Stormy McCuistion had a career epiphany when he was in the fifth grade. A classroom visit by a Texas Game Warden set the course for his future.
“I was 11 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday,” he said. “He had such a command of presence. He told us it was not one of those jobs where you are inside all day, and since I loved the outdoors I thought it would be a perfect fit.”
Stormy knew that if he wanted to be a Texas Game Warden, he would have to set his standards high.
"I stayed out of trouble in high school and made good grades because that’s what I knew I had to do. I knew I had to work hard to always do the right thing."
After high school he graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in agricultural development and a minor in wildlife and fisheries science. He applied to the Texas Game Warden Academy and was thrilled to be accepted on his first try.
“It was literally a dream come true,” he said.
He graduated from the Game Warden Academy in 2007 and worked in Denton County for 11 years. He just recently transferred to Cooke County, north of Denton, near his boyhood home in Sanger.
While in Denton County, Stormy worked more than 60 drowning cases on Lake Lewisville, grim duty that takes a toll. In recent years, game wardens have begun using high-tech sidescan sonar equipment that makes the difficult job safer and easier. But the expensive equipment is not available to all wardens, which is one reason Gear Up for Game Wardens was formed. Thanks to the new program, sidescan sonars are more widely available for use to game wardens across the state.
Stormy was involved in a recent Denton County Gear Up for Game Wardens fundraiser that garnered more than $20,000 for local equipment needs. As a direct result of that effort, much-needed specialty equipment was purchased for the region’s wardens, including night vision goggles and thermal riflescopes. Night vision goggles can make the difference between a search and rescue operation that takes minutes instead of hours.
"It goes to show that Gear Up for Game Wardens is absolutely working,” said Stormy. “It’s not only working for game wardens in the field, but for victim’s families, too."
For Texas Game Wardens across the state, Gear Up for Game Wardens is making a big difference in providing tools they might not otherwise have.
"Specialty equipment allows us to have the newest tools of the trade to do our work most efficiently,” he said. “We really appreciate the support from the neighbors in our communities for Gear Up for Game Wardens."
For more info visit www.gearupforgamewardens.org.