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New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission Announces 2019 Awards of Excellence

CONTACT: Tanya Haskell: (603) 271-3511 Nicola Whitley: (603) 271-3211 October 23, 2020

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission has honored several individuals with the 2019 Commission Awards of Excellence for outstanding efforts in the conservation field in support of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s mission. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person ceremony could not be held this year.

The 2019 Commission Awards of Excellence were as follows:

VOLUNTEER AWARD OF EXCELLENCE William Arnold, Randolph, NH Nominated by Fish and Game’s Lt. Mark Ober, William “Bill” Arnold is a legend in the search and rescue community in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in northern New Hampshire. Bill has been an active member of the backcountry search and rescue community since before there was an official organized group, and has been instrumental in hundreds of search and rescue missions in his 50 plus years of service.

He is a founding member of the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (or AVSAR) and is an active member to this day, but Arnold’s search and rescue volunteer efforts go back decades prior to its formation. He was even a first responder at the Cog Railway accident in 1967 that left eight people dead and dozens seriously injured. Through the years Arnold has been a volunteer at five airplane crashes and hundreds of calls for lost, missing, injured, and deceased hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION AWARD OF EXCELLENCE Friends of Pulpit Rock Tower, Rye, NH The Commission presented this award to the Friends of Pulpit Rock Tower, a nonprofit organization, for their work to restore, protect, and open to the public the Pulpit Rock Tower in Rye. The tower was built in 1943 to aid in the defense of Portsmouth Harbor and its shipyard during World War II. Service members manned the tower 24/7 to watch for enemy ships, airplanes, and submarines. It is the sole remaining publicly accessible Coastal Defense Tower of the original 16 in the United States.

NH Fish and Game obtained the tower from the federal government in 1967. Over time, the Department ceased using the tower for fisheries enforcement and it fell into disrepair. Eight years ago, the Friends of Pulpit Rock Tower worked with Fish and Game to establish a multi-year lease that would allow the group to restore the tower.

To date the organization has raised over $50,000 to support restoration work including two NH Conservation and Heritage License Plate (Moose Plate) Program grants. The Friends of Pulpit Rock have also succeeded in having the structure placed on the National Historic Register and twice designated one of the state’s “Seven to Save” sites by the NH Conservation Alliance.

There is more restoration work to do, but the tower is now being used to host public groups and events. Fish and Game is also actively using the tower for enforcement activities again, giving officers a unique vantage point to monitor lobstering, fishing, and wildlife hunting activities.

YOUTH CONSERVATIONIST AWARD Emma Lee Patricia Putnam, Landaff, NH Emma Putnam is a seventh grader at the Bath Village School and has a passion for wildlife and the environment that is exceptional for someone her age. She is an animal lover and is determined to make this world a better place for all of its inhabitants. Emma volunteers at the Second Chance Animal Rescue in Littleton. For the past two years she has asked for no birthday gifts but instead that donations be made to the Rescue. She and a couple of friends also made and sold bracelets to raise money for Second Chance.

Emma has participated in the National Wild Turkey Federation’s youth Jake’s Day event learning about hunting and hunter safety and kayaking. She volunteers taking down and putting up snowmobile trail signs. She also picks up any trash left behind on the trails and works to collect trash along roadways. She recycles and returns all cans and bottles donating the money to the Pittsburg Ridge Runners Snowmobile Clubs Grooming Fund. Last year she was able to donate over $100.

Emma also spends time picking up hooks, fishing line, and other trash on the shores of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Connecticut Lakes in Pittsburg. Her concern is that wildlife will ingest or get entangled in the trash people leave behind. She also makes bat houses and opossum shelters. Emma is most recently doing research about trout with the goal of managing the fish stocked in the pond behind her house. She hopes to volunteer at a fish hatchery in the near future. Her ultimate goal is to become a Fish and Game Conservation Officer.

ELLIS R. HATCH JUNIOR COMMISSION AWARD OF EXCELLENCE Dr. Derek Fritz, Peterborough, NH The Commission’s highest honor, the Ellis R. Hatch Junior Award of Excellence, was awarded to Dr. Derek Fritz, a veterinarian who has been a huge asset to the Fish and Game Department. Dr. Fritz of Tenney, Fritz, and Coombs Animal Hospital in Peterborough, NH, has been assisting the NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers for a number of years. He is always willing to lend his expertise to help Conservation Officers investigate poaching incidents, whether it’s lending his expertise or taking X-rays.

Over the past eight years, Dr. Fritz has also given an enormous amount of time, effort, and medications to the Law Enforcement Division’s K-9 program. This program is only possible through sponsors and donations, and Dr. Fritz exemplifies these volunteers. He has donated thousands of dollars’ worth of veterinary care and medication. “This is the type of donation and behind-the-scenes support that allows the Department to achieve its mission,” stated Lt. Bill Boudreau who nominated Dr. Fritz.

Dr. Fritz also took care of Ruby, Lt. Boudreau’s K-9 partner, since she came into the program. Dr. Fritz donated veterinary care in the form of yearly check-ups and vaccines as well as seeing Ruby whenever she was sick or in need of care. He always adjusted his schedule and made time for her. Dr. Fritz also donated her monthly heartworm and flea and tick medications. He performed multiple blood tests and evaluations of K-9 Ruby when she was ill over the years, never once billing for them.

In 2018, it was Dr. Fritz who diagnosed Ruby with a medical condition that prevented her pancreas from working properly. He provided the many visits and tests required for this diagnosis completely free of charge. Her condition required Ruby to take two different medications for the rest of her life, and Dr. Fritz always donated them or gave the Department a large discount on them. In November 2019, K-9 Ruby became ill and unfortunately could not recover. Dr. Fritz was also there ready to help and providing her end-of-life care with compassion, all free of charge.

“I think it is hard to overstate how important Dr. Fritz’s willingness to give of his time, expertise, and resources to the Fish and Game Department’s K-9 Program has been,” said Colonel Kevin Jordan. “He helps make this program possible and enables the dogs to in turn help the citizens of New Hampshire through search and rescue and evidence detection. We thank him sincerely for all his efforts.”

There are nine award categories for New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission Awards of Excellence for 2020. If you are aware of a worthy individual or organization, please consider nominating them for the 2020 awards. Nominations must be submitted by December 31. For a description of the award categories and a nomination form, visit