Friday, November 26, 2010

Wildlife War Is Not Over Yet

The first game warden murdered in the US was under the employ of the Audubon Society working on Pelican Island in Florida. The latest was a Warden in my birth state of Pennsylvania. We should never forget there is a "thin green line" of dedicated folks out there protecting our wildlife from the greedy, the lazy and the criminal.

BY JOHN MESSEDER, Gettysburg Times – Nov. 22, 2010
The call went out over the radio for the officer identified as 4-16.
“Sir, there is no response from 4-1-6.”
“Please take 4-1-6, Wildlife Conservation officer David Grove, Badge Number J2038, out of service for the final time. Radio Call 4-1-6 shall be retired forever.”
Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer David L. Grove, was shot and killed at 10:38 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11, by a man thought to have been poaching deer.
The dialog retiring Grove’s radio call identifier and badge number was recited Sunday evening, as he was interred at Green Hill Cemetery, in Waynesboro.
About 2,000 people filled the Waynesboro Senior High School auditorium Sunday afternoon for the funeral service. A lone bagpiper, WCO Jack Lucas led a detail of fellow Wildlife Conservation Officers into the auditorium, carrying Grove’s flag-draped coffin.
A childhood friend, Josh Miles recalled Grove’s deep laugh, which he described as “more like a chuckle, that came all the way down from his toes, … pounding his fist on the table, wondering if he was going to be OK.”
“I’ll never forget that laugh,” Josh said. “I never want anyone … to forget that laugh.”
Another close friend talked of taking Grove to his first ice hockey game, and making him a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
“(Grove) love-hate relationship with the game of golf,” Tony Myers said. “It was the only time he tried to not spend too much time in the woods.”
David’s brother, Chad, in a voice broken by tears and sniffs, described the brother with whom he went to school, hunted and fished, and got into mischief, “and also the discipline that followed those (latter) events.”
After recalling his brother’s relationship of support with the children in his family, “It will be hard to watch them grow without you there,” he said to his departed brother.
WCO Kris Krebs worked with Grove in Centre County, and during his turn to talk at the funeral called him “brother officer (and) closest friend.”
The night Grove was shot, Krebs said he was waiting for dinner to be served to himself and other officers in a Denny’s restaurant when he talked with Grove by phone.
“You know, real game wardens aren’t sitting in a booth in Denny’s,” Grove told his friends.
Dinner was served, the phone call ended.
A few hours later, Grove was dead.
Grove’s pastors described the intense faith, in a life that included two years at Appalachian Bible College before he switched to become a Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer.
“It wasn’t something he did to earn money, but something he felt called to do,” said Pastor Brad Heacock.
At the end of the service, an otherwise silent audience punctuated a video of Grove’s life with sniffles and stifled coughs, and a piano accompanied “Amazing Grace.”
Gov. Ed Rendell, who had attended in silence, and was not introduced, left the auditorium quietly.
Outside, more well-wishers lined both sides of the two-mile long route from the high school to Green Hill Cemetery. The procession required nearly an hour to enter the cemetery, where Grove was saluted, words of faith were spoken, a Pa. State Police helicopter executed a flyover, and Grove’s radio call and badge number were “retired forever.”
The suspect in Grove’s killing was arrested Nov. 12. District Attorney Shawn Wagner has said he likely will seek the death penalty; killing a police officer is one of a limited number of convictions that carry that penalty in Pennsylvania.
Grove was the first Pennsylvania game warden killed in the line of duty in 95 years.

2 comments:

  1. yes, our wardens deal with potential sociopaths all the time - while they are armed. Protecting our fish and wildlife resources in a way like no other.

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