March 23 – Joe McBrine’s interest in becoming a Maine game warden was sparked when he was in fifth grade.

He remembers having the chance to speak with Robert Carter, a retired guard at Machias, about life at work.

“Just listening to his stories and everything, it sounded like a dream job to me for a little kid who would rather run around in the woods,” McBrine said.

With that, McBrine was hooked.

The East Machias resident has spent the past 27 years with the Maine Warden Service, working most of his career in Washington County. His commitment and dedication did not go unnoticed, as he was named Maine’s 2021 Game Warden of the Year.

“I’m very lucky,” said McBrine, 52, who was honored to receive the honor at a surprise celebration recently at Helen’s restaurant in Machias.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else, even if that has changed,” he said.

The award is given to a game warden who has consistently conducted himself with exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement, management, community and public relations and all aspects of the duties of a game warden. game warden.

Candidates are nominated by their peers.

“Warden McBrine is a dedicated game warden and truly believes in the mission of the Maine Warden Service,” said Department Head Col. Dan Scott. “He goes to work every day to make a difference in the outdoor community he lives and works in. His level of experience, performance and dedication is exceptional.”

McBrine has provided outreach in Washington County, speaking at DIF&W sponsored safety and education classes and appearing at children’s shows and sporting events. He helped organize a fishing event for residents of the Maine Veterans Home in Machias.

Last fall, McBrine was instrumental in organizing a ceremony at the cemetery in Whiting to honor Lyman Hill and Charles Niles, two watchmen murdered along the Machias River in 1886.

McBrine, a graduate of the now defunct Machias Valley Christian Academy, was instrumental in establishing and advising a conservation law enforcement program at the University of Maine at Machias. His efforts have included teaching a search and rescue course as part of the curriculum.

An emphasis on education has always been important in McBrine’s family. His father, the late Joseph McBrine Sr., and his brothers Judson McBrine and Jonathan McBrine, all served as teachers, school administrators and/or coaches.

McBrine received a Distinguished Alumni Award from UMM, where he also worked with faculty to develop a wildlife forensics and DNA curriculum, enabling students to analyze wildlife DNA.

“I guess it’s in my blood,” said Joe McBrine, who studied education for two years before moving into law enforcement. “I can’t help but be connected and trying to help this university or the local schools.”

After 30 years in law enforcement, including three as a deputy warden, McBrine has had many ups and downs. He said the happy endings of search and rescue incidents are particularly gratifying.

However, nothing gives him more pleasure than catching intentional repeat offenders.

“When the community steps in to give us the pieces of information we need to solve this case, and it becomes a team effort where we all have to trust each other to stop the behavior of someone who is in course, intentional, these are the best, most rewarding cases,” McBrine said.

McBrine is also a director training officer, a role in which he can share his extensive experience with future directors. He helped the Advanced Warden Training Academy on their trips to Washington County and even did scripts in his home, with family members participating in the role play.

He has served on the DIF&W Board of Directors, working as a guide reviewer and conducting licensing reviews.

“In his 27 years working for DIF&W Warden McBrine, his determination, professionalism, integrity, work ethic and willingness to apprehend intentional offenders have not wavered,” said Colonel Scott . “He raised his family to appreciate the outdoors and finds great joy in helping to preserve the tradition of the outdoors for future generations of citizens and visitors to the great state of Maine.”

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