Longbeards earn state awards for JAKES, WITO, Turkey Hunters Care

Members of the Botetourt Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation pose for pictures after Saturday night’s state banquet in Roanoke. The Longbeards were presented with three 2016 state awards and Chapter President Ned Honts was presented the Robert Shackleford Community Service Award.

Botetourt Longbeards President Ned Honts was recognized with the Robert Shackleford Community Service Award by the Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF).

The Botetourt Longbeards Chapter also was recognized with three state awards for its outreach programs in the community.

Botetourt Longbeards Chapter of the NWTF President Ned Honts (right) was recognized with the Robert Shackleford Community Service Award by the Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). Virginia Chapter President Richard Pauley presented the award at the state chapter banquet.

Honts, who is in his third year as president of the Botetourt Longbeards, was recognized for his dedication as an NWTF volunteer. The Robert Shackleford Community Service Award is presented in recognition of an individual who exceeds all expectations of a NWTF volunteer and strives to build the future of the community by providing educational opportunities for youth and the community.

The awards were presented during the Virginia Chapter banquet and leadership conference Saturday in Roanoke.

During the banquet, the Virginia Chapter also recognized the 2016 state scholarship winner, Rebecca Theimer

The Botetourt Longbeards was recognized by the Virginia State Chapter for having the Best Repeat 2016 JAKES Event in Virginia with 1-75 participants, the Best Repeat New Women in the Outdoors (WITO) Event and for contributing the most turkeys to needy families as part of the organization’s Turkey Hunters Care Program.

It was the sixth year in a row the Longbeards Chapter was recognized for contributing the most frozen turkeys to needy families. In 2016, the local chapter donated 2,052 turkeys during the year— including at Thanksgiving and Christmas— to the Botetourt Food Pantry, Buchanan Area Ministerial Association Food Pantry, Springwood Baptist Church Food Pantry, Troutvile Baptist Church Food Pantry and Eagle Rock Ruritan Club.

The Turkey Hunters Care Program is a national outreach program sponsored by the NWTF. Hundreds of local chapters around the country participate by donating frozen turkeys and Thanksgiving meals each year.

The Botetourt JAKES (youth) Event is held the third Saturday of September each year and was recognized as the best event its size in Virginia for the fifth consecutive year.

The Botetourt Longbeards partners with the Botetourt Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, the Botetourt 4-H Shooting Education Club and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for the e

vent. Richard Simmons of Buchanan has provided the site for the event for several years.

The chapter held its third WITO Event in August in cooperation with Blue Ridge Vineyard near Eagle Rock. It was judged as the Best Repeat WITO Event statewide. The event allowed nearly 70 women to experience archery, .22 rifle, .22 pistol, shotgun, AR and Firearms 101 stations.

The Botetourt Longbeards also helps sponsor the Botetourt Children’s Fishing Carnival, supports the Botetourt and Virginia 4-H Shooting Education programs, is a sponsor for the newly forming Botetourt 4-H Hunting, Wildlife and Outdoors Skills Club and will again participate in the Botetourt County Fair in August.

On March 18, the chapter invites those interested in supporting these activities to attend its annual Hunting Heritage Banquet at Lord Botetourt High School. The banquet serves as the main fundraiser for the chapter. For more information, email botetourtlongbeards@gmail.com, visit the Longbeards facebook page or see the related article in this week’s Herald.