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DNR’s good deeds too often go unsung

The April 22 edition of The News had a photograph of Jessie Curtis, a conservation officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, holding an injured snowy owl she’d rescued near Hubbard Lake after she, according to resident Gary Bandrow, “chased the sucker a good half-mile.”

The bird was taken to the North Sky Raptor Sanctuary in Interlochen with a puncture wound and is expected to make a full recovery.

We say kudos to Officer Curtis for her efforts to save a beautiful bird and protect our natural resources. But we’re sure that, to her, it was just another day at the office.

Indeed, DNR conservation officers routinely act as heroes, and not only to our furred and feathered friends.

Conservation officers go through months of grueling training at the Michigan State Police Academy in Dimondale and months more of on-the-job training. It’s important preparation because conservation officers work in remote areas, often alone, with backup far and many crucial minutes away, and they may encounter anything from an injured animal to drunken, armed hunters to child abuse and neglect to innumerable other, unpredictable situations.

And, because they work in such remote locations, conservation officers often are the first on the scene to emergencies, saving the lives of hunters and hikers and boaters who become lost or wounded in the woods or on the waters.

Our men and women in blue often receive much-deserved praise for their lifesaving and crime-fighting efforts, and we’re happy to offer that praise. But too many Michiganders are unaware of the bravery of our men and women in green.

We hope that changes, because no hero should be so unsung.

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