Jimmie Parman of Newman Lake was honored last week by Washington hunter education instructors with the Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearms Safety Award honoring the state’s top instructor in 2012.
Parman, 71, taught four classes last year backed by one other certified instructor and a dozen helpers who logged 700 hours of volunteer time.
But that doesn’t include all the hours involved in organizing sponsors and free classes for the students.
“I’d always believed in the hunter education program,” he said, noting that it wasn’t until he retired as a federal mediator that he could become a certified instructor and commit to teaching students week after week.
Since 2004, Parman has helped more than 1,000 students meet the hunter education prerequisites for buying a hunting license.
His enthusiasm is contagious. His son, Rick, is an instructor. He convinced the Elks Club in Spokane Valley to provide their facility for the classes and the Hauser Lake Gun Club to provide free use of their range for live-fire instruction.
“The Northwest Sportsman Club gave us financial backing and furnished a dozen volunteers,” he said, noting that each student who passes the course is entered in a drawing for Cabela’s gift cards.
More rigid hunter education policies adopted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife last year have caused some unrest among hunter ed instructors around the state, and even Parman said “I don’t necessarily agree with all of them totally.
“But I’ve committed myself to working within the system and changing things that don’t make sense to me.
“I like working with the students. They’re kids mostly, but we have older ones, too.”
Dealing with gun-toting novices has not fazed him over the years, but Parman said he met a group that kept him on his toes last year:
“A crew of six 12-to-13 year olds, all boys, all friends from the same school, in one classroom – it was a challenge! But they all passed.”