I am deeply saddened to report the loss of Matthew Casaus, forestry technician on the Cuba Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest. Matthew, 61, was working with a timber crew on May 17, doing what he loved best, when he lost consciousness. Matthew’s fellow team members administered CPR and radioed dispatch for assistance. Despite their best efforts, Matthew passed away in his beloved Jemez Mountains.
A second-generation Forest Service employee, Matthew joined the agency in 1980, following in the footsteps of his father Eustacio ‘Tacho’ Casaus. Mathew spent many years in fire before moving to work in the timber program. In 2005, he was the forester who found the Capitol Christmas Tree on the Santa Fe National Forest and helped it make its way to Washington. He was a devoted family man who cherished his four daughters, and a respected and admired member of the Cuba, New Mexico, community and Santa Fe National Forest family.
Matthew was known by his colleagues as a quiet man who was happiest when he was out in the field, marking trees and cruising plots. He demonstrated his commitment to the Forest Service mission on a daily basis; silviculturist Susan Harrelson spoke for all of his colleagues when she said that they can find comfort in the fact that “The thousands of trees he planted and the forest restoration work he did will live on for hundreds of years.”
Funeral services for Matthew were held on Thursday, May 25. The Forest Service Honor Guard was in attendance. Please join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to Matthew’s family as we honor his life and his 37-year career with the Forest Service.
Let me conclude by saying that without men and women like Matthew, we would not be able to protect and care for the lands that he loved so much.
I thank him for his service to the Forest Service and to this country. He will be missed greatly.