DENVER I The Colorado Wildlife Employee Protective Association honored the memory of fallen Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s district wildlife manager Jon Wangnild of Meeker by hosting hundreds of people, including 140 competitors, at the Jon Wangnild Memorial Sporting Clays Shoot on June 29 in Brighton.
The fundraiser brought in approximately $20,000 to be placed in a trust fund for the three children Wangnild left behind when he tragically died on June 27, 2013, the day after he was injured in a horse riding accident.
“This was a fantastic event, and judging by the great turnout and the amount raised, Jon’s memory is still very much a part of the lives of people who cared about him and his family,” said Wangnild’s supervisor, area wildlife manager Bill deVergie of Meeker. “It was great to see so many people at the event. I can’t tell you what it means to all of us who knew Jon to see the community honor his family this way.”
deVergie thanked CWEPA members for their commitment to Wangnild and to all other wildlife employees in the state of Colorado.
“This is what we do, and that is why CWEPA is so important,”said Bob Carochi, the district wildlife manager in Canon City and president of the association. “Jon was obviously much admired and loved. CWEPA is honored to be a part of this fundraiser and proud to represent the wildlife employees of the State of Colorado.”
“We are very grateful that CWEPA is here for Jon’s family,” deVergie added. “Losing your father at such a young age is hard, but we hope this will show his kids how much we thought of their dad and show them that they are still part of a bigger family.”
Wangnild was described as a “game warden’s game warden” by his fellow officers. He was well known for his love of bird hunting, his tireless commitment to wildlife and to his district near Meeker. His loss was a blow not only for the citizens of Rio Blanco County, but also for the tight-knit community of wildlife officers and employees in Colorado.
“We may be few in number, but we have a very tight brotherhood,” said Matt Thorpe CWEPA vice president and area wildlife manager from Durango. “Losing a man like Jon was hard on all of us. He was a part of each of our families and all we can do now is remember him for what he represented and be there for his kids.”
Proforce.com, Streamlight, Denver Tent and Awning, Remington, Winchester, Colt, Ruger, Blue Valley Sportsman Club, Hornady, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Colorado Clays, YETI coolers, Blue Valley Ranch, Elk River Guns, Quail Run Game Birds, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop were among the sponsors.
Donations were also collected to memorialize Wangnild with a plaque at the North American Game Warden Museum at the International Peace Park, between North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada. To donate to the Jon Wangnild Memorial Fund, or for more information about CWEPA, visit www.cwepa.org.