MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation bestowed the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award, its highest honor, upon Bryan and Jacque Stark of Tucson, Arizona, for their significant and lasting contributions to benefit elk and elk country.
“It’s very, very humbling. There are so many people that do so much for this organization,” said Bryan. “How we got chosen—it’s beyond our expectations, but it’s very much appreciated. There are probably so many people that deserve it more.”
The Starks, as well as their sons Robert and Wes, are avid hunters, anglers and RMEF life members. Their involvement with the conservation organization began in the early 2000s and accelerated to this day. Bryan and Jacque served in various volunteer positions and helped the powerhouse Tucson Chapter become one of the most productive among RMEF’s 500+ chapters.
“It’s really just a big family. We’re just kind of a small piece of the puzzle,” said Jacque.
“I would like to say congratulations and thank you to Bryan and Jacque Stark for their years of dedication to RMEF’s mission and for making elk country a better place,” said Fred Lekse, chair of the RMEF Board of Directors.
The Starks donate their resources in addition to their time. To cite one example, they purchase approximately 70 sponsorships and a handful of life memberships for their banquet guests each year. Additionally, they assist fundraising efforts by bidding on items, attending banquets across Arizona and volunteering at the PBR Finals and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“We just can’t say thank you enough for all the things the Starks have done for RMEF in Tucson and how hard they’ve worked and supported us for a long time,” said Charlie Decker, RMEF co-founder and board member. “Congratulations and thank you so much. We wish you both all the very best.”
RMEF surprised the Starks with the award at their cabin in the White Mountains.
“We stopped cooking breakfast to take the time to watch the video that national made for us,” said Jacque. “And get a bunch of tissues for our eyes,” added Bryan. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room I don’t believe.”
The Starks are the 24th recipient of the Wallace Pate Award over RMEF’s 36-year history.
Wallace Fennell Pate served as RMEF’s first president and chair of the board. He dedicated his time, energy and financial resources for the betterment of wildlife in North America. Now deceased, Pate became a national role model for those focused on natural resources conservation.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 8 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.