WINSLOW (AP) – A pair of state game wardens who rescued a woman from a submerged car in Moosehead Lake shared the spotlight with fellow heroes, and the man chosen as Warden of the Year, at an observance Friday.

Warden Neal Wykes of Naples, a 26-year veteran, received the year’s top honors at a banquet in Winslow.

Wykes was recognized for his work in one of Maine’s most popular recreational areas. Besides having Maine’s busiest boating region, the Naples District has intensive open water and ice fishing seasons, a lot of hunting, and all-terrain vehicle riding and snowmobiling.

“Warden Wykes has consistently performed his duties at an extraordinary high level, setting the performance bar to a point that others should aspire to,” said Col. Tom Santaguida, chief of the Maine Warden Service.

Meritorious Service Awards were awarded to Warden Sgt. Dan Menard of Houlton and Game Warden Bill Chandler of Shirley for their rescue of a woman who was trapped in a submerged vehicle in Moosehead Lake.

Warden Chris Cloutier of Bridgton also received a Meritorious Service Award for his courage in apprehending an armed and dangerous bank robbery suspect on the grounds of an elementary school in Lovell.

The rescue of three overturned canoeists who weren’t wearing lifejackets on an icy Kingsbury Pond last April earned Warden Rick Clowry of Harmony a Meritorious Service Award. Clowry went into the icy water twice to save the victims.

A warden pilot who flew in conditions that kept most planes grounded in an effort to rescue two lost children was also honored with a Meritorious Service Award.

Pilot Dan Dufault of Turner was called out after a report of two children floating down the Kennebec River. Despite poor flying conditions, Dufault set out in his plane anyway, realizing that the lost children wouldn’t last long in the weather.

AP-ES-04-28-07 1534EDT

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