Written by Stasia Kelly | GFC Media Relations Specialist

When you see the words “Georgia Forestry Commission,” what comes to your mind? Trees, of course – millions upon millions of trees! We at the GFC are devoted to each and every one of them across the state and to all the people who grow, use, depend on, and appreciate them.

As a media relations specialist for the agency, it is my privilege to share information about the many ways GFC’s people and services impact Georgians. From winter planting season and Arbor Day celebrations to wildfire season and Georgia-grown Christmas trees, GFC’s reach is immense, and stories are told at every turn.

Each of our departments carries out the agency’s goals according to their area of expertise.

OUR VISION – Healthy and abundant forests that support a robust industry while providing social, environmental, and financial benefits to all of Georgia. We envision healthy forests for a more sustainable future.

OUR MISSION – We provide leadership, service, and education to protect and conserve Georgia’s forest resources. GFC works to promote, protect and conserve healthy, sustainable forests.

The different departments that support our mission and vision can be found on this website’s home page. Take a look, and you’ll see how our employees work to combat wildfire, keep forestlands healthy, grow and nurture quality seedlings to keep Georgia forested and educate citizens about the myriad benefits of trees, including their impact on the state’s economy and the personal health of every Georgian.

What you may not glean from these descriptions, however, is that the people behind each job are some of the finest human beings you’ll come across anywhere. For the last 20 years, I have been honored to know and work alongside them, and their commitment to service and each other is unlike any other professional group with which I’ve been associated.

I can’t count the times I’ve seen an email come through about a colleague in need – illness, family emergency, accident, and so forth. If that employee needs extra comp time or support of ANY kind, the GFC family steps up to the plate – instantly. I’ve seen a parent use donated time to help her child fight cancer. I’ve seen a family whose home burned to the ground aided in every way. Volunteers give up their precious free time to assist with every kind of forestry and community function you can imagine, not to mention wildfires or weather emergencies far from home. These are the dedicated people behind every service supplied by this amazing agency.

For the last few weeks, I have been fortunate to experience this generosity of spirit firsthand. When my mom was seriously injured during Hurricane Ian’s assault on the west coast of Florida, there was no question that I needed to be by her side. It has been a huge comfort and a wonderful blessing to have colleagues who’ve stepped in to handle my time-sensitive responsibilities. As one of them said to me, “Family comes first.”

Family does come first! That’s a value I’m so proud to share with my GFC co-workers, along with integrity, honesty, and a good ol’ fashioned work ethic. I am so grateful to be a part of my other family – here at the GFC.

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