Sometimes, it’s personal.
So I am especially pleased that Ohio Wildlife Investigator Brian Bury, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, has been name Wildlife Officer of the Year by Wildlife Officer Lodge 143, of the Fraternal Order of Police of the State of Ohio.
The Ohio DNR, in announcing the award, said that Bury was among six other wildlife officers and investigators throughout Ohio nominated for the honor.
The department said that Bury’s “dedication to the wildlife resource and his fellow officers does not go unnoticed.” He serves as a field training officer, and frequently works with wildlife officers from around the state to give them an opportunity to work on Lake Erie.
But the rest of the story is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Bury once was state wildlife officer assigned to my homeland – Sandusky County. He was the epitome of what a wildlife officer should be. Hard-working, dedicated, innovative, responsive.
A friend, but a professional. I well remember when he once went out of his way, on a Sunday, to help me with a woodchuck problem at Froggy Bottom, and he always replied in timely fashion to my occasional inquiries about certain county wildlife happenings.
For many years, he organized the Sandusky River clean-up in the City of Fremont, which resulted in city dump-truck loads of trash removed from its banks. Bury showed up and picked up trash with the rest of us, including litter and spent wads and tangles of fishing line left by anglers in the spring walleye and white bass runs.
One time an investigation headed by Bury brought three convictions against a commercial fishing company, which led to the company being fined $3,000 within a 20-day suspension of its fishing operation.
Bury joined the wildlife division in 1997, where he held several seasonal and intern positions. In 2003, he graduated from the state wildlife officer training academy and was assigned to Sandusky County. He served the county for 10 years before being promoted to his current post as state wildlife investigator in 2013.
He currently resides in Sandusky County with his wife, Stephanie.
I can attest that they are avid anglers who enjoy the outdoors as much as Bury works for the good of the outdoors. I am sure that every wildlife officer of the year chosen by the FOP Lodge is just as deserving as Bury.
But, like I said, this one was personal. My hope is that you get to know a state wildlife officer like him, as I have. These men and women are the cream of the crop, often underappreciated from above and below and outside.
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