Winfield resident Neil Smith receives 2006 statewide award

The Advisory Committee to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) Hunter Education Program has named Neil Smith, Winfield, the 2006 Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. An instructor since 2001, Smith has taught and organized classes in Cowley and Sumner counties.

"In nearly six years, Neil has consistently spread the gospel for conservation and hunter education in his workplace, among friends, and among various community organizations," said Alyce Harris, Region 4 area coordinator, in nominating Smith. "He has opened the world of hunting to literally hundreds of certified students, conducted Women On Target events, and assisted with classes wherever he has been needed. Neil is truly a good and dedicated instructor and a friend to instructors and students alike."

Smith spent more than 23 years as a tank commander and military explosive ordinance disposal expert in the Army before retiring to work as a computer classroom manager. During his tenure as a volunteer hunter education instructor, he has conducted Young Hunter Education Challenges, safety fairs, and range officer training classes, and worked closely with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He also conducts shotgun and home firearm safety classes.

A National Rifle Association certified shotgun instructor, Smith is also a recipient of the KDWP Hunter Education Program's Order of the Buffalo, a peer-recognition honor awarded annually by fellow instructors.

In addition to Smith's award, exceptional instructors in four of KDWP's five regions were named Regional Instructors of the Year. These include the following:

  • Region 1 -- Aaron Feist, Sharon Springs;
  • Region 2 -- Jerry Trudell, Lenexa;
  • Region 3 -- Jeff Sharp, Holcomb; and
  • Region 5 -- Jerry Howarter, Garnett.

Smith received a Beretta A391 12-gauge shotgun with his award, and the regional honorees each received Henry Golden Boy .22 caliber rifles.