The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) announced that Sergeant Henry W. “Hank” Garner has been named Game Warden of the Year for 2005. The honor is the highest tribute presented by the agency to a game warden. A peer review committee comprised of past recipients of the award makes the selection.
In his 18 years with VDGIF, Hank Garner has earned numerous qualifications, and he has taken it a step farther by using these skills to train other officers. In 1998 he became certified as a SCUBA Underwater Criminal Investigator; in 2000, a SCUBA master diver; and in 2001, SCUBA Assistant Instructor. He has served on the Department’s Dive Team and has been an assistant diving instructor.
He attended the Underwriter’s Laboratories Advance Boating Investigator’s School and the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Wildlife Forensics Training. Taking what he learned from that program he developed a curriculum to instruct fellow wardens in time of death determination techniques that are now part of the Basic Academy training. His time of death determination training has already resulted in several convictions.
Sgt. Garner has served as a Field Training Officer for nine years, since the inception of that program, acting as a leader and a mentor for the officers in the Middle Peninsula region. In addition, he has served as a Boating Safety Instructor and is a Master Hunter Education Instructor.
Throughout his career Hank has been recognized for his leadership qualities and accomplishments. In 1993-94, he served on the Governor’s COMMAND Drug Task Force for the Tidewater region. In 1996, he became a certified Boating Safety Instructor by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. In 2001, he was asked to sit on a panel of experts sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education to evaluate, to revise, and to develop specific tasks used in high school Law/Forensics curriculum throughout the Commonwealth.
Hank resides in Walkerton with his wife, Paula, and their four children. He is active in his church, Christ Community Church in Glen Allen, and community. He serves on the Mattaponi Volunteer Rescue Squad Water Safety Dive/Rescue Team since 1999. He is a Class 2 Emergency Vehicle Operator Instructor and has certified approximately 50 EMS drivers on the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula to operate Class 2 ambulances. Hank developed and teaches a program on Ice Rescue and has delivered that to 50 EMS personnel in King William and King and Queen counties. This is just a small list of his community involvement.
Hank Garner is constantly striving to better himself through education and training. Both new and seasoned officers often seek him out for his advice and counsel. Over the years, Sgt. Hank Garner has earned the admiration and respect of his fellow officers, of other agencies, and of the community. It is because of this dedication and leadership he has been named the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Game Warden of the Year for 2005.