Our First Responder Heroes for this month are Wildlife Officers

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JASPER, Tennessee (WDEF) – First Responders are the highly trained people who usually see us on one of the worst days of our life.

And they come in a variety of specialties.

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T-W-R-A agents are First Responders, too.

And tonight, we recognize two of them, whose work has made a difference.

Here’s News 12’s Bill Mitchell with our First Responder of the Month award.

These two Tennessee Wildlife Resource officers have a combined total of 45 years of service to the people of Marion County.

Officer Russell Vandergriff was recently named Wildlife Officer of the year, and Officer Marty Griffith received the Gideon D. Petit Award from the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

So…What do they do all day at Nickajack lake and the surrounding forests?

“just working outdoors. It’s something different every day…Marion county where I’m assigned to is a great county to be in.”

Officer Vandergriff is usually first on the scene of a boating accident, a rescue operation, a drowning or stranded boaters. And he’s in the woods in the fall and winter. It’s a people job.

“dealing with the public..you never know what to expect. Nothing ever surprises me any more..good or bad.”

Officer Marty Griffith would rather talk about his partner, than himself. But..he’s an award winner, and we insisted.

“on the water you have, unfortunately, things like boating accidents..stuff you have to work. But you also get to do cool things like teach classes , interact with kids..stuff like that ..course it has its drawbacks but it also has a lot of positives.”

Marty is devoted to youth events and encouraging the next generation of sportsmen and women. He loves the outdoors.

“getting out..and being out in nature..dealing with animals, you know we do everything..from biology type work, wildlife management type work, law enforcement work..so the parts I enjoy most are the biological end of it and the information/education end of it. ”

They will both tell you to have fun on your outing….play it safe of the water….and remember TWRA is there to help.

So tonight we salute TWRA officers Russell Vandergriff and Marty Griffith for oustanding work over the years.

They are our First Responders of the Month.