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DNR selects 2008 Georgia boating officer of the year

POSTED: February 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Search and rescue incidents, boating violation citations and boating safety education are just some of the responsibilities of the Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division boating officers.
WRD recently selected Ranger First Class Byron Young as the 2008 Georgia Boating Officer of the Year for his performance as a boating safety officer on Lake Allatoona.
"RFC Young performed exceptionally well in all areas of boating safety in 2007," WRD chief of law enforcement Col. Terry West said. "I commend Young for his efforts to go the extra mile to protect and educate Georgia's ever-increasing boating public."
As a boating safety officer on Lake Allatoona, Young has witnessed the tragic effects of drownings and body recovery.  Because recovery is often a lengthy and emotional process, Young realized that the Division needed specialized equipment to aid in the search and recovery process.  Realizing this, he worked with a local fishing guide to have high-definition, side-scan sonar equipment donated and installed on a law enforcement patrol boat for emergency use.
Since the installation of the device, Young used the equipment a total of 14 times to locate items for the FBI, for search and rescue incidents, night navigation and body recovery efforts.
In addition, Young also concentrated on boating safety education. He provided eight ride-a-longs to Atlanta news media to get the message of boating safety out to the public.  He also worked with the organization,
Safe Kids of Cherokee County and coordinated the donation of 120 infant and children personal floatation devices to be used for distribution during routine water patrols.
Young was involved in a number of search and rescue missions and also responded to 36 stranded boaters who called for assistance due to mechanical and navigation light problems at all hours of the day and night.
Young will receive recognition from the Southern States Boating Law Administrators Association this spring, and will be a candidate for the SSBLAA and the National State Boating Law Administrators 2008 Butch Potts Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year honors.
Additional WRD rangers were nominated for the award by their supervisors for their outstanding work in 2007.  They are; RFC Mark Stephens of Gainesville, RFC Robert Timmerman of Thomson, RFC Mitch Oliver of Macon and Cpl. Cindy Miller of Brunswick.
For more information on the award, call the WRD law enforcement headquarters office at (770) 918-6408.

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