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Richmond man is snowmobile safety instructor of the year

Charles Reichert, of Richmond, has been named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Snowmobile Instructor of the Year for 2020.

During his 28 years as a volunteer instructor, Reichert has provided safety training for about 1,500 students – or roughly the population of his hometown. Reichert is a longtime member of the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association and is active in his local club—the Country Snow Cruisers—as well as the Stearns County Snowmobile Trail Association. He has served in a number of capacities, and remains active in nearly every facet—from fund-raising to working with private landowners to obtain access permission to maintaining and grooming trails.

Reichert also is dedicated to ensuring new snowmobile riders have the knowledge they need to enjoy a lifetime of safe riding.

“For all things snowmobile, Charlie really is the go-to guy in the Richmond area,” said DNR Conservation Officer Todd VanderWeyst, who nominated him for the award. “He’s extremely humble and cares first and foremost about ensuring future generations have the same opportunities we have today, and he himself is a model for other volunteer instructors when it comes to grooming safe and responsible snowmobile riders.”

Reichert is known for providing thorough, interesting safety classes that keep students attentive and learning. He blends in personal experiences to help him illustrate concepts, and goes to great lengths to help students understand everything from regulations and safety to proper equipment and snowmobile preparation.

More than 1,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety classes across the state and are the backbone of the program. Minnesota residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 are required to have a snowmobile safety certificate in order to ride, but DNR safety officials recommend all people who ride a snowmobile complete a safety training course.