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May 8, 2009
Winslow, Maine – Maine Warden Service Game Warden Jim Martin Jr. of Calais was recognized today as “Warden of the Year” for his honesty, consistency and strong work ethic during his 20-year career.
Maine Warden Service Col. Joel Wilkinson, Chief Game Warden, and Major Gregory Sanborn, Deputy Chief Game Warden, presented Warden Martin with the honor, and recognized others for exemplary service during the Maine Warden Service’s annual meeting today in Winslow.
“The significant achievements we honor speak volumes about the commitment, courage and core values of Maine game wardens,” said Col. Wilkinson. “These awards do not single out any warden as being the best warden in Maine, but rather honors individual wardens who represent the excellence of game wardens statewide. We take pride in our peers’ achievements, and their recognition is reflective of the agency’s entire work ethic.”
Added Col. Wilkinson, “In the face of recent developments relating to the state budget, it would be easy for all of us to let the current economic situation drive negativity and deflate the spirit towards our professional obligations. But I am confident that Maine Game Wardens will meet this challenges with the same determination, dedication and spirit by which our agency has been known in its 129-year history.”
Today’s annual meeting was attended by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Roland “Danny” Martin, IF&W Deputy Commissioner Paul Jacques, members of the IF&W Advisory Council, the IF&W Legislative Committee, and other guests.
“Folks that you connect with, from sportsmen and sportswomen to outdoor enthusiasts, appreciate what you do,” said Commissioner Martin. “A recent survey in an outdoors publication stated that 92 percent of the people believe you’re doing a good job. I do, too. I congratulate you and thank you for all that you do for the people of Maine.”
This year’s honorees are:
Warden of the Year/Shikar Safari Club Wildlife Officer of the Year Award: To Jim Martin, a 20-year veteran based in Calais, nominated by Sgt. David Craven. Warden Martin is recognized for his dedication to the public safety of people within his district, his enforcement of Maine’s poaching laws, his commitment to safety education by wardens, his work with local, state, federal and international law enforcement officers and agencies, and his representation of game wardens through union efforts to negotiate contracts.
“Jim is as honest a person as you will find,” according to Sgt. Craven. “His integrity is above reproach, and the ethics and professionalism he displays in the performance of his duties serve as a model to all who work around him. Jim is a steady year-in and year-out performer; no flash, no big talk, just consistent results. This comes from old-fashioned pride in doing his job well, and conducting himself as a man of honor.”
“The Colonel has asked me to say a few words,” said Warden Martin, upon receipt of this honor. “I will keep it few. I am proud to serve.”
Colonel’s Award: To the Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Norbert, and the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, selected and presented by Col. Joel Wilkinson. For their unwavering support and steadfast commitment to the prosecution of Robert Lapointe, who last fall was convicted of aggravated operation of a motorcraft while under the influence in the deaths of two people on Long Lake in 2007.
“A critical component to successful prosecution of major cases is early involvement and support from the Prosecutor’s Office,” said Col. Wilkinson, who detailed the extraordinary level of time and attention to detail given to this case. “Ms. Anderson and Ms. Norbert successfully argued to have the jury view the boats and their associated damage in person, an impressive sight indeed. They examined dozens of witnesses and argued unceasing objections. They pressed forward through the shock of Lapointe’s emotions as he broke down when he described seeing his damaged boat. They remained cool under pressure as they navigated the ebb and flow of trial emotions.
“To the people of the State of Maine, the Long Lake investigation demonstrated that the Maine Warden Service will not tolerate people operating watercraft recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs on our inland waters,” said Col. Wilkinson. “To the Maine Warden Service, it demonstrated the positive results that can be achieved with teamwork and partnerships such as the one developed between our investigative team and the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.”
2008 NASBLA Boating Officer of the Year: To Warden Alan Gillis of Orrington, presented by Col. Joel Wilkinson and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Throughout the last year, Warden Gillis conducted more than 400 watercraft safety checks and documented 63 violations, has participated in search and rescue missions and poaching investigations, and has spoken to area schools, sportsmen’s clubs and sportsmen’s shows.
“Warden Gillis rarely misses an opportunity to educate the public about recreational boating safety, a task he takes seriously and one in which he represents the Maine Warden Service very well,” said Col. Wilkinson. “He is dedicated to ensuring the safety of those who recreate on Maine’s waters.”
Supervisor of the Year Award: To Chief Game Warden Pilot Charlie Later of Greenville. Presented by Major Gregory Sanborn. For his expertise in aviation, fiscal responsibility, and supervision of two MWS pilots who provide all of the aviation needs for the MWS throughout the state.
“Chief Pilot Later is never satisfied with the status quo,” Major Sanborn said. “He is constantly recommending training for his division and applying for grant money to increase the capabilities of the air wing. Just recently the division was able to get a ‘free’ airplane from the federal government. Being free, there was plenty of work to be done on it. Once completed, this additional aircraft will help provide additional air resources to our missions.”
Special Recognition Awards:
To Jody Breton of Livermore Falls, former director of the Natural Resources Service Center, presented by Col. Joel Wilkinson and Major Gregory Sanborn. For her tireless and outstanding support during recent budget reductions to ensure that the Maine Warden Service continued to meet its obligations to the people of Maine. Ms. Breton also was made an honorary member of the Maine Warden Service.
To the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department, presented by Sgt. Chris Simmons and Col. Wilkinson. In the Fall of 2007, Sheriff John J. Goggin and the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department formed a partnership with the Maine Warden Service to handle dispatch calls for service in Piscataquis County, and for Operation Game Thief, a statewide program that allows anonymous individuals to report alleged poaching operations.
“This service provided by the staff of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department to Operation Game Thief has been nothing short of excellent,” said Col. Wilkinson. “Their efforts play a major role in the overall protection of our natural resources. We thank them for their commitment and dedication to this program and to the members of the Maine Warden Service.”
To U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agents Eric Holmes and Robert Roth, presented by Game Warden Joey Lefebvre. For their surveillance assistance over a period of time in the apprehension of a convicted felon and others who were operating a poaching operation behind the felon’s home, as well as growing marijuana plants, hunting without a license, and possession of a firearm.
To Dave Blake, Jeff Coon, Chris Davidson and David Minott, four members of the Maine State Police garage staff and nicknamed the “Dirty Dog Posse,” presented by Lt. Shon Theriault and Warden John MacDonald. For their invaluable assistance in bringing the Maine Warden Service and its Mobil Data Project online when financial resources were tight and deadlines were looming.
Meritorious Service Award: Given to a Game Warden for conduct above the ordinary course of duty when, because of initiative, courage and diligence, the Game Warden places himself in danger while performing his duty.
To Sgt. Bill Chandler of Greenville, presented by Lt. Pat Dorian. For his selfless efforts to subdue a suicidal man brandishing a loaded firearm at Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville. “Sgt. Chandler used personal knowledge of the man and his family to negotiate with him, encouraging him not to hurt himself. The subject eventually laid the weapon down and agreed to walk over to Sgt. Chandler with his hands over his head,” according to Lt. Dorian.
Exemplary Service Awards: Given to a Game Warden who has rendered relevant outstanding service which deserves special recognition.
To Captain Dan Scott of Hampden, Investigator Phil Dugas, Investigator Jason Luce, Warden Kevin Anderson and Warden Jeremy Judd, presented by Lt. Adam Gormely. For their investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of Robert Lapointe for aggravated operating under the influence for the deaths of two boaters on Long Lake in 2007. This investigation was the most comprehensive undertaken by the Maine Warden Service to date.
To Warden Specialist Steve Allarie of Farmingdale, presented by Lt. Shon Theriault. For sound judgment and fiscal responsibility in coordinating a relocation of the Maine Warden Service administration into a new, centrally located office at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife headquarters in Augusta.
To Warden John MacDonald of Pownal, presented by Lt. Shon Theriault. For distinguished service and project management in coordinating and placing mobilized data equipment in all Game Warden vehicles. The daunting task included working with the state Office of Information Technology, other law enforcement agencies, contractors and vendors to ensure the software worked with current operating systems and could be used throughout the state.
To Warden David Allen of Ashland, presented by Sgt. Tom Ward. For offering wilderness first aid and twice stabilizing a moose hunter who was suffering from cardiac arrest at Clayton Lake before the hunter was transported by LifeFlight to Bangor.
To Warden Rick Clowry of Harmony, presented by Sgt. Bill Chandler. For investigating a trespassing complaint in Palmyra that led to the shutdown of a poaching operation, with convictions and fines for four subjects and jail time for a fifth individual.
To Warden Mike Pierre of Gorham, presented by Sgt. Tim Spahr and Lt. Adam Gormely, for his fish conservation efforts, including the protection of native landlocked salmon and smelts, by investigating and apprehending poachers in southwestern Maine.
To Warden Ben Drew of Houlton, Warden Durward Humphrey of Benedicta, and Warden Scott Martin of Patten, presented by Lt. Doug Tibbetts. For their investigation that led to 25 summonses for illegal moose and deer hunting, and illegal drug possession.
K-9 Conservation Case of the Year Award: To Game Warden Paul Farrington and Koda, of Springfield, presented by Warden Wayde Carter and Warden Roger Guay. For their recovery of key evidence to apprehend deer poachers on Marsh Island in the fields at the University of Maine.
K-9 Search and Rescue of the Year Award: To Game Warden Jeff Spencer and Bridger, of St. Francis, presented by Warden Wayde Carter and Warden Roger Guay. For their search of a suicidal female subject who was missing and armed with a handgun. Warden Spencer and Bridger located the subject, who had a gunshot wound to the chest, deep in the woods and administered first aid until an ambulance arrived.
Maine Warden Service Association Legendary Game Warden: To retired Game Warden Don Walker of Bingham, presented by Warden Chris Dyer. Walker served from 1954 to 1975. For being “gritty and persistent” and for his efforts to start up and supervise the Maine Warden Service’s search and rescue operations. Retired Warden Walker continues to participate in dive team and other MWS training programs.
Maine Warden Service Association Merit Awards: Given to volunteers and other individuals who help the Maine Warden Service perform its mission. To Rick Michaud of Crouchville, Lance Wheaton of Forest City, Jack Knight of Bridgton, and Pam and Brian Wells of Old Town.
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