Oroville Border Patrol Explorer named Explorer of the Year

“Miss Fast is an incredible person. It has been an absolute privilege to work with her. Her service to the community is extraordinary and I have no doubt that she will continue to help others for a long time.”

John Tafolla, Advisor for Oroville Explorer Post

USBP/submitted photo USBP Agent and Oroville Explorer Post Advisor John Tafolla presents Theresa Fast with a plaque naming her Explorer of the Year at a ceremony held at Oroville's Deep Bay Park.

USBP/submitted photo
USBP Agent and Oroville Explorer Post Advisor John Tafolla presents Teresa Fast with a plaque naming her Explorer of the Year at a ceremony held at Oroville’s Deep Bay Park.

OROVILLE – Oroville Border Patrol Explorer Teresa Fast is a student, caregiver, volunteer, athlete, and can also add a new title to her resume as she was honored as the United States Border Patrol Explorer of the Year for 2017.

Exploring is a division of the Boy Scouts of America/Learning for Life that partners with sponsors to provide career development opportunities for young women and men. The United States Border Patrol is one of the largest sponsors in the program with over 700 Border Patrol Explorers in 51 Explorer Posts nationwide. The Oroville Post was formed in 2006.

Explorer Fast is a Running Start student at Wenatchee Valley College in Omak and will graduate in June. She is a certified nursing assistant and currently works nearly full-time at the extended care facility in Tonasket. She volunteers as a member of the Okanogan County Search and Rescue Team and was recently trained as an Emergency Medical Technician. In addition to those duties, Explorer Fast plays violin in the Second Strings Orchestra in Tonasket and ran on the track team in Oroville. Yet, she still manages to devote a large amount of time to the Explorer Post. She holds the title of Patrol Explorer in Charge (PEIC), the highest-ranking Explorer in the group. As the PEIC, Explorer Fast plans and leads many of the Post’s activities. As a leader, she is a terrific mentor and role model to younger Explorers. She is also able to use her law enforcement skills to assist other Explorers with learning the same skills.

Her leadership and skills were well-needed at the 2017 Snohomish Explorer Challenge. At the Challenge, Explorer Posts were put through several scenarios and were graded by law enforcement officers on their ability to bring the scenes to a successful resolution. Explorer Fast, along with her teammates, brought home nine team trophies. In addition to the team trophies, Explorer Fast shot a perfect score on the pistol challenge (along with teammate Nathan Rise) and was the top shooter for the entire competition!

Explorer Fast is deeply committed to community service. She has planned and facilitated numerous food drives for Oroville Elementary School’s “Feed the Hive” program. She was instrumental in planning and constructing two life jacket loaner stations on Lake Osoyoos. She has also volunteered at many local events.

Explorer Fast received her award from Border Patrol Agent (BPA) Explorer Advisor John Tafolla at the Oroville Explorers’ annual awards ceremony, which was held at Deep Bay Park. The award was renamed this year for Border Patrol Agent Gerald Tisdale, who started the United States Border Patrol Explorer program in 1984 in Laredo, Texas. Explorer Fast received a plaque, certificate, signed photograph, and letter from Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost. In the letter, Chief Provost praised that Explorer Fast “consistently represents the Oroville Station Post #0023 with a strong sense of service and the highest level of integrity.”

Explorer of the Year Theresa Fast.

Explorer of the Year Teresa Fast.

“I am very honored, humbled, and incredibly surprised to have received this award. I want to say thank you to the young adults in my Explorer post and to my advisor, who have all been a part of helping me to become the person I am today,” said Explorer Fast about the recognition.

BPA Tafolla, who has been working with the Explorers since 2012, said, “Miss Fast is an incredible person. It has been an absolute privilege to work with her. Her service to the community is extraordinary and I have no doubt that she will continue to help others for a long time.”

She is not the first Oroville Explorer to earn this award: Explorer Bailey Griffin was honored in 2015 and Explorer Nathan Rise received this recognition in 2016. Griffin now attends the University of Washington while Rise studies at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

True to her leadership, Explorer Fast presided over the awards ceremony, presenting awards (except, of course, the ones that she earned) to her fellow Explorers, many of which she had written herself. She promoted Supervisory Explorer Melinda Clark to Deputy Patrol Explorer in Charge. As the Deputy, Explorer Clark will be mentored by Explorer Fast to eventually lead the Explorer Post. This is necessary because, hopefully, Explorer Fast will soon add yet another title to her growing resume: Border Patrol Agent. Explorer Fast is in the hiring process to become an agent and will likely leave Oroville soon to patrol the deserts of the southwest.