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Grand Rapids firearms safety instructor honored (April 15, 2008)

Dedicated volunteer Bill Peltier was named Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) 2007 Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year during this year’s Northwest Sportshow. Peltier coordinated certification training for many youth at a time when fewer firearms safety classes were offered in the Grand Rapids area.

“I estimate that about local 200 young people were seeking certification prior to last year’s firearms deer season,” said 2nd Lt. Shelly Patten, DNR regional training officer, who was among several conservation officers to nominate Peltier for the award. “Bill helped them meet their goal by organizing and teaching classes and recruiting new and existing instructors.”

Peltier volunteered hundreds of hours between August and November to get the job done. Patten thought Peltier might become burned out or disheartened with the program by taking on such a daunting task.

“I feared that we could potentially lose one of our most valued instructors because of the pressure of certifying so many kids in the area,” Patten said. “But Bill anticipated the need and continued to teach the classes with no complaint, no prodding and no deviation from his usual outstanding program.”

Peltier, a retired Itasca County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher and jailer, has been a firearms safety instructor for more than 36 years. His reputation as the “fundraiser guy” in the Grand Rapids area is well known. Peltier created the Youth Firearms Safety Corporation to help defray some of the costs associated with offering classes.

The corporation donates money to local charities, benefits and events in the name of youth firearms safety, as well. He also helped develop a hunter/walking trail behind the Minnesota Shooting Sports Center in Grand Rapids, which allowed student to complete the field day portion of their training.

Always known for working beyond expectations, Peltier assisted in organizing the popular Grand Rapids Volunteer Instructor Appreciation banquet, which has averaged more than 100 people each year since the early 1990s.

“Mr. Peltier’s recognition as DNR Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year is testament to Minnesota’s hunter education program,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator. “Frankly, we’ve got some of the best firearms safety instructors in the country right here.”

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