Sportsman’s Corner columnist receives Words of Wisdom Award

Mike Roche (left) receives the Words of Wisdom Award from Bill Davis, vice president of the Worcester County League of Sportsmen's Clubs at its annual banquet on March 23.

Mike Roche (left) receives the Words of Wisdom Award from Bill Davis, vice president of the Worcester County League of Sportsmen's Clubs at its annual banquet on March 23. PHOTO CREDIT/W.C. LEAGUE AND HABAKKUK MEDIA SERVICES

By CARLA CHARTER

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 04-07-2024 5:00 PM

ORANGE-For his many years of advocacy of sportsmen’s issues, Mike Roche has received the Words of Wisdom Award from the Worcester County League of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

Roche received the award at the club’s annual banquet on March 23, held at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton.

The Words of Wisdom Award is given to someone who writes in support of sportsmen’s issues, and Roche is no exception in that regard, having written his “Sportsman’s Corner” column for the Athol Daily News for 24 years. Bill Davis, vice president of the Worcester County League of Sportsmen’s Clubs, said it was Roche’s column – as well as his role as a board member for the New England Outdoor Writers Association – that earned him the award.

“I was humbled by the award, as previous recipients include some really outstanding outdoor communicators,” said Roche. “I really am always amazed when people go out of their way to comment on something in the ‘Sportsman’s Corner.’ I have been fortunate to be actively involved in fish and wildlife conservation my entire life and the newspaper has provided me an opportunity to share the information and experiences. I believe that the North Quabbin region is a place where people deeply care about fish and wildlife resources and it has been my pleasure to bring them my view of that world.”

Davis said that Roche’s work imparting words of wisdom for so many years means that this recognition goes well beyond his writing. Roche taught social studies at the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School for 28 years while also serving as faculty advisor for the Mahar Fish N’ Game Club, a group founded by his father, John E. Roche Jr., and former Fisheries and Wildlife Board Chairman George Darey.

Roche volunteered for 45 years as both an instructor and director at the Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp, serving as its director and as a volunteer instructor at the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program, teaching youth and adults hunting education, according to Davis.

Roche is a 34-year member of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board and has served as regional director for Ducks Unlimited and as a board member for the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. Roche also enjoys hunting and fishing himself.

“Sharing the outdoor experience has always been part of my life, as my father took me hunting and fishing and founded the Mahar Fish’N Game Club and I just naturally followed that example,” Roche said.

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WCL Appreciation Awards were also presented to the following: Youth Mentor Award-Richard Merchant, Rutland Mass Trappers Association; Sportsman of the Year Award – Wayne Adams of Princeton; Legislator of the Year Award – State Sen. Peter Durant of Spencer; Farmer/Landowner of the Year Award – Bill Matusewicz of Templeton; 2024 Worcester County League Hall of Fame inductee – L.A. Jones of Milford.

Carla Charter is a freelance writer from Phillipston. Her writing focuses on the history of the North Quabbin area. Contact her at cjfreelancewriter@earthlink.net.