Leon Lesicka Wins 2004 Branding Iron Award

Marty

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Lesicka wins 2004 Branding Iron Award
By MARC SCHANZ, Staff Writer

Accomplished construction magnate and longtime wildlife and outdoors enthusiast Leon Lesicka won the Brawley Chamber of Commerce's 2004 Branding Iron Award for community service Friday night at the chamber's 100th annual dinner. Several special guests celebrated the centennial of the Brawley chamber and the work of the business community in this Northend city. "What was the first dinner like? Who was there?" outgoing chamber president Carl Russell mused to the crowd at the Del Rio Country Club. "We're here to honor business, jobs and we've only begun to build."

Local and state officials heaped praises on the chamber's work, with county Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Wyatt and Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, crediting the chamber with building a favorable, small-town business environment over the last 100 years. "The chamber has always recognized that we can't have employees without employers," Garcia said.

Mike Pool, California director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, spoke briefly about his experience growing up in a small New Mexico town and how the Imperial Valley's resources should be cared for locally. "Take a role in managing your resources, or others from the outside will," Pool said in reference to the ongoing public lands issues surrounding the Imperial Sand Dunes and the efforts of local chambers and businesses to work with the BLM in promoting the area. "You have a great history here in Brawley, I'm glad you're taking a role in shaping your destiny."

But the night's centerpiece was the winner of the chamber's renowned award for community service, the Branding Iron. Introduced via videotape by former Imperial Valley Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, Hunter praised Lesicka's volunteer efforts with wildlife and waterfowl in Imperial County and spoke highly of his sense of community. "The most valuable real estate around is next to Leon's house," Hunter said. "He's a great neighbor and a great friend."

Hunter praised Lesicka for his efforts involving fish and game in the Valley and preserving habitat for birds and wildlife around the Salton Sea and the New River. Lesicka was lauded by Imperial County Property Services Manager Randy Rister, a fellow volunteer with Desert Wildlife Unlimited, who talked at length about Lesicka's exploits.

From building water holes in Mexico, to being the force behind the foundation of DWU, Rister went on about his memories of working with Lesicka. "He can make anything out of nothing," Rister joked while talking about growing up in Brawley and hunting waterfowl.

From starting bird and mammal assistance projects near the Salton Sea to leading efforts at water development on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, state lands and county parks, Rister told of Lesicka's tireless efforts at improving conservation efforts in the Imperial Valley.

From his involvement with the Citizens Congressional Task Force on the New River to the Imperial Waterfowl and Wildlife Habitat Association, Lesicka has given much of his free time to causes that contribute to the preservation of the environment and making the region more attractive to those who visit and call it home, Rister added.

Lesicka was modest in accepting the award and thanked the crowd.

"I only came here to listen to Mike Pool," Lesicka joked. "Thank you very much."
 

JDC

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Congrats Leon! you deserve a whole lot more than that for your hard work and dedication!
 

MapMan

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I agree with you JDC. Leon deserves a lot of recognition. He is very passionate about what he does to improve habitat for the benefit of all hunters present and in the future. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with him on two occasions down at Gibson's, erecting the original Pheasant pen and tagging and releasing some birds. Both times he worked non stop with us youngsters ( I am 45, he must be close to 70) for about 6 hours, fed us a great lunch meal, and then still took time to give myself and several others a personal tour of all the fields late in the day. The guy attends meetings, drives all day through the back country checking game cameras and guzzlers, helps prepare and plant the fields himself using bulldozers and tractors, oversees the watering, and even helps to knock down portions of the crops before opening day. Just incredible drive and energy. The world needs a lot more men like him!

Thank you Leon and congratulations on a job well done.....
 

foulshot

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Originally posted by MapMan@Jun 8 2004, 09:05 PM
Thank you Leon and congratulations on a job well done.....
Ditto. Having been to Leons house, He has gotten some recognition. Just look at his hallway.

I think, after talking with him, He gets the biggest satisfaction from seeing more hunters out in places where there used to not be a lot of hunters.
 


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