while also doing his regular job. He is a Type 2 Operations Section Chief on one of the Southwest Geographic Area Incident Managements Teams and is also qualified as a Division Supervisor.

Secretary Vilsack asked detailed questions about Mr. Hammond’s duties in the vaccination programs, coming across as being interested in other people, asking Mr. Hammond about his family and where he was born and raised.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Secretary of Agriculture talks with Division Supervisor running vaccination sites”

  1. Well, this gives me some hope. Sec Perdue didn’t have a clue, and didn’t care, about the USFS and its mission or its people. It did feel like Sec Vilsack was sincere in this exchange.
    I’m glad the Chief set it up, and she did a good job of talking about how FS folks are used under a FEMA all-risk assignment. Shocking, though, that Sec Vilsack’s son had to remind him that the FS is part of Ag. Not to mention it is by far the largest agency in Ag. Jeff Hammond is a great example of a high-performing FS forestry technician who takes on way more than his job requires. He’s a GS-8 Engine Captain on this assignment as a DIVS and is also OSC2 qualified. He should be paid way more than he is.

  2. Well, that was a refreshing exchange between the Sec., Chief and Div. Sup.
    I hope that the Sec. has good intent and support for the Chief when he commented “we need to get back to taking care of the resources, once we get past the pandemic (words to this effect).”
    Maybe this time around, he’ll do the job he was hired to do and take care of the 190mm acres of land, owned for the public, and “direct” specific actions to treat the 90mm+ acres of dead and dying forests.
    It’s past time to Step Up, Mr. Sec. As your son told you, there is more to your mission in life than “cows and wheat.”


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