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Robert Hetz

Erie-area sportsman Robert Hetz was named the recipient of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award for 2012.

“The Abele Award is the highest recognition the Commission provides to individuals who have distinguished themselves in the cause of conservation,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway, who joined PFBC Commissioner Ed Mascharka in presenting Mr. Hetz with the award during a noon ceremony yesterday. The award presentation was held at Fairview Township’s public fishing access area at the end of Avonia Road and near the mouth of popular Trout Run.

From left; S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie President Jerry Skrypzak, PFBC Commissioner Ed Mascharka, Robert Hetz, Erie County Executive Barry Grossman, Patricia Norcott Miller (on behalf of Sen. Jane Earll’s office) and PFBC Executive Director John Arway

“Bob is a charter member of the 3-CU Trout Club, which is the largest member of our nursery program,” Arway added. “He is the individual who provides the leadership and effort to maintain the raceways, feed the fish, and stock them. The success of Pennsylvania’s steelhead program is largely due to the effort of the 3-CU Trout Club and Bob.”

“We are honored to add Mr. Hetz to the list of outstanding conservationists who have earned recognition as recipients of the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award,” said Arway.

Mr. Hetz, of Fairview, was nominated by Jerry Skrypzak, President of the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie.

“The S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie has had the privilege of working with Bob for over 26 years,” Skrypzak said in his nomination letter. “Bob was instrumental in providing expertise when their hatchery was being established. Bob handmade much of the equipment, which is still being used today.”

Several local officials also participated in the ceremony to honor Mr. Hetz, including Erie County Executive Barry Grossman; Fairview Township Supervisor Pete Kraus; S.O.N.S. President Jerry Skrypzak; and Patricia Norcott Miller on behalf of Sen. Jane Earll.

“Mr. Hetz exemplifies the type of individual who represents Mr. Abele’s vision and the PFBC is honored to recognize his lifetime of achievements with this award,” added Arway.