Two Montgomery County employees honored at ceremony

From left, District 7 Legislator Michael J. Pepe, Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator Julicia Godbout, County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort and Legislative Chairman Robert Headwell Jr. (Photo submitted)

FONDA– Two Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) employees were honored Tuesday for their service, dedication and commitment.

Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Corey Nellis and Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator Julicia Godbout received awards from the New York State Conservation District Employees Association March 15 during a training event. The Montgomery County Legislature recognized them during Tuesday’s full board meeting.

“I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of these statewide honors than Corey and Julicia,” Montgomery County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort said. “I’m proud to have them a part of the team.”

Staff in the County’s SWCD and several partner organizations nominated the pair for these awards. In order to apply, they had to acquire several letters of recommendation for Nellis and Godbout. They ended up with several letters from farmers, former employees and county residents who all had positive experiences to share regarding the nominees.

Nellis, a 31-year SWCD employee, was a recipient of the Willard F. Croney Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is only given to one district employee per year. The recipient must show excellence in the promotion of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. They must also demonstrate cooperation within and between fellow employees and their performance must exceed normal job requirements, according to the New York State Conservation District Employees Association.

From left, District 3 Legislator Roy S. Dimond, Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Corey Nellis, Legislative Chairman Robert Headwell Jr., and County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort. (Photo submiitted)

“[Corey is] very driven to help farmers address environmental problems on their farms, by applying for funding on their behalf to mitigate resource concerns,” SWCD Resource Conversationalist Joe Slezak said. “He is able to motivate staff around a common cause to achieve the desired goal,” he continued. “He is very knowledgeable about conservation practices and has the experience to know which practices work the best.”

District Clerk and Treasurer at the County’s SWCD Karen Klemczak said Nellis has a unique relationship with many members of the community– not just farmers.

“They trust his knowledge and experience and know they can always get the help they are looking for from him,” Klemczak said. “As a boss, I can say that I am lucky to have been able to have the opportunity to work for him.  He makes the workplace fun and enjoyable.”

Godbout, a three-year employee, received the 2018 Division 6 Merit Award. The counties within District 6 are Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie, Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington. This award recipient must also show outstanding effort in promoting their Soil and Water Conservation District and its activities.

District Technician for the County’s SWCD Scott Davis said Godbout was nominated because of her interest and dedication to get younger people interested in agriculture.

“I personally would say that Julicia’s dedication and persistence to get the younger generations interested, and more so, informed of the ins and outs of where food comes from, is extremely admirable,” Davis said.

He said Godbout seems to enjoy other facets of her job, but truly enjoys the different events that involve children and the community.

“Speaking from my point of view, being recognized as an honorary FFA member of the Fonda-Fultonville chapter speaks great volumes towards how the community feels of her involvement and drive, especially in helping the youth,” Davis said.