Warden Service marks 138th year, honors its own

WINSLOW, Maine — The Maine Warden Service celebrated its 138th anniversary Friday, March 30, at the Winslow VFW. The annual awards banquet recognized game wardens for their performance in 2017 and included the recipient of the Maine Game Warden of the Year Award.

Awardees included those who assist the Maine Warden Service during the course of their mission, the Legendary Game Warden of the Year, Game Warden Supervisor of the Year, and the Colonel’s Award, as well as a number of service awards.

Three of those recognized are from Aroostook County.

Game Warden Alan Dudley of Easton received the 2017 Meritorious Service Award forisking his own life by jumping into the icy spring waters of the Aroostook River to attempt to save the life of a young boy on June 10, 2017.

Game Warden James Gushee of Fort Kent received a 2017 Exemplary Service Award for saving a man’s life on Oct. 19, 2017 in Waterboro. The man was attempting to take his own life and Gushee’s quick actions prevented this from occurring. The man is now doing well.

Retired Game Warden Pilot Gary Dumond of Eagle Lake also earned an Exemplary Service Award in honor of his selection as last year’s FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot and for his continued loyal service.

Dumond served with the Maine Warden Service from 1972 to 1992 as a game warden pilot. He has continued to fly with the Warden Service on an as-needed basis as a reserve pilot and instructor, more recently over the last year. Dumond flew helicopters in Vietnam prior to flying for the state. He has accumulated 21,000 hours of safe flying over his lifetime and has been responsible for saving many lives and locating many lost persons.

He received the Master Pilot Award in Old Town in November 2017, which is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. This award recognizes individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as master pilots. Dumond lives with his wife Pauline in Eagle Lake and remains as passionate about airplanes and flying as ever.

A warden dive team was recognized for its work in Aroostook County last year. Game Warden divers Tony Gray (Oxford), Bob Johansen (Millinocket), Rick Ouellette (Hermon), Kyle Hladik (New Vineyard), Jeremy Kemp (Sangerville), Dive Team Leader Corporal Mike Joy (South Berwick) and Sergeant Bruce Loring (Enfield) earned Exemplary Service Awards for outstanding work in an 11-day recovery effort for three men who drowned on Square Lake on June 13, 2017. The divers recovered all three despite poor weather and dangerous water conditions.

In other awards, Game Warden Eric Blanchard of Wells was named the 2017 Maine Game Warden of the Year, with Sgt. Jason Luce of Sebago earning the Outstanding Supervisor Award.

The 2017 Legendary Game Warden Award went to retired Game Warden Supervisor John Crabtree of Warren, who served from 1956-1985.

The 2017 K9 Search and Rescue of the Year Award went to Game Warden Kevin Pelkey and K9 Badger  of Corinth. Badger was honored posthumously, as he died this year on February 1 at the age of seven from illness.

The 2017 K9 Conservation Case of the Year Award went to Game Warden Dave Chabot and K9 Ruby of Greene.

Exemplary Service Awards also went to: Game Warden Tony Gray (Oxford); Game Warden Will Shuman (St. Albans); Game Warden Scott Martin (Patten); Game Warden Joseph Bailey (Milford); Game Warden Corporal Dave Chabot (Greene); Game Wardens Jonathan Parker (Milford), Jared Herrick (Harmony) and Will Shuman (St. Albans); Game Warden Evan Franklin (Brunswick); Game Warden Andrew Smart (Unity); Game Wardens Joey Lefebvre (Damariscotta), Mark Merrifield (Union) and

Doug Kulis (Georgetown); Game Warden Paul Mason (Sebec); Game Warden Jim Davis (East Millinocket); Game Warden John Carter (Orrington); Game Warden Bob Decker (Bowdoinham); and Game Wardens Jeremy Judd (Mechanic Falls) and Neal Wykes (Naples)

2017 Maine Warden Association Merit Awards went to Paul Reynolds (Dayton) and Scott Brown (posthumously) of Morrill.

Finally, the 2017 Colonel Joel T. Wilkinson – Colonel’s Award went to Chandler Woodcock of Farmington, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

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