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Numerous Awards Presented at Commission Meeting
April 13, 2012
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. – As part of its quarterly business meeting held here April 11-12, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) presented several awards to staff and partners.

On Wednesday afternoon, PFBC Executive Director John Arway presented a Special Recognition Award to Senator Richard L. Alloway, II in honor of his leadership, support, and dedicated service to the anglers, boaters, and aquatic resources of Pennsylvania. Sen. Alloway (R-Chambersburg) is chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee.

During Thursday’s formal meeting, the following awards were presented:

Special Recognition Award

Dr. Patti Vathis from the Department of Education received a special recognition award for her long-standing partnership with the PFBC. Over a 30-year period, Dr. Vathis worked with the PFBC to develop academic standards, graduate level teacher training, and other curriculum support, including the Trout in the Classroom program. Dr. Vathis is retiring from the Department of Education in June.

Special Recognition Award recipient
L-R - Carl Richardson, PFBC Education and Outreach Manager; Patti Vathis

Heroes of Water Rescue Award

The inaugural Heroes of Water Rescue Award recognizes individuals who make a significant, lasting and continuous impact in the field of water rescue as a result of the guidelines established by the PFBC’s Water Rescue program. The award is based on an extraordinary long-term commitment to the Water Rescue program, rather than an individual life-saving act.

The award was presented to Pam Eckert, who accepted it on behalf of her late husband, Thomas E. Eckert.

Heroes of Water Rescue Award recipient
L-R - Board President Robert Bachman, Pam Eckert, Board Vice President Steve Ketterer

Through his past efforts to increase awareness about the need for swiftwater and flood rescue training, Mr. Eckert inspired other individuals and organizations to embrace the Water Rescue program. Additionally, the relationships he built with the State Fire Academy have had a long-lasting impact and helped to establish the level of professionalism and credibility with which the program is viewed today.

“Although Mr. Eckert’s award is the first of the program, due to the stringent criteria for selection, the Heroes of Water Rescue Award will be seldom awarded,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “The success of the Commission’s Water Rescue Program is in the hands of our volunteer instructors. Without their efforts, there would not be a program. Water rescue training saves lives. The Commission thanks Mr. Eckert for his commitment to the program and we are pleased to present this award to his wife, Pam.”

The Pennsylvania Water Rescue Instructors Association, a professional organization of certified water rescue instructors which has long been closely affiliated with the PFBC, has generously offered to underwrite the construction of the award plaque for the PFBC lobby.

2011 Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Officer of the Year Award

Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO) Jeffrey Giardina received the 2011 Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Officer of the Year award.

2011 Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Officer of the Year Award recipient
L-R - Executive Director John Arway, WCO Jeff Giardina, Board President Robert Bachman

The PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement reviews nominations for this award in participation with the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chief's Association. Law enforcement activities, public relations and outreach, environmental protection, professional skills, job performance, and special accomplishments are key aspects in determining the award winner.

WCO Giardina serves in the Northwest Region's Mercer County. He has eight years of service as a WCO and previously served as both a volunteer deputy and a PFBC seasonal education specialist. WCO Giardina investigated a very high number of incidents during 2011. He initiated nine environmental cases; processed three boating under the influence and one driving under the influence arrests; investigated four boat accidents; identified 15 illegal drug offenses at fishing areas and boat accesses; and operated PFBC patrol boats 47 days. Superior investigator skills were evident while addressing these incidents. Additionally, his public outreach efforts and cooperation with local law enforcement were outstanding.

2011 Top Gun Award

The Top Gun award recognizes an officer's outstanding effort in detecting and apprehending impaired boaters during the past year. Waterways Conservation Officer Anthony Quarracino received the 2011 Top Gun Award for his consistent efforts in boating under the influence education and enforcement.

2011 Top Gun Award recipient
L-R - Executive Director John Arway, WCO Anthony Quarracino, Board President Robert Bachman

During the busy boating season his efforts are concentrated on the very popular Raystown Lake. WCO Quarracino began serving with the PFBC in July 2001 and is currently assigned to the Southern Huntingdon district.

Outstanding Service Award

At times, difficult issues that have nothing to do with fishing or boating occur on Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission facilities. On Jan. 19, such an incident came to the attention of Southeast Region Bureau of Law Enforcement employees. A distraught woman attempted to take her own life at Speedwell Forge Lake. The actions taken by Assistant Regional Supervisor Thomas Burrell, Waterways Conservation Officer Robert Bonney, and Region Secretary Melanie Migliaccio prevented a tragedy and the person was provided with the help needed. Their actions that day show that they are truly an asset to the PFBC and the people it serves.

Outstanding Service Award recipients
L-R - Executive Director John Arway, Assistant Regional Supervisor Tom Burrell, WCO Robert Bonney, Region Secretary Melanie Migliaccio, Board President Robert Bachman

Government Partner Award

The PFBC recently received the Government Partner Award by the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE) for its role in coordinating the Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program.

Goverment Partner Award recipients
L-R - Samantha Kutskel, PA Council of Trout Unlimited; Patti Vathis, Department of Education; Amidea Daniel, PFBC Regional Education Specialist

PAEE is a statewide organization for environmental education professionals. Several PFBC staff are members of the organization. PAEE’s Government Partner Award recognizes a government entity or official at a local, state or national level that has demonstrated significant support for environmental education within the Commonwealth.

The success of the TIC program is based on a partnership of the PFBC, PA Council of Trout Unlimited and the PA Department of Education. Amidea Daniel, Regional Education Specialist for the PFBC’s Bureau of Boating & Outreach, coordinates the Trout in the Classroom program and accepted the award at PAEE’s recent annual conference.

Media Contact
Eric Levis, Press Secretary

Anglers and boaters can sign up to receive email updates on the activities of the Fish and Boat Commission at The PFBC is also using today’s popular social media. Individuals can stay in touch by following the Commission on Twitter at and through RSS feeds at
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at
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