AUSTIN— The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPW) recognized two K-9 wardens and two game wardens during today’s meeting for their contributions and efforts supporting the agency mission.
Two K-9 Officers Earn Their Badges
K-9 officers Ruger and Bosch were commissioned and given their badged collars during Thursday’s TPW Commission meeting to recognize their work with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) K-9 team. The program provides statewide support in search and rescue; human remains recovery; tracking of fleeing subjects; recovery of articles; illicit take, possession and transportation of wildlife; and narcotics detection.
Ruger’s human partner is Captain Christy Vales. Together they have assisted not only game wardens, but the FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol, Texas Rangers, and local and county law enforcement officers with recovering multiple firearms, narcotics, and currency. They have also helped locate missing people and have brought poachers to justice.
Bosch joined the TPWD K-9 team in January 2019 and was partnered with his handler game warden Joni Owen. Bosch attended initial in-house training by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s K-9 instructors and also became nationally certified by the National American Police Work Dog Association for human remains detection in September. Bosch and Joni became TPWD’s second certified human remains detection team in February 2019. Bosch has assisted game wardens in the recovery of drowning victims and assisted the Texas Rangers, FBI agents and multiple local agencies from around the state on blood evidence searches, cold cases and missing persons cases.
Rachel Kellner Recognized as Game Warden of the Year by the Texas Game Warden Association
Uvalde County game warden Rachel Kellner was named the 2019 Game Warden of the Year by the Texas Game Warden Association.
Kellner has been stationed in Uvalde County during her 16-year career and is the team lead for the West Texas Game Warden Critical Incident team. The team is involved with responding to incidents such as shootings, disasters and many other issues daily.
Recently, Kellner began to fulfill a decade-long dream of bringing a large-scale women’s outreach event to the Texas Hill Country and the county where she serves. “Women Who Wander” was started by Kellner and four co-founders and aims to instill passion for the outdoors to women in the community and teach the next generation to turn to nature for recreation.
This outreach event offers classes in shotgun, kayaking, archery, outdoor cooking, and fly-fishing, just to name a few. More than 600 women participated in the event which took place last March. “Women Who Wander” 2020 will be capped at 800 women.
In addition, Kellner has also been called upon to be a spokesperson to represent Texas Game Wardens during incidents that garner wide-scale media attention including Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Imelda and the historic flooding of the Llano River.
Joseph Quintero Named SEAFWA Texas Officer of the Year
Game Warden Joseph Quintero was named the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Texas Officer of the Year. This marks the 50th year this award has been presented to a Texas Game Warden.
Quintero began his career with TPWD in 2015. During his tenure, he has become an active member of the TPWD Honor Guard, the executive protection team and the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) team.
As a founding member of the Texas Game Warden UAS Team, Quintero utilizes his position, knowledge, and skills to build relationships through training and interdivisional partnerships. He was responsible for teaching 60 new drone operators at the Game Warden Training Center on topics ranging from operations, logistics and intra-agency coordination, to operating in FAA restricted airspace.
Quintero has coordinated training and informative programs through all facets of community platforms, including schools, civic organizations, conservation partners, private entities and media outlets. His efforts to further build the public’s knowledge and understanding of TPWD’s mission has undoubtedly improved both TPWD and the community’s ability to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas.
Perhaps the most significant evidence of his commitment to go above and beyond, Warden Quintero was selected to serve on the TPWD Honor Guard, representing the agency and helping to bring honor, dignity and closure to fallen peace officers and their families throughout Texas and the nation.