Twenty-seven new game wardens have been assigned to districts in Pennsylvania.
Following 45 weeks of intensive training, the 32nd Class of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Ross Leffler School of Conservation graduated Feb. 13, 2021 at the Best Western Premier, The Central Hotel & Conference Center in Harrisburg. Video from the ceremony is available to view on the Game Commission’s YouTube channel.
The 32nd Class shall forever be known as the “Covid Class” and was faced with many unique challenges to overcome. Over the last year, cadets had to adapt and work in ways never imagined before experiencing a pandemic. The 32nd Class enrolled on March 29, 2020. Their reporting date coincided with many closures, uncertainty, and virus-related mandates across the nation.
The class persevered through the challenges faced, challenges that no class before them had ever known. To say they have endured much would be an understatement. Schedules changed, sometimes by the minute, leaving instructors to find alternatives to continue providing needed training.
Graduates were commissioned as officers, and have been assigned to their new districts.
During the ceremony, graduates were recognized for achievements in the areas of academics, marksmanship, physical fitness, driving skills and leadership.
Graduate Travis O’Neill received the class award for academics, with a score of 96.9 percent.
Graduate Benjamin Johnson was honored with the marksmanship award, achieving the highest combined score in a series of courses firing the handgun, rifle and shotgun.
Graduate Shawn Greevy was selected as the fitness award winner for maintaining the highest standard of physical fitness during the training program.
Shawn Seeley received the Emergency Vehicle Operator Course driving award.
And, Graduate Philip Bietsch was chosen by his classmates to receive the “Torch Award for Leadership.”
Members of the 32nd Class, their hometowns and their new assignments are:
Meagon Aikey, of Milton (western Crawford County); Dale Ambosie, of Wapwallopen (southern Luzerne County); Angus Beers, of Edinboro (southern Venango County); Philip Bietsch, of Chambersburg (western Bedford County); Jonathan Bowman, of Meshoppen (southern Lackawanna County); Tyler Brundage, of Spring Creek (northern Mercer County); Alex DiCicco, of New Kensington (northern Clarion County); Shawn Greevy, of Mechanicsburg (southern Westmoreland County); Dillon Gruver, of Hummelstown (northern Monroe County); Zachery Hay, of Rockwood (northern Fayette County); Tyler Hegedus, of Twin Rocks (western Centre County); Thomas Henry, of Grampian (northwestern Clearfield County); Heath Hilbert, of Fort Littleton (northern McKean County); Benjamin Johnson, of Scott Township (eastern McKean County); Jake Klinger, of Berwick (eastern Luzerne County); Taylor Knash, of Honesdale (southern Adams County); Andrew Kopec, of Grindstone (northern Venango County); Russell Kreider, of Lebanon (southern Dauphin County); Richard Lee, of Westfield (central Lycoming County); Alexander Murray, of Palmyra (southern Berks County); Travis O’Neill, of Wexford (southeastern Butler County); Hannah Robinson, of Warrington (southern Bucks County); Mark Scaer (Southeast Region); Shawn Seeley, of Lock Haven (northern Centre County); Stephen Wingenbach, of Erie (southern Crawford County); Rebecca Wolfe, of Nanticoke (central Chester County); and Michael Workman, of Lancaster (Northumberland County).
In 1930, Ross Leffler, then president of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, proposed the establishment of a training school for game protectors. When the training school opened its doors in 1932, in Brockway, Jefferson County, it was the first such conservation officer training school in the world and served as a model for other states.
From 1932 until 1935, the Ross Leffler School of Conservation offered in-service training for game protectors. The school became a permanent facility and enrolled its first class of trainees in 1936, and continued training new classes at this facility until 1986, when the school was moved to the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters.