Honoring a colleague online

One agency used the Web to honor one of its own who died Sept. 11

While most agencies used their Web sites to keep the public informed about developments during and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, one agency used the Web to honor one of its own who died that day.

Rich Guadagno, refuge manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Loleta, Calif., was among the passengers on board United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in rural Pennsylvania. He was returning to California after a vacation in New Jersey, where he and his family celebrated his grandmother's 100th birthday, according to the site.

Two days after the attacks, FWS posted a prominent link on its home page that took visitors to a page honoring Guadagno, a 17-year FWS veteran (www.fws.gov/fallen.html), said Charlie Grymes, Web manager for FWS. On the page is a large picture of Guadagno and a brief biography. The same link was added to the Interior Department home page.

On Sept. 14, employees at FWS' Pacific Region launched a more in-depth site to honor Guadagno. The site (pacific.fws.gov/guadagno) is also linked to the FWS home page and features comments submitted by friends, colleagues and well-wishers, letters from FWS and Interior Department officials, and pictures of Guadagno.

"The images paint a picture of a person who walked lightly on the earth and shared himself as a wonderful, caring and sensitive person," according to the site.

Grymes said the decision to highlight the Guadagno site on the FWS home page was easy, but determining when to remove it will be difficult. The link stayed up after American flags were again allowed to fly full staff Sept. 23.

"We're still keeping the link at the moment," Grymes said. "This is uncharted territory.