Awards & Memorials


5,000 Hour Volunteer Award

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) “Director’s Award” recognizes any Hunter Education Instructor who has performed 5,000 volunteer hours supporting VDGIF Hunter Education Programs. This award excludes volunteers who are involved in other VDGIF programs.

The Virginia Hunter Education Association shall award a Henry Golden Boy .22 caliber Lever Action Rifle to any Hunter Education Instructors recipient who has performed 5,000 hours of volunteer support in VDGIF Hunter Education programs (e.g., Basic Hunter Education, International Bowhunter Education Program, Trapping). These hours shall be certified by VDGIF.



William Dixon Morgan Memorial Award
Born January 25, 1953, William Dixon Morgan, better known as “Billy”, was the youngest of three children and the only son of William T. and Magdeline N. Morgan.
He became an Eagle Scout at the age of 14, and at the time of his death he was instructing Boy Scout merit badge classes in Archery, Marksmanship and Wilderness Survival.
Billy participated in a wide range of outdoor activities and was an avid rabbit, squirrel, turkey and deer hunter. He was an outdoorsman who won numerous awards in both archery and firearms competition. In 1980 and 1981 he won National and State awards for whitetail deer.
On the morning of Tuesday, November 22, 1983, two days before Thanksgiving, life for Billy could be no better. He was doing what he loved most; hunting.
At 8:30 a.m., Billy, who was 6’1” and weighed 185 pounds, climbed a 12” diameter leafless tree, to a limb approximately 10 feet above the ground. He did not know another hunter was in the area. Twenty minutes later the other hunter, failing to identify his target, fired the shot that ended Billy’s life.
At the time of Billy’s death, his mother, Magdeline Morgan, was a member of the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Board. Mrs. Morgan, with the help of other board members and the Governor, began promoting the importance of blaze orange. The law requiring the wearing of blaze orange soon became a reality. Mr. And Mrs. Morgan also wanted to establish a memorial for Billy. At the suggestion of Governor Gerald Baliles, a family friend, the idea of an annual hunter safety award was conceived. So, in 1985 the Governor of Virginia, Gerald Baliles, presented the first annual William Dixon Morgan Memorial Award for hunter safety in Richmond, Virginia at a Virginia Game Department Board Meeting.
2016 Morgan Award Presented
Leonard C. Hart, Jr. is presented with the Morgan Award by VDGIF Hunter Education Program Manager David Dodson and Jimmy Mootz, Region 4 Recreational Education Coordinator.

Leonard C. Hart, Jr., a VDGIF hunter education instructor for over 12 years, is the 2016 recipient of the Morgan Award.

He is a tireless and innovative instructor who is dedicated to safe and ethical hunting, and is especially devoted to introducing young people and women to hunting and other outdoor activities. He has contributed 3,481 hours, averaging over 300 hours per year. He has trained 3,800 students. He is a VDGIF Master instructor, International Bowhunter Education Program (IBEP) instructor, a Treestand Safety instructor, and holds many certifications as an NRA instructor. He is a charter and life member of the Virginia Hunter Education Association (VHEA) and a member of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association.

Leonard is an aggressive and compelling recruiter of new instructors. He coordinates hunter education activities in three counties and has developed an impressive team of 38 instructors. As a “teacher of teachers”, he is a leader of the VDGIF Advanced Training Rifle and Pistol Teams and helped develop the curriculum for the Teaching Skills series of courses.

The VHEA, supported by the VDGIF, sponsors two Hunter Skills Weekends, for which Leonard has been, and continues to be, very involved in, leading and teaching such diverse topics as Basic Rifle, Big Game Rifle, Reloading, Scope Mounting, and Firearms Cleaning and Care. In 2016 he organized a similar Outdoor Skills Day at the Stafford, VA Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) in order to get families involved in outdoor activities. He reached out across the northern Virginia area for experts, not necessarily VDGIF instructors, to teach two-hour classes in such areas as survival, wilderness camping, basic and advanced archery, bowfishing, wilderness first aid and plant identification. He is a firm believer that these types of events are necessary to promote continued interest in hunting and outdoor activities.

Every year he puts together a team of instructors to help run an air rifle competition at a large Baptist Church’s Wild Game Dinner and Outdoor Activities Day, and is frequently a speaker at the events.

His involvement with youth includes several activities outside regular hunter education. For the past eight years he has helped with the Virginia National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Championship. This year he was asked to help the National Representative of the International Bowhunting Organization (lBO) run the 3-D Animal Targets Range, which was being offered for the first time. At the annual NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge Leonard is a leader of the Rifle Event, and helps with planning and recruiting the large group of instructors necessary to make the event run safely and smoothly. Following an IBEP Bowhunter Education Course he taught last year, he was approached by a 15-year old student, with his single-parent mother, about hunting on MCB Quantico. Since individuals need to be age 18 to hunt alone at Quantico, he agreed to be his sponsor, taking him on seven hunting trips last season. He also worked to involve the student as a Youth Hunter Education Instructor.

While live fire is not part of the hunter education program’s basic course, he tries to incorporate a separate shooting event when possible. As the lead hunter education instructor at the Stafford, VA IWLA chapter, he has held shotgun and rifle sessions following the courses. These are always a hit with eager new hunters.

As an NRA member, he is an avid supporter and organizer of the annual Friends of the NRA Banquet. The past two years he was instrumental in negotiating great rates for the Banquet at a Stafford dinner theater, where he is Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Leonard Hart is a dedicated, enthusiastic advocate for the future of safe and ethical hunting, and is a deserving recipient for this year’s honor.



Mike Norkus, 2015 Morgan Award Recipient with Jeff Pease, VDGIF Hunter Education Coordinator
Mike Norkus, 2015 Morgan Award Recipient with Jeff Pease, VDGIF Hunter Education Coordinator

Lee Turner, 2014 recipient, with members of the Morgan family and CPO Kristian Dougherty

John Dunne, 2013 Morgan Award winner with CPO Kristian Dougherty and Sgt. David Dodson


Russ Lewis, 2012 Morgan Award winner, with wife Linda, CPO Sarah Druy and Mandy


Roger Keene 2011 Morgan Award Winner with Region 3 Coordinator Jeff Pease and Morgan Family
Monte Brackenridge, 2010 Morgan Award Winner
Chauncey Herring receiving the Morgan award for 2009
George “Spud” Almond, 2007 Morgan Award Winner

2016 Leonard Hart, Jr.
2015 Mike Norkus
2014 Lee Turner
2013 John Dunne
2011 Roger Keene
2012 Russell Lewis
2011 Roger Keene
2010 Monte Brackenridge
2009 Chauncey Herring
2008 Carolyn Elliott
2007 George ”Spud” Almond
2006 Vernie Kennedy
2005 Donald Studer
2004 Michael Holson
2003 Angie Leigh
2002 Rob Zepp
2001 Lester “Danny” Bartee
2000 William D. Shufflebarger
1999 William E. Nichols
1998 Percy “Buddy” Fines, Jr.
1997 Lewis A. Austin
1996 Jack L. Broughman
1995 John W. Dodson
1994 Thomas M. Walters
1993 Gordon W. Hunter
1992 Paul Hockenberry
1991 William L. Prutzman
1990 Barry F. Lape
1989 Franklin L. Taylor
1988 George P. Mason
1987 Paul Siple
1986 Michael J. Clifford
1985 Brian E. Berger


Became Instructor: 9/17/2000
Instructor Level: Senior 3/20/2003   Master 3/21/2005
Volunteer hours: 1,797
Students certified: 2,432
D.O.B.: 8/17/1957
D.O.D.: 10/16/2013

Became Instructor: 1982
Instructor Level: Senior and Master Instructor
Volunteer Hours: Over 800
Students Certified: 2,000
D.O.D.: 9/12/2009

Became Instructor: 3/11/2007
Instructor Level: Senior 2/17/2011 Master 2/17/2011
Volunteer Hours: 1,123
Students Certified: 2,520
D.O.B.: 1/2/1956
D.O.D.: 10/2/2016

1995 Morgan Award Recipient
Virginia Hunter Education Lifetime Achievement Award
IHEA Hall of Fame Award
Instructor Level: Senior 5/18/1991 Master 2/7/1993
Volunteer Hours: 6,134
Students Certified: 4,387
D.O.B.: 5/15/1931
D.O.D.: 7/28/2017

1998 Morgan Award Recipient
Became Instructor: 7/22/1981
Instructor Level: Senior 10/21/1986   Master 8/17/1993
Volunteer Hours: Over 2,841
Students Certified: Over 6,000
D.O.B.: 7/3/1942
D.O.D: 9/18/2014

Instructor Level: Senior 9/10/1986
Volunteer Hours: 856
Students Certified: 2,454
D.O.B.: 11/23/1936
D.O.D.: 8/22/2017

2009 Morgan Award Recipient
2014 Director’s Award Recipient
Instructor Level: Master 2/05/2002
Volunteer Hours: 5,046
Students Certified: 7,594
D.O.D.: 1/9/2018

1993 Morgan Award Recipient
Became Instructor: 6/30/1981
Volunteer Hours: 1,902
Students Certified: 7,095
D.O.B.: 12/12/1923
D.O.D: 11/10/2008

Became Instructor: 2/16/1986
Instructor Level: Senior 10/21/1986
Volunteer Hours:  663
Students Certified:  1,655
D.O.B.:  7/24/1921
D.O.D.:  8/6/2016

Became Instructor: 3/6/1980
Instructor Level: Senior 9/10/1986   Master 9/16/1991
Volunteer Hours: 2,707
Students Certified: 2,486
D.O.B.: 8/26/1945
D.O.D.: 6/19/2009

Became Instructor: 9/21/1987
Instructor Level: Senior 9/16/1991   Master 4/7/1993
Volunteer Hours: 2,741
Students Certified: 2,207
D.O.B.: 3/3/1941
D.O.D.: 2/25/2014

Became Instructor: 4/13/1997
Instructor Level: Senior 3/5/1998   Master 4/10/2003
Volunteer Hours: 1,892
Students Certified: 2,434
D.O.B.: 2/29/1932
D.O.D.: 12/1/2017

Became Instructor: 10/1980
Instructor Level: Senior 9/10/1986   Master 3/8/2000
Volunteer Hours: 1,909
Students Certified: 9,889
D.O.B.: 5/28/1933
D.O.D.: 7/13/2009

2000 Morgan Award Recipient
Became Instructor: 9/15/1983
Instructor Level: Senior 9/10/1986   Master 10/22/1988
Volunteer Hours: 2,950
Students Certified: 4,524
D.O.B.: 11/10/1924
D.O.D.: 2/11/2009

Became Instructor: 3/23/1986
Instructor Level: Senior 10/22/1988   Master 4/7/1993
Volunteer Hours: 2,564
Students Certified: 1,984
D.O.B.: 4/20/1941
D.O.D.: 11/27/2009

Alleghany County Coordinator
1987 Morgan Award Recipient
Became Instructor: 10/1/1961
Instructor Level: Senior 9/10/1986   Master 3/27/1996
Volunteer Hours: 5,037
Students Certified: 17,183
D.O.B.: 7/27/1921
D.O.D.: 3/13/2015

Became Instructor: 7/1/1988
Instructor Level: Senior 8/15/2002 Master 4/6/2004
Volunteer Hours: 2,806
Students Certified: 2,749
D.O.B.: 6/23/1949
D.O.D.: 4/17/2016

Became Instructor: 4/23/1995
Instructor Level: Senior 3/28/1996   Master 2/20/2002
Volunteer Hours: 1,721
Students Certified: 1,664
D.O.B: 1/6/1945
D.O.D: 9/21/2013

Became Instructor: 4/2/2000
Instructor Level: Senior 8/15/2002
Volunteer Hours: 862
Students Certified: 1,064
D.O.B: 4/29/1942
D.O.D: 10/27/2010

Became Instructor: 3/7/2010
Instructor Level: Senior 2/23/2012  Master 3/12/2014
Volunteer Hours:  1,212
Students Certified: 2,180
D.O.D: 8/13/2016, age 54

Became Instructor: 4/5/1998
Instructor Level: Senior 2/12/2001 Master 3/22/2004
Volunteer Hours: 3,560
Students Certified: 4,760
D.O.B: 2/26/1931
D.O.D: 7/21/2018

Stanley, VA, Page Co. Coordinator
Became Instructor: 4/24/1994
Instructor Level: Senior 4/2/1996   Master 3/23/2000
Volunteer Hours: 2,121
Students Certified: Over 1,500
D.O.B.: 4/15/1