The Public Lands Foundation presented two Lifetime Service Awards during its annual meeting September 11 in Billings. One went to Billy McIlvain of Huntley, Mont., and another was given posthumously to Vincent Hecker, formerly of Forsyth, Mont.
McIlvain was employed for nearly 46 years with the BLM. He served as area manager in Billings and Belle Fourche. He was also the Rangeland Program Leader in the BLM Montana State Office where he demonstrated outstanding leadership to enhance the proud tradition of public service. In addition to his service with the BLM, Bill started his career in 1966 with the National Park Service and served in the Marine Corps from 1968-1975. For his service in Viet Nam as a Cobra gunship pilot, he received the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V.”
“We are pleased to present Mr. McIlvain with this award in recognition of his many years of service improving and protecting the public lands,” said PLF President George Lea.
Vince Hecker, originally from Forsyth, Mont., had 31 years of service with the BLM. Beginning in 1963 in Lewistown in land appraisal, he also worked in the lands and realty programs in Portland, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho. In 1967 he was assigned to the Division of Lands in Washington, D.C., and became the Alaska Programs Manager. He provided leadership in a significant time for developing Alaska public land management regulations, polices, and guidance necessary to implement a variety of legislation. In 1975 he was assigned to the Minerals Division in the Washington Office and finished his career as Chief, Division of Lands/Realty. Vince was a lifetime member of the Public Lands Foundation and served as an officer in the Foundation. He received numerous awards for excellence of service.
“We are pleased to recognize Mr. Hecker in this fashion,” said George Lea, PLF President. “Vince retired in 1994 from the position of Chief, Division of Lands/Realty with a career of integrity and honor.”
The Public Lands Foundation is a national nonprofit conservation organization whose members are primarily retired former BLM employees. The organization advocates and works for the retention of public lands in public hands, professionally and sustainably managed for the responsible common use and enjoyment of the American people.