Recognition & Awards

On March 30, 2018, the Maine Warden Service celebrated its 138th Anniversary at the Winslow VFW. Included in the celebration was the annual awards banquet that gives special recognition to game wardens for their performance in 2017 and includes the recipient of the Maine Game Warden of the Year Award. Also highlighted are 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.

The work of Maine's game wardens is diverse and challenging and takes place during the best and worst of weather conditions. Achievements that were recognized included incidents where human lives were saved. Other examples highlighted the conservation of Maine's resources in ways deserving of special recognition. The Maine Warden Service is proud to be able to honor game wardens that made a distinct difference in people's lives and for conserving Maine's natural resources in 2017. The following were recipients of this year's annual awards.

2017 Maine Game Warden of the Year

Game Warden Eric Blanchard 

Recipient: Game Warden Eric Blanchard (Wells)

Game Warden Eric Blanchard began his game warden career in 1999 and has consistently demonstrated an ability to balance specialty team assignments, unusually high calls for service to the public while successfully enforcing hunting, fishing, trapping, recreational vehicle laws, engaging in search and rescue operations, training as well as public speaking and educational events.

Game Warden Eric Blanchard balances his career with strong family values and lives with his wife, daughter and bird hunting dog at their home in Wells. This balance and focus can only be accomplished by a person who is extremely organized and continuously strives for excellence. For these reasons, Game Warden Eric Blanchard was awarded the 2017 Game Warden of the Year.

*The Game Warden of the Year Award shall be presented to any member of Warden Service who, consistently in the past has conducted themselves in such a manner as to display an exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement, management, community and public relations and all aspects of a game warden's duties and during the past year has performed in a manner that reflects continued performance in this manner.

2017 Supervisor of the Year

Sergeant Jason Luce

Recipient: Sergeant Jason Luce (Sebago)

Warden Sergeant Jason Luce began his career as a game warden in 1999 and has distinguished himself as a supervisor, as a warden and as a friend. His desire to move the agency in the right direction along with his strong attributes of professionalism, job knowledge and leadership certainly make Sergeant Jason Luce deserving of recognition as Supervisor of the Year.

As one game warden stated, "…Sergeant Luce is definitely someone I want to mirror my career after. He has earned the trust and respect of wardens because they can turn to him for any reason for direction, information, or help." 

*The Outstanding Supervisor Award is presented annually to the supervisory officer who has demonstrated superior knowledge and leadership in the area of conservation law enforcement supervision and by doing so has gained the respect of administrators, supervisors, fellow officers, other Department employees, other agencies and the public regarding expertise and performance in the field of supervision. 

2017 Legendary Game Warden Award:Game Warden Supervisor John Crabtree

Recipient: Retired (1956-1985) Game Warden Supervisor John Crabtree (Warren)

Retired Lt. John Crabtree began his career with the Maine Warden Service in 1956 starting out as a deputy game warden. In June of 1963 John became employed full time to the Warden Service. John Crabtree was promoted to inspector, now called sergeant, in 1970. In 1976 John Crabtree left Aroostook County to work out of Augusta. In 1981 Crabtree was promoted to Division B (Sidney) Lieutenant. Lt. Crabtree retired in 1985 after being credited with 25 years of service. 

In 1987 Crabtree was selected to serve on the Commissioner's Advisory Council. He termed out after serving two 2-year terms. Crabtree was appointed to the Commissioner's Advisory Board for the Licensing of Guides in 2003 and is still a member of the board, and an examiner. Crabtree is on the board of directors of the newly created Maine Warden Service Foundation.

At age 82, John is truly a remarkable individual. His zeal and continued service to the Department and State remain unabated. It is a great pleasure that we award Retired Game Warden Lieutenant John Crabtree the 2018 Legendary Game Warden Award.

*The Legendary Game Warden of the Year award shall be presented to any retired member of the Maine Warden Service who, consistently in the past, conducted themselves in such a manner as to display exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement and since retiring has continued to provide a passion for meeting the goals and mission of the MWS

2017 K9 Search and Rescue of the Year Award

Recipient: Game Warden Kevin Pelkey & K9 Badger (Corinth) - K9 Badger/Posthumously 2010-2018

Recognized for a July 24, 2017 search for saving the life of a missing 14-year-old boy in T6 R13, west of Chamberlain Lake and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Sadly, K9 Badger died this year on February 1 at the age of seven from illness.

2017 K9 Conservation Case of the Year Award

Recipient: Game Warden Dave Chabot & K9 Ruby (Greene)
Recognized for their evidence search efforts regarding a case in the town of Paris On November 8, 2017. Corporal Chabot and K9 Ruby located critical evidence at the scene of a shooting too close to a dwelling incident that involved an elderly assisted-living apartment building. Charges were filed to the responsible party because of their evidence detection.

2017 Meritorious Service Award

Game Warden Alan Dudley (Easton)

Recognized for risking 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.

2017 Exemplary Service Awards

Game Warden Tony Gray (Oxford)
Recognized for his fall 2017 investigative and enforcement efforts to include managing two hunting related shooting incidents as well as great work apprehending intentional violators for a variety of hunting related cases during the fall 2017 hunting seasons.

Game Warden James Gushee (Fort Kent)
Recognized for saving a man's life on October 19th, 2017 in the town of Waterboro. The man was attempting to take his own life and the quick actions of Game Warden Gushee prevented this from occurring. The man is now doing well thanks to the actions of Game Warden James Gushee.

Game Warden Will Shuman (St. Albans)
Recognized for his excellent conservation law enforcement efforts in the Dexter patrol during 2017.

Game Warden Scott Martin (Patten)
Recognized for his efforts locating a runaway nine-year-old boy on March 10, 2017 near Millinocket during subzero temperatures. Game Warden Martin's diligence and tracking experience likely saved the boy's life and he is recognized for his efforts.

Game Warden Joseph Bailey (Milford)
Recognized for his thorough investigation of a very complex fatal ATV related crash that took place on May 27, 2017 in the town of Lowell.

Game Warden Corporal Dave Chabot (Greene)
Recognized for his commitment to his patrol area but also keeping his K-9 Ruby trained to a high standard and his willingness to help other game wardens and law enforcement agencies.  His ability to be a team player, his quick thinking, training, and experience as a K-9 handler reflects upon the inherent quality, dedication, and support he provides to the Maine Warden Service.

Game Wardens Jonathan Parker (Milford), Jared Herrick (Harmony) and Will Shuman (St. Albans)
Recognized for their efforts regarding a complex smelt investigation in Dexter that included apprehending intentional violators of Maine's natural resources.

Game Warden Evan Franklin (Brunswick)
Recognized for his life-saving efforts for a missing 73-year-old woman in Wayne on July 14, 2017.

Game Warden Andrew Smart (Unity)

Recognized for a May 2017 fishing investigation in Unity that ultimately convicted an intentional violator of Maine's laws regarding native brook trout. This complaint generated from Maine Operation Game Thief.

Game Wardens Joey Lefebvre (Damariscotta), Mark Merrifield (Union) and Doug Kulis (Georgetown)

Recognized for their efforts stemming from a tip from Maine Operation Game Thief on November 24, 2017 regarding the illegal killing of whitetail deer in the Jefferson area. A total of nine illegal deer were seized with violations that included exceeding the bag limit on deer, false registration of deer, failing to register deer, hunting deer after having killed one, illegal transportation of deer, and several other civil hunting infractions. 

Game Warden Paul Mason (Sebec)

Recognized for his investigative efforts surrounding an illegal deer hunting case near the town of Brownville. The investigation ultimately charged four men with violations that included possession of firearm by felon, fraudulent purchasing a license, placing deer bait, hunting without a valid license and unsworn falsification. 

Game Warden Jim Davis (East Millinocket)

Recognized for his investigative efforts regarding a 2017 closed season deer case in Molunkus.

Game Warden John Carter (Orrington)

Recognized for his extensive conservation law enforcement efforts in the Hancock County area for the year 2017.

Game Warden Bob Decker (Bowdoinham) 

Recognized for his outstanding field performance and teamwork efforts put forward during a horse shooting investigation, which took place during the 2017 deer hunting season in the town of Bowdoinham.

Game Wardens Jeremy Judd (Mechanic Falls) and Neal Wykes (Naples)

Recognized for their professionalism and leadership efforts during a very complex May 27, 2017 investigation and search involving two boating related fatalities on the Saco River in Fryeburg. 

Game Warden divers Tony Gray (Oxford), Bob Johansen (Millinocket), Rick Ouellette (Hermon), Kyle Hladik (New Vineyard), Jeremy Kemp (Sangerville), Dive Team LeaderCorporal Mike Joy (South Berwick) and Sergeant Bruce Loring (Enfield)

Recognized for their outstanding work regarding an 11-day Dive Team recovery effort for three men who drowned on Square Lake in Aroostook County on June 13, 2017. All three men were recovered because of the dive team's tireless efforts and skill during poor weather and dangerous water conditions.

Retired Game Warden Pilot Gary Dumond (Eagle Lake)

Recognized for his November 2017 honor as last year's FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award and Pilot Dumond's continued loyal service to the Maine Warden 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 of Maine. 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.

Retired Game Warden Pilot Gary Dumond received the FAA's Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award given at Old Town, Maine in November of 2017. The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award 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 is named after the Wright Brothers, the first US pilots, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as "Master Pilots". Gary lives with his wife Pauline in Eagle Lake and remains as passionate about airplanes and flying as ever.

2017 Maine Warden Association Merit Awards

Paul Reynolds (Dayton) 

Paul is an artist in the taxidermy world, an enormous supporter of Maine OGT, and an enormous supporter of the Maine Warden Service. He conducts himself professionally and has dedicated himself to the Maine Warden Service. Paul goes above the ordinary course of duty to support the Maine Warden Service in its mission. We would like to issue Paul a Merit Award for his meritorious conduct in his performance of outstanding service.

Scott Brown (Awarded posthumously – Morrill) 

The Maine Warden Service Association would like to recognize Scott Brown of Morrill and his family with the 2017 MWSA Merit Award for his dedicated and loyal partnership with the Maine Warden Service and the promotion of our mission in conservation law enforcement. Scott lost an extremely courageous battle with cancer earlier this winter.  His loss has been extremely difficult for his family, friends, and the community in which he lived and worked.  The outpouring of support from the community during this tough time is a testament to the type of person that Scott was and the respect that he earned during his lifetime. 

*The MWSA Merit Award provides recognition to a civilian(s) for highly meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service. For the purpose of this award, conduct above the ordinary course of duty, when a civilian, because of individual or team initiative, courage and diligence, provides assistance with the goals and mission of the Maine Warden Service.

2017 Colonel Joel T. Wilkinson – Colonel's Award

MDIFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock

Recipient: Chandler Woodcock (Commissioner, MDIFW - Farmington) 

At this year's awards ceremony, Colonel Joel Wilkinson presented Commissioner Chandler Woodcock with the 2017 Colonel's Award and had these words to share. "The Commissioner demonstrates a love for family and a commitment to such that should be a model for all. He is a person who truly models the way of leadership through their actions and words, not words alone. The Commissioner appreciates the role, understands the impact and always treats all staff fairly and looks at the big picture. When the Commissioner chooses to leave state service, his replacement will have very large shoes to fill. It is a great pleasure to present the 2017 Colonel's Award to my boss and a true friend to fish and wildlife, Chandler E. Woodcock." 

*Presented annually, by the Chief Game Warden, to an individual or individuals whom the Colonel has determined have provided distinguished support and/or service to the Maine Warden Service and/or its mission.