Dwayne Vigil presented 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award
Dwayne Vigil, 2003 forest management technology graduate, was named Haywood Community College’s outstanding alumnus for 2014. The Outstanding Alumni Award is presented to a graduate who has attained distinction and success in his or her career field or through community service.
Vigil is the Haywood County forest ranger for the North Carolina Forest Service. He has worked in this position for almost five years. Prior to this, Vigil was Haywood County assistant ranger and a Swain County smoke chaser.
“I have a very fulfilling job,” said Vigil. “The education I received at HCC has made a great impact in my life and career. It has opened many doors.”
Vigil’s work as forest ranger incorporates many facets, some of which are forest management and protection, urban forestry, information and education and forest fire law enforcement. He trains forest fire suppression to local volunteer fire departments; assists nationally with forest fire suppression, which is for large wildfires in other states that usually occurs in 18 day stints; gives educational presentations to civic and school groups; and teaches current N.C. Forest Service employees skills such as operating portable pumps and prescribed burns.
Since graduating from HCC, Vigil has been an avid supporter of the college’s forest management technology program. He is a classroom resource and is often called upon by instructors to make presentations to students about the forest management field.
“HCC’s faculty is eager and willing to help you learn to have a lifelong career,” said Vigil. “This school gives you what you need to be a valuable employee.”
Vigil’s work has led him to places such as Wyoming, Nevada, California, and Oklahoma to suppress wildland fires. In his travels across the United States, he often runs into fellow graduates of HCC’s Natural Resources programs.
“The alumni I run into are still talking about this college,” he said.
Vigil says the interest of the outdoors came from spending time with his parents exploring the Western North Carolina mountains.
“The education I received at HCC gave me skills I have used throughout the country,” he said. “HCC is not just recognized here but nationwide. The college has made an impression and inspired others.”