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CPW honors 'Officer of the Year,' 'Ranger of the Year' plus 'Career Achievement,' 'Exceptional Service' and 'Life Saving' award winners
CPW News Release
March 8, 2018

CPW presents 2017 Officer of the Year, Ranger of the Year, Career Achievement, Exceptional Service and Life Saving awards

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that Casey Westbrook was selected last month as the agency’s 2017 John D. Hart Wildlife Officer of the Year and Eric Grey was the 2017 Ranger of the Year.

The awards are given annually to officers who demonstrate exceptional service and exemplify the qualities of commitment to preserving and enhancing Colorado's natural resources, wildlife, State Parks, deep knowledge and expertise in biology, science, social mores, leadership, law enforcement and park or wildlife management, and the respect of his or her peers. These awards recognize the skills, diplomacy and strong public service ethic required of our officers.

Westbrook is a district wildlife manager in Elizabeth in Area 5 of the Northeast Region. The John D. Hart Wildlife Officer of the Year Award was named after a legendary wildlife officer who retired as the agency's assistant director in 1959.

Grey is the park manager at Boyd Lake State Park near Loveland in the Northeast Region. The Ranger of the Year Award originated in 1986 and the recipient is selected by fellow state park officers.

Larry Rogstad received the 2017 Cliff Coghill Career Achievement Award from the Colorado Wildlife Employees Protective Association (CWEPA), the fraternal organization for wildlife officers. This award recognizes Colorado wildlife officers who have provided 20 years or more of dedicated service to the state’s wildlife resources.

Rogstad has served since 1981. The award is named in honor of Cliff Coghill, former “game warden” in Gunnison who retired in 1997 after a distinguished 47 year career with Colorado Game and Fish Department, Colorado Game, Fish and Parks Department and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Additionally, one park officer received an exceptional service award and five wildlife officers received life-saving awards.

Steamboat Lake Park Ranger Josh Stoudt received the Colorado State Parks Employee Protective Association Exceptional Service Award for his role rescuing a hypothermic duck hunter whose canoe capsized in severe weather Oct. 16, 2016. After obtaining a rescue boat and braving 3-foot white cap waves, Stoudt improvised a harness to pull the victim from the water.

CWEPA Life Saving Awards were given to wildlife officers Pepper Canterbury and Adam Gerstenberger, who were credited with saving an archery hunter who was stricken with high altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema in the Routt National Forest in North Park.

Another officer honored by CWEPA was Cody Purcell, who rescued a hunter who had fallen, suffered a serious leg injury and was badly bleeding. Purcell performed first aid and built large fires as weather conditions deteriorated to keep the victim warm until medical help arrived.

Finally, Officers Jordan DePriest and Rick Gardner were honored for rescuing three people stranded on an island in the Arkansas River near La Junta amid rising floodwaters. De Priest and Gardner obtained an inflatable boat and made three trips through the strong current in the dark to rescue two boys, ages 10 and 12, and a 19-year-old man.

For more information on CPW law enforcement officers and park rangers, visit CPW’s website.