by Cindi Giovo
On Saturday, April 14, the Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs held their annual banquet at Scriba Fire Station. The federation was incorporated in 1948 and presently has the following officers: President Chuck Parker; Vice President Eric Madura and George Gibbs who holds both offices of secretary and treasurer. The federation’s board of directors are: Bill Wilbur, Rick McDermott, Skip Gepner, Fran Yerdon, Hal Smith, Ken Burd and Charlie Gibbs.
During the social hour sportsmen, their families, guests, Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Steve Wowelko from Onondaga County Sportsmen Federation and various Oswego County officials were convening, socializing and participating in door prizes, a 50/50 raffle and coffee can drawings (the items were donated by generous members and local businesses).
The Mexico ROTC was on hand to greet participants and assist in the serving, cleaning up and delivering of the drawings to the happy winners sitting at the tables. The ROTC members were Jon Douglas, Josh Bateman, Amanda Owen, Alexandria Courtwright, Chris Plaza, Tyler Daniels and Jonathan Scherieble.
Guests from the state legislature were Assemblyman Will Barclay who represents the New York state 124th Assembly District; Assemblyman Bob Oakes from the New York state 128th District; New York state Senate District 48 had Senator Ritchie’s aide, Stephanie Andrews present at the banquet along with Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, who is covering the New York state Congressional District no. 25 (which has been newly redistricted to include parts of Oswego County). While initially mentioning operation fast and furious, Republican Buerkle had this to say to the crowd, “It’s an honor to be here and to be able to cover my new area of Oswego County. I also would like to say thank you to the veterans who are here tonight, who have supported and defended our country. Thank you.”
Oswego County legislators in attendance were as follow: Chairman Fred Beardsley who is from district no. 9; Chairwoman Linda Lockwood from district no. 11; Margaret Kastler represents district no. 1; Terry Wilbur from district no. 21; Milferd Potter of district no. 2; retired Oswego County legislator Barbara Brown and including Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd added to the list of guests.
Two tables were set up as displays to present two Oswego County individuals that were of interest to the federation. One was a tribute to Neil Duell also known as “Old Hickory” who passed away on Thursday, April 5. He was a soldier and a POW; husband, father, grandfather and a long time honored member of the Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs as well as a life long and one of the oldest residents of New Haven.
The other display was of a young female college student by the name of Annie Jardin; who graduated from Mexico high school in 2009 and it just so happens she has a quest to be a 2016 Olympic trap shooting hopeful in the women’s division. While Annie was attending college at Paul Smith in the Adirondacks her parents, Ron and Rita Jardin attended the banquet and spoke briefly about Annie’s journey thus far as a national qualifier and her ultimate quest for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
At the end of the evening, various presenters spoke and presented awards to the following: Law Enforcement Award was presented by Roy Abbott, who spoke briefly about Lt Jim Reitmeier, an officer for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in Syracuse and resident of New Haven.
Mike Cali presented the Educator Award to Chris Nutter, who received his Eagle Scout Award at an early age and continued to strive as a hunter, and bow hunter instructor.
Club of the Year was awarded to the Salmon River Strutters and presented to their president William Wilbur by Charlie Gibbs.
Mike Cali presented the Friend of the Sportsmen Federation to Rick McDermott for his many years of dedication.
The president of the federation, Chuck Parker spoke about the Media Award and named the monthly newspaper: The New York State Conservation Council Grassroots News with their dedicated office staff members:
Pat Dudeck and Julie Panko for the behind the scenes construction of the monthly setup, editing and production of the newspaper.
Lastly, NYS Assemblyman Will Barclay spoke and presented the Oswego County Sportsmen Federation Conservationist of the Year award to George Gibbs.
The evening wouldn’t be complete without the dedication and umpteen hours of creating the traditional woodsy quilt by Gerry Burd of Redfield Fish and Game Club that was won by Tom Merchant through the unique card game instituted by the club and enjoyed by all. With the many compliments about her generosity, quality and devotion in making the many quilts for the annual banquets, Burd smiled and explained, “I am always happy to donate the time and effort. This year’s quilt had 564 pieces that covered the front.”