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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

May 5, 2016DNR recognizes hunter education, youth hunt volunteers

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Education section recently held its Annual Hunter Education Volunteer of the Year Banquet. The banquet recognized volunteers who assist in teaching hunter education classes and mentor on youth hunts.

The department recognized all the volunteers that have put in many hours for youth education around the state during a banquet in Columbia on April 28. Donald Beckwith of Region 1 & 3 was recognized as the recipient of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2016 William W. Matthews Jr. Take One Make One (TOMO) Volunteer of the Year Award. Albert Crowley of Chesterfield County was recognized as the 2016 State Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.

The William W. Matthews Jr. TOMO Volunteer of the Year, Don Beckwith, joined the TOMO program this year. Beckwith serves as the warden at the Wateree Correctional Institute near Sumter. During this past year, Beckwith organized six TOMO youth hunts at the Wateree Prison: one dove hunt, four deer hunts, and one squirrel hunt. He also hosted a Wounded Warrior hunt on the property. Beckwith arranged lunch to be provided and time for youth to participate in some range time to practice their marksmanship. He has tirelessly donated his time, effort, and talent for the advancement of the program. He always has a positive attitude and professional demeanor. He relates well not only to the youth participants, but to their parents and others attending hunts. DNR Sgt. Eddie Monts described Don with these words: “Don has tireless energy…he has great patience with the youth and their parents alike, and always remind them that safety come first in all aspects of the hunt.”

Albert Crowley was recognized as the State Hunter Education Volunteer and Region 2 Volunteer (Chesterfield, Marlboro, Dillon, Marion, Florence, Darlington, Williamsburg). During the past year, Crowley has conducted or participated in a total of 15 hunter education courses. He also continues to serve as a TOMO mentor and assisted in two TOMO hunts in 2015. Crowley participated as a line judge at one of the Archery Regionals this past year and stood on the line all three days of the State Archery in Schools Tournament. He also volunteered at the Pee Dee Deer Classic and served as an assistant instructor at the annual range day at McBee High School. Crowley can always be counted on to assist when needed.

Other regional volunteers were also recognized for their dedication:

The TOMO program, operated through DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, specifically targets youth and young adults who have not experienced a previous shooting or hunting activity, but welcomes any participants. Participants are paired with volunteer hunting club members and private landowners who sponsor and actively participate in a year-round hunting, fishing, and shooting sports mentorship program. For more information on TOMO, to enroll as a student, or for information on how to become an adult sponsor and mentor call toll free 1-800-277-4301.

All residents and nonresidents born after June 30, 1979, must complete a hunter education course before a hunting license can be obtained. To find a class or to volunteer call 1-800-277-4301.

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