Annual awards were recently presented to individuals for their contributions to the Tennessee Hunter Safety Program at the 43rd annual Hunter Education Banquet hosted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The TWRA annually presents the awards to volunteers, TWRA employees, and teachers for their efforts with the program. In addition, special awards for the Hunter Education Instructor of the Year, Outreach Volunteer of the Year, and Hall of Fame induction are also presented. This year’s banquet had a change in location to Lewisburg after being held at Henry Horton State Park for many years.
Awards for Volunteer of the Year were presented to instructors representing each of TWRA’s four regions.
Danny Kiser (Region I), Bill Edding (Region II), Michael Burnett (Region III), and Stanley Shell (Region IV) were this year’s recipients.
Long-time instructor and contributor Billy Long of Knoxville was named the Outreach Volunteer of the Year. Mr. Long’s was inducted into the Hunter Education Hall of Fame four years ago for all his efforts through the years.
Three persons were recognized for the Teacher of the Year honor. They were Michael Davis (Region II), Sam Brown (Region III), and Chuck McLain (Region IV).
The Instructor of the Year honor recipient was Darrell “Bones” Bernd. Mr. Bernd is a fisheries technician in TWRA Region II in addition to being a long-time Hunter Education contributor.
Four TWRA employees were honored by receiving Instructor of the Year awards for their respective regions. The Region I recipient was Greg Barker, wildlife officer in Henry County. The Region II honor went to Nathan Karch, Davidson County wildlife officer. Jackson County wildlife officer Travis Cowan was the Region III recipient. The Region IV honoree was Michael Cavins, Claiborne County wildlife officer.
The Hunter Education Hall of Fame inductee was Sam Venable of Knoxville. He will also be recognized at the September meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Gatlinburg.