Rim Country Man Joins Wildlife Hall Of Fame

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The Rim Country man who and has long been at the forefront of state conservation efforts, including laying the foundation for the Mogollon Sporting Association, is being honored for his dedication, commitment and years of service.

The laurels Gary Barcom is to receive include his induction into the Arizona Wildlife for Tomorrow Hall of Fame during its 10th annual banquet to be held Aug. 24 at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center.

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Gary Barcom will be inducted into the Arizona Wildlife for Tomorrow Hall of Fame during a banquet Aug. 24.

Also, Barcom will receive the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife's Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor Award July 14 during ceremonies in Rapid City, S.D.

"All this has kind of blown me away," Barcom said. "I've asked why I was picked for these and told that (information) will have to wait (until the ceremonies)."

While Barcom, who is openly modest, might be a tad bit in the dark about his two prestigious nominations, there's little doubt around the Rim Country why he's receiving them.

He has been the president of the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, is active in more than a score of conservation organizations and has guided the Mogollon Sporting Association since its founding in 1991 in a Rim Country coffee shop.

With Barcom at the roots of the MSA, the organization has grown to become a solid benefactor of local youth programs and a protector of wildlife and the environment.

In 2005, the MSA was inducted into the same Outdoor Hall of Fame that Barcom will soon join.

"Helping start the MSA is one of the accomplishments I'm most proud of," Barcom said.

Thanks to his efforts and those of other volunteers, the MSA has also received the Arizona State Schools Public Relation Association's Award Of Merit for its longtime support of school programs.

In addition to Barcom's contributions to the MSA, he's been active in Boy Scouts, Safari Club, Outstanding Young Farmer Program, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Arizona Jaycees and the Arizona Antelope Foundation.

He has also served as a liaison between the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society and the Arizona Game and Fish Department and currently serves on the Heritage Public Advisory Committee providing insights into the administration of the fund.

The Payson man has also been at the forefront of a number of youth hunter recruitment and retention programs and is known to be an avid angler and hunter.

"When I can get drawn for a (hunt) tag, that is," he said.

In light of the honors Barcom is having bestowed on him, he's not hesitant about revealing the reason for his extensive contributions to so many conservation organizations.

"I love to hunt and fish so I believe you give something back if you take something," he said. "I grew up that way and it's a joy to do it."

While Barcom's service in the myriad of conservation organizations is mostly public knowledge, only a few know that he played an active role last fall in helping a teenage boy, battling cancer, fulfill a lifetime dream by participating in an archery elk hunt east of Payson.

The boy called the hunt, "a great adventure I will always remember."

In notifying Barcom of his Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor Award, Jeffrey Vonk, president of WAFWA wrote, "for you to be selected should be a source of great personal satisfaction and pride."

Vonk also said that only "exceptional individuals meeting the high standards reflected in the award criteria" receive the coveted citation.

As a Wildlife for Tomorrow Hall of Fame inductee, Barcom joins a long list of leaders who have made significant contributions to preserving Arizona's outdoor heritage.

Among those previously inducted are Barry Goldwater, Morris K. Udall, Bob Hirsch, Ben Avery, Tom Woods and others.

Before recently retiring, Barcom -- a 45-year resident of Arizona -- was president of Barcom's Parts and Equipment, a company he founded in 1979.

"I moved (to Payson) from Casa Grande for business reasons, but I also knew (the move) would give me more (outdoor) opportunities," he said.

For those interested in following in Barcom's charitable footsteps, his advice is simple.

"Just get involved. There are plenty of organizations out there that need help, so jump in and do your share," he said.

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