Tim Caddel is living the dream.
Growing up in the township of Algoma Mills, west of Sudbury, he loved all things outdoors – hunting, fishing, trapping, camping and snowmobiling – all leading to the dream of becoming a conservation officer.
Caddel made that dream come true and now the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is celebrating him as its Conservation Officer of the Year.
“I’d like to congratulate Tim and thank him for his dedication to protecting our natural resources while keeping the public safe,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “This achievement marks the pinnacle of his 33-year career with the ministry.”
Caddel started in the ministry as a summer student and excelled in a variety of roles – always with his eye on the conservation officer badge.
Then, one fateful day in 2002, which marks one of the proudest moments in his life, Caddel’s hard work and laser-sharp focus paid off as he was awarded that badge.
Caddel quickly advanced through the ranks and now serves as a staff sergeant in North Bay.
He has led several complex investigations to a successful conclusion, including a recent conviction for an endangered species offence that resulted in $200,000 in fines.
But his most significant accomplishment was his work to help establish the 2016 Lake Nipissing Commercial Fishery memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Nipissing First Nation to help protect declining walleye populations in the lake.
Caddel’s research, consultation, monitoring and enforcement were instrumental in developing the MOU. His dedication and contribution have been key in helping both the government and the First Nation achieve a healthy, sustainable walleye fishery on Lake Nipissing for generations to come.
When selecting Conservation Officer of the Year, the ministry looks at the whole person, not just the duties officers routinely carry out. Recipients must be those whose “character is beyond reproach.”
“Tim is the best representation of truth and integrity,” reads Caddel’s nomination. “He is fiercely loyal in commitment to his profession, friends, other officers and family. He wears the conservation officer uniform with great pride and dignity to the promotion of the ministry and the province of Ontario.”
More than 50 letters of support were gathered as part of his nomination. Inspiring, dependable and compassionate are just some of the words used to describe Caddel.
Caddel has offered his time – both on and off the job – in many capacities. He has been a peer support worker, a prison Bible leader, a judo instructor and a volunteer firefighter.
He is the first to jump in to help with such things as the MNRF Christmas food drive, family fishing days, talks to school and youth groups and representing the ministry at Remembrance Day ceremonies.
And just to show how well-rounded he is, when away from the job, Caddel also devotes time to being a country music performer and farmer. His most important role is that of husband, father and grandfather.
“If you are under Tim’s wing, he will do anything he can for you and go to great lengths to accommodate any situation,” said Jo-Anne Caddel, his wife of 32 years. “He has a lot of compassion for people, putting his own needs last. Anything he does, he does with his whole heart.”