Jim Rich of Mohave Valley named Hunter Education Instructor of the Year

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission announced 14 recipients of the 2022 Commission Awards at its Sept. 9 meeting in Pinetop, Arizona.

The awards recognize Arizonans who have contributed significantly to the conservation of the state’s wildlife, its outdoor heritage and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

This year’s recipients are:

– Award of Excellence – Brian McIntyre, Cochise County Attorney’s Office

– Youth Conservationist of the Year – Gila Ridge High School FFA Agricultural Mechanical Team

– Media of the Year – Robbie Kroger, Blood Origins

– Conservation Organization of the Year – Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society

– Conservationist of the Year – Don McDowell

National Resource Professional of the Year – Scott Feldhausen

– Volunteer of the Year – Doug Beach

– Educator of the Year – Kathy Balman

– Mentor of the Year – Gabriel Paz

– Advocate of the Year – Sen. David Gowan

– Business Partner of the Year – KUIU

– Buck Appleby Hunter Education Instructor of the Year – Jim Rich

– Wildlife Habitat Steward of the Year – Scott and Dawn Dunton, Dunton Ranch

– North American Model Commissioner’s Award – Kelly Alkhoury

The awards will be presented at the Commission’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Grande Ballroom at 11111 N. 7th Street in Phoenix.

The first Commission Awards event was held in January, 1991.

Since then, nearly 400 recipients have been recognized for their dedicated work toward securing Arizona’s wildlife for generations to come.

For Mohave Valley resident Jim Rich, this marks the second time he has received the award for Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. Rich received his first Instructor of the Year award in 2013.

Rich said receiving the award for a second time came as “a surprise.”

“I don’t think anyone has ever been a repeat recipient of the award. There are so many deserving instructors. My stubbornness to keep pushing forward through the pandemic and the renewal likely was noted. It’s humbling,” he said.

Rich credited others for his success. “It only happens because of a team of really excellent instructor that allow me to organize our efforts and the cooperation we get from the TSSP and 7 Mile Hill Range.”

(The Arizona Department of Game and Fish contributed to this article.)

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