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Outdoors organizations offer bevy of awards

Three recent fundraising banquets included award presentations to deserving volunteers and contributors to the efforts of outdoors organizations.

During the Safari Club International's banquet at Michael's Banquet Facility on March 24, Sen. Patrick Gallivan received a Senator of the Year Award. Don Vincent Keicher was presented the Youth Award.

Safari Club organizers departed from a lengthy list of additional awards this year and chose to honor five distinguished World War II veterans from Western New York.

Club vice president Jim Monteleone had some difficulty at the start of his presentation, recalling his late father's contributions to those war effort and his outdoors interests. Honors were extended to veterans Michael Angrisano, Navy Seaman; Charles T. Laudico, USMC Cpl.; Joseph Boli, Army Cpl.; Normal Small, Navy Seaman; and Walter J. Floss Jr., Navy Chief Petty Officer. Joseph Boli lives in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. All others reside in Buffalo. Area folks recall Floss as a former Erie County legislator and state senator.

WNY Chapter of Trout Unlimited Fund Raiser and Awards banquet at Lucarelli's Banquet Facility on March 24 had honors presented to many deserving recipients.

The prestigious Silver Trout Award went to Tom Piwowar. Friends of WNY Trout Awards were presented to Lee Ann Bigaj, Maria Marracino, and Andrea Marracino.

Other distinguished honors were accorded: Rising Trout Award, Bill Jedlicka; Professional Communications Award, Russ Shefrin; Cold Water Fisheries Enhancement Award, Marie Schrecengost; Decade of Service Award, Len Bigaj; and Cal Arthur President's Award, William Koerner.

Niagara Musky Association held its 18th Annual Awards Banquet at the new Pearl at the Webb Saturday evening.

Outstanding individual awards were presented to four recipients: Bill Mendel Memorial Award, Adam Kazmark; Tim Wittek Memorial Award, Dave Reed; NMA Memorial Award, Hope Melnyk; and Special Recognition, Jay Nannen. The Junior Angler Division, recognizing three members under 16 who caught and released measurable muskies: T.J. Clark, 46 inches; Gabriel Miller, 33 inches; and Owen Miller, 43 inches.

The John Henning Memorial Award, for the largest musky caught and released from the lower Niagara River, went to Dave Martin with a 50-inch catch.

The Jim Reynolds "Mr. Toothy" Award, for the largest musky caught and released from all waters, was presented to John Miller for a 50-inch entry.

Members were presented honors for catching and releasing the 10 largest (by length) muskies caught and released during the 2011 season as Top Ten Awards. Honors went to: John Miller, 50; Dave Martin, 50; Gary Melnyk, 48; Scott McKee, 48; Mac Melnyk, 46; T.J. Clark, 46; Scott Kitchen, 46; Jay Nannen, 46; Daniel Lacko, 46; Travis Colwell, 44; and Adam Kazmark, 44.