Texas Game Warden Memorial will be relocated from Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens
ATHENS, Texas (KLTV) - Soon, the Texas Game Warden Memorial will no longer be located on the grounds of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
According to a press release, the Game Warden Peace Officer Association has been working to relocate the memorial from Athens to the grounds of the State Capitol in Austin since 2012. The memorial, which features a life-size statue of a Texas game warden, was created to honor the wardens who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“The Association saw this as a necessary move since other memorials—specifically peace officer memorials—are housed on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol,” said Game Warden Peace Officer Association President and current Texas Game Warden Major, Quint Balkcom. “Housing the memorial on Capitol grounds would also serve a larger audience, many of who have never interacted with a Texas Game Warden. This is an educational opportunity to learn more about our history and our critical conservation efforts.”
When the Game Warden Peace Officer’s Association took the project over, they found the necessary funding and worked with the Texas Legislature to make the relocation a reality.
After multiple attempts, a resolution passed through both chambers of the Texas Legislature in 2017. The final logistical hurdles that had stalled the relocation project were cleared at Last week’s meeting of the State Preservation Board.
“This is an incredible step in the right direction,” said Colonel Chad Jones, Director of Law Enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “The fallen wardens this memorial honors aren’t just the wardens of the past. Some of them were my friends and colleagues. Placing the memorial at the Capitol ensures their sacrifices will be remembered daily by the leaders, residents, and visitors to this state.”
According to the press release, despite the hurdles that have been overcome so far, the organizers of the relocation effort still face an uphill battle.
Despite overcoming monumental hurdles, the memorial still faces an uphill battle to its final home.
“Now that the project has received final approval from the State Preservation Board, we have moved into the planning phase of relocation which will be a lengthy process as well,” Balkcom said. “Ordering the granite for a new pedestal and physically moving the memorial takes months to plan and perform, but I am thrilled the project is one step closer to its new home and honoring our fallen family the way it was intended.”
An updated sculpture will replace the memorial in Athens in the future, the press release stated.
“As the state’s only conservation law enforcement agency, Texas Game Wardens patrol its vast network of waterways, respond to natural disasters and oversee hunting and fishing regulations,” the press release stated. “Through the agency’s 125-year history, 19 Texas Game Wardens have lost their lives while serving the people of Texas.”
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