MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency bid farewell to Greene County Wildlife Officer Marvin Reeves who retired Wednesday after 36 years of service.
Reeves was sent off with a retirement party at the TWRA regional office in Morristown alongside family, friends, and coworkers.
According to a TWRA press release, Reeves began his career in 1982 as a boating enforcement officer on the Knoxville waterfront during the World’s Fair.
In 1983, he received his first full-time assignment as the Carter County Wildlife Officer and also spent time in Davidson and Blount Counties before landing permanently in Greene County.
He was instrumental in helping restore both white-tailed deer and wild turkeys at a time when many counties were only partially open to hunting and some were completely closed, the release said.
Officer Reeves also saw to the expansion of black bears across the region and participated in “Operation Smoky,” an effort conducted in the late 1980s, which was the largest undercover bear hunting sting in North American history.
Due to concern over the black market trade of bear fur and meat, reportedly mainly gall bladders, agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and TWRA infiltrated hunting clubs in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. According to the release, 43 individuals were arrested and charged with 130 state and federal violations involving poaching and the selling of bear parts.
Officer Reeves also spent many summers enforcing the state’s boating safety laws on every major reservoir in East Tennessee. According to the release, he arrested boaters for boating under the influence, issued citations to violators and investigated numerous serious injury and fatal boating accidents across the region.
“Marvin Reeves was the last of the ‘old school’ Game Wardens in our district and set a great example for those that follow,” Lt. Jeff Prater said. “He prosecuted the violators that needed it and cut breaks when appropriate.”
The release said that he excelled as a Hunter Education instructor teaching 73 classes in Carter, Monroe and Greene Counties that certified 1,863 students over the course of his career. He also participated as a safety officer for the Scholastic Clay Target Program.