Two dozen New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officers and forest rangers came to Old Forge on Tuesday, November 25 to present Doug and Judy Riedman with a plaque honoring their late son Kyle as an honorary NYS forest ranger.
Kyle, who had aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps as a forest ranger, had taken the state exam prior to his death on February 7, 2014, following a local snowmobile accident.
Stillwater forest rangers Luke Evans and John Scanlon of NYS DEC Region 6, who worked with the elder Riedman for many years prior to his retirement, came up with the idea to memorialize Kyle last spring.
“All the rangers in Region 6 knew Kyle. Ever since he was a little guy, he went pretty near everywhere with his father,” said Gary Lee, a retired forest ranger and close family friend.
Evans was persistent in making the honor a reality, seeking the help of Region 6 Captain Drew Kavanagh who worked with officials in Albany to reach the goal.
“It was no easy feat…especially since it had never been done before. They jumped through a lot of hoops, no doubt about it,” Lee said.
Once it was approved, a date was set for the local presentation and representatives from Regions 4 and 5 were invited to take part.
The Riedmans, who were under the belief they were invited to accept a donation to their son’s scholarship fund, arrived at the Webb Town Offices to find the parking lot filled with DEC vehicles.
In extreme surprise and gratitude, they accepted the plaque from Captain Kavanagh, acting on behalf of Evans who had been called to western New York to assist with the snow emergency effort.
The plaque reads:
Forest Ranger, State of New York.
In solemn memory of Kyle Riedman.
Always in our thoughts, forever in our hearts.
Honorary Member, New York State Forest Rangers.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.