By Mélanie LeCroy / [email protected]

For over 12 years, Chris Litton has worked with the city to establish gun safety and training for the youth of Orange Beach. On May 20, in recognition of his work, he received the highest service award from the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA).

At the association’s annual meeting, Litton, the logistics and security coordinator for the city of Orange Beach, received the Gladney Davidson Memorial Award. According to the association, the person or organization nominated for this award should have made a significant or innovative contribution to the field of hunter education that demonstrates excellence in hunter education and those involved in its programs. .

Litton has worked to create several gun safety and training programs over the years. The City of Orange Beach Youth Shooting Sports Program features rifle shooting, clay sports shooting and a dove hunt for youth. The kids have fun, but the main goal is to teach gun safety and technique.

“A lot of kids these days don’t have the ability to wield guns and they play these video games and shoot other people in the game. What I want to do is give them the gun. opportunity to handle one of these guns in real life and see that it is not a toy, it is not a game and that there is no reset button. On the receiving side, if someone were to get shot, they wouldn’t get up. I want these kids to understand this, respect guns for what they are, and know it’s not a toy, ”Litton said.

Litton became a Certified Rifle Instructor and Range Safety Officer in 2006 and began a National Rifle Association (NRA) air rifle course. He also became a Certified Hunting Education Instructor in 2008, giving him access to state resources and personnel.

Over the years Litton has coordinated hunting trips for children with special needs and for others who would not otherwise have the opportunity to go hunting. He coordinates these programs with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Litton is now assisting the new Orange Beach Middle / High School clay shooting team.

When asked what it was like to receive this recognition and the Gladney Davidson Memorial Award, Litton said, “I am blown away. I wasn’t expecting it and I don’t think about trying to get an honor for what I’m doing. I do it because it’s the right thing to do and it’s something close to my heart. Litton continued, “I couldn’t do this without all the wonderful volunteers who help me. It is a community effort. Lots of like-minded people come together to share this so that kids can learn about safety and have a good time. I just want to keep doing what we’re doing.

About the International Association for Hunter Education

The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) – USA is the professional hunter education association affiliated with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the state’s 50 hunter and fish education programs. The programs employ 55,000 instructors, many of whom are volunteers who teach hunting and shooting safety and responsibilities across the United States.

Hunter Education courses train and certify over 650,000 students each year. Since 1949, nearly 40 million students have taken hunting training courses that cover gun safety, bow hunting, wildlife management, field game maintenance, responsible hunting, landowner relationships, wildlife identification and more.