After almost 26 years of protecting wildlife in the Lone Star State and upholding the laws of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Erath County Game Warden Tony Navarro is hanging up his guns.

At a March meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Carter Smith, TPWD executive director, recognized Navarro with a service award for a quarter century of work with the department.

At the award ceremony, Carter said when Navarro graduated from the academy, he went down to Jefferson County and began his career in Port Arthur.

“(He) worked hard on all of those coastal issues that you all are so familiar with, from shrimping and fishing to commercial fishing and waterfowl hunting,” Smith said, referring to Navarro’s first ten years with TPWD . “He got all of the salt air that he could stand.”

From the Beaumont District, Navarro moved to Stephenville, where he has remained for almost 16 years.

“It is his home place,” Smith said. “He plans to retire there. Let’s celebrate his 25 years of work on behalf of this Agency.”

And now those words, spoken before an assembled crowd in Austin almost a year ago, are a reality. Navarro hung up his hat and worked his last day as the local game warden on Nov. 30, just weeks into North Texas’ White-tailed deer hunting season.

While he has served his last day as game warden, Navarro said he has no intention of leaving Erath behind. When he moved this way more than 15 years ago, he said this is where he would live out his retirement.

As far as future plans, Navarro said he is going to keep it simple.

“I’m going to enjoy life,” Navarro said. “That’s what retirement is about.”

But he said since he still holds his commission, he will be available when he is called on to lend a helping hand.

“When there is a need for manpower, such as in the case of a natural disaster, I will go wherever I am needed,” Navarro said. “I am still a commissioned peace officer and I will uphold that duty.”

A bash has been organized to honor Navarro’s career. The event will be held Saturday, Jan. 16 at the City Hall at City Limits at 1907 E. Washington in Stephenville.

To RSVP and purchase tickets, contact Douglas Volcik at (254) 580-8317 or David Steele at (254) 977-3409.