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Michigan DNR Honors Veteran Conservation Officers

Nov 11 | 2020  by

Every year, there is one special day that gives us the chance to honor and thank those that served in the armed forces. Protecting our constitutional rights and democracy has always been at the heart of that service. While 24 hours certainly does not seem like enough time, the Michigan DNR is getting a head start by honoring 25 conservation officers with military backgrounds. You can read their full article here.

Currently, there are 25 military veterans serving throughout the Department of Natural Resources conservation officer ranks. Despite their different backgrounds, ranks, and branches of service, the one thing that brings these 25 officers together is their love for the outdoors and protecting Michigan’s natural resources.

Some Michiganders believe the DNR is the department that protects deer, but they are so much more than that. The DNR and its conservation officers protect the rights of all people in Michigan, along with its natural resources and environment. Without the DNR, residents would be unable to enjoy Michigan and all its natural beauty due to overharvesting of fish and game and environmental damage.

The DNR’s full article goes on to highlight the incredible stories of their veteran conservation officers. One story we are quite fond of, is Steven Burton, assistant chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. Burton retired from the military at the rank of major, serving the Army National Guard for 22 years, including a combat tour in Iraq from 2007-08.

Burton’s intentions were similar like most, to serve his country, its citizens, and protect the ideals of a free democracy. But during his time serving in the Army, Burton had the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and make better decisions for the good of his unit and its members.

His first tour would come in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Burton witnessed the same selfless service that had motivated him to join the military in the first place. Three weeks into his tour, one of his unit vehicles was struck by an IED – which killed two soldiers and hospitalized others.

Burton noted that despite his unit members often scared for their lives, they continued to put themselves in harm’s way every day to accomplish their mission. By the end of their tour, Burton’s team would save countless lives of coalition troops and Iraqis by keeping the roads clear of IEDs.

Whether ex-Military or civilian, these conservation officers come from various backgrounds and beliefs, yet share a very common goal – serving something greater than themselves. So, please join us in thanking these incredible conservation officers for their service this Veterans Day!

Are you a veteran or know of a veteran who has been injured in service? If so, please contact our Legal Help For Veterans group. For over 20 years, Legal Help For Veterans has served our nation’s veterans and their dependents with obtaining disability compensation benefits for injuries they sustained during service, or as a result of service. Please contact Legal Help For Veterans online or by phone at  800-693-4800.