Will Purvis, of Vernon Center in Blue Earth County, is the 2021 DNR firearms safety volunteer instructor of the year. He received the award earlier this month during Game Fair in Ramsey.
Purvis, a staunch conservationist who has spent decades working to get kids and adults alike interested in the outdoors, has been a volunteer firearms safety instructor since 1996. During that time, he’s certified more than 650 students in firearms safety. He’s also recruited many other volunteers – including members of his family – to ensure there are enough instructors to meet the increased demand for safety training.
Purvis is a longtime member of the Garden City Rod and Gun Club, volunteers with Minnesota State High School League trap shooting, and has been a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader.
“There are many firearms safety volunteers deserving of recognition, so for Will to be chosen among them is a true testament to the impact he’s had in creating a legacy of safe hunters and outdoor enthusiasts,” said Capt. Jon Paurus, safety training education manager for the DNR Enforcement Division. “His dedication to connecting people with the outdoors in a safe way is both admirable and inspirational.”
The Garden City Rod and Gun Club nominated Purvis for the award, saying, “Will is a very well-respected member of our area that has never sought personal recognition for his efforts in any endeavor, including hunter education.”
More than 4,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR firearms safety courses across the state. Since the firearms safety program began in 1955, more than 1.3 million students have been certified. DNR firearms safety certification is required of anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979 to buy a hunting license in Minnesota. Youth ages 11 and older can attend a firearms safety certification course and receive their certificate. For 11 year-olds who complete the course, their safety certificate becomes valid at age 12.
For more information on the dates and locations of available safety courses, see the Hunter Education/Firearms Safety Certification for Youth page of the DNR website (mndnr.gov/Safety/Firearms) or call 800-366-8917.