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PFBC Names Officer of the Year,” Announces Awards For Outstanding Staff Achievements

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has announced several awards presented to staff members in recognition of outstanding achievements.

(Pictured Left to Right: PFBC President Richard Kauffman, Col. Clyde Warner, Waterways Conservation Officer Chad Doyle, PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer. All photos courtesy of PFBC.)

Law Enforcement

The PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement 2021 Officer of the Year Award was presented to Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO) Chad Doyle.  WCO Doyle, whose district includes southcentral Crawford and eastern Mercer Counties in the Northwest Region, is credited with establishing an exemplary Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and summary violation detection program within his district.  In 2021, Doyle successfully apprehended four individuals for BUI, assisted with the apprehension of three BUI arrests by other officers, and successfully investigated five environmental violations.  In addition. Doyle investigated three boating accidents, including a fatal incident and an accident that caused more than $200,000 in damage to other boats and docks.

The Top Gun Award was presented to WCO Sean Lake.  This award is presented annually to a WCO who displays outstanding effort in the detection and apprehension of impaired boaters.  Lake, whose district includes southern York County in the Southeast Region, facilitated the apprehension and prosecution of 20 individuals for BUI, and assisted in one arrest by another officer in 2021.  Most of the arrests occurred while Lake was patrolling the Susquehanna River.

The Gerald L. Greiner Environmental Protection Award was presented to WCO Rachael Thurner-Diaz.  This award is presented annually to the WCO who best exemplifies the ideals of ‘Resource First’ – the protection, conservation, and enhancement of our Commonwealth’s aquatic resources.  In 2021, Thurner-Diaz, whose district includes Adams and western York Counties in the Southcentral Region, investigated 12 environmental incidents which included four pollution cases and eight disturbance of waterways violations.  One high-profile investigation in York County led to the offender paying over $50,000 in restitution.

Lifesaving Award was presented to WCO Justin Boatwright.  On February 9, 2022, Boatwright was attending a law enforcement meeting at Tiadaghton State Forest, Lycoming County, when screams for help were reported coming from the mountain nearby.  Boatwright, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources staff, and a Pennsylvania Game Commission State Game Warden responded to the area of the Waterville Rail Trail where the calls for help were pinpointed, and a victim was found to be struggling to cling onto a steep slope above them covered in ice and snow.  Boatwright sprinted up the slope to assist the victim, who indicated he had been walking his dogs atop the mountain when he fell and slid approximately 100 feet down the slope and believed he had broken both of his legs.  The victim’s hand had turned purple, as it was being squeezed tightly by a lanyard, which he had wrapped around his hand to help him hold onto a small tree.  Boatwright was able to alleviate the pressure on the victim’s hand and help him hold on while he called for additional help.  While waiting for other rescuers to arrive, the snow beneath Boatwright and the victim gave way, sending them sliding even further down the slope.  Under treacherous conditions, Boatwright kept the victim secure for several hours while coordinating with other rescuers, who were eventually able to transport the victim to a hospital for treatment.

Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

The PFBC is honored to receive the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its online Activities and Education Portal.  In 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection honored 15 projects statewide which were completed by schools, businesses, and community organizations that exhibited creativity and innovation in environmental improvement.

Initially developed as a response to the challenges that COVID-19 guidance presented for teachers, parents, and Pennsylvania’s angling and boating community in 2020, PFBC Education staff has continued to expand the Activities and Education Portal into a one-stop environmental education shop to deliver an meaningful “fishing, boating, and aquatic resource experience” to participants at home.

The Activities & Education Portal is an expansive resource for anyone interested in aquatic resources and fishing and boating opportunities throughout the Commonwealth, which includes videos, activities, printable documents, Pennsylvania League of Angling Youth (PLAY) newsletters, crafts, coloring pages, background information, and more.  Topics featured on the portal include boating and water safety; fishing, fly fishing, and kayak fishing; habitat, watersheds, and pollution; indigenous fish species; amphibians and reptiles; and aquatic macroinvertebrates.

The portal also includes downloadable coloring pages and a variety of themed activities and education packages.  To make content more accessible to users with vision impairment, the portal also includes Read Along with the PFBC audio versions of the most popular newsletters.

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