Gruver, the logging manager of D&D Hardwood Products in Racine, grew up in the logging business. He started in the business as a young boy driving the skidder for his father, Darrell Gruver, the long-time owner of D&D. Over the years, the younger Gruver spent thousands of hours in the D&D Hardwoods mill as a sawyer, gaining greater insight into what can be sawed out of each log. Eventually, he became the logging crew manager and, in 2018, he became a Master Logger. Having been around logging and forestry management for decades, Gruver knows the importance of managing a forest for sustainability, landowner expectations and improving wildlife habitat quality.
The Southwest Regional Logger Award is given to the logger who demonstrates the ability to carry out a timber harvest in a manner that causes the least amount of damage to the remaining resources on site. The purpose behind this award is to recognize the abilities of loggers who are practicing low impact logging. These loggers are making extra efforts to show how forest harvests should be carried out. MDC recognizes that a number of loggers in the state are doing an outstanding job in their timber harvesting operations and deserve recognition.
There are multiple criteria for choosing a logger for this award. These include good working relationships with landowners and foresters, minimal damage to remaining trees and resources, preventions of soil erosion, aesthetics of the site after harvesting was completed, safe work performance and use of equipment, utilization of harvested trees, the desire to address wildlife management concerns, and use of proper forest management techniques. The logger must have completed the Professional Timber Harvester’s Training Program sponsored by the Missouri Forest Products Association and MDC.
In recognition of this award, Gruver received safety equipment donated by Crader Distributing of Marble Hill. Crader has been a long-time partner with MDC in recognizing loggers who have demonstrated outstanding performance and good working relationships with landowners and foresters.