Wall of Fame

MNR Officer of the Year


The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Dan VanExan has been selected as the 2013 Conservation Officer of the Year. Dan currently works for Peterborough Enforcement Unit and is based out of Belleville.

Dan was presented the OCOA award Saturday night at the annual OCOA banquet. “Dan has been a Conservation Officer almost 30 years and has had many great accomplishments during his career. He has been very involved in training Conservation Officers and has always considered teaching new and seasoned officers one of the most satisfying things he does every year” said OCOA President Joe McCambridge.

Dan VanExan has worked around the Province and some of his career highlights include:

  • A member of the Initial Use of Force Instructors group in 1986 that assisted with the development of the Use of Force training within the Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Spent 2 weeks as part of an undercover operation investigating the commercialization of wildlife and night hunting
  • Actively involved with the Ontario Conservation Officers Association since 1982 and Dan is the only person to hold the President position in two separate terms in the Association’s history
  • Active member within his community holding positions on school councils, and different councils within his church

  • While accepting the award Dan indicated “I have been fortunate throughout my career to work with many experienced officers and my involvement with the training program is something I always considered very gratifying. I always wanted to make sure that officers got home at the end of their shift and hope that some of the training we have provided over the years helped to ensure that”.

    On Friday Dan was also presented with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Officer of the Year award by Lois Deacon, Director MNR Enforcement Branch and Assistant Deputy Minister, Provincial Services Division Tracey Mill. Lois Deacon said, “over the years Dan has been a great influence over both new officers and seasoned and experienced officers through the training program”.

    In addition, Dan also received the Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year Award and the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (part of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies) Officer of the Year Award.

    In accepting the Award, Sensei VanExan had this to say about his illustrious training career:

    "A significant portion of my career has been involved in training. First of all I would like to thank two people who are probably not known to many in this room, both for their impact in my ability as a trainer and my ability as CO, both through confidence and physical ability they helped develop in me. They are Sifu Paul Chan from the Hong Luck Kung Fu Club, who trained me through University and my time in Toronto. He passed away last year and is being immortalized in the training hall tomorrow. And Sensei/Sifu Bob Walther, who I have trained under since 1987."


    Dan VanExan


    Lois Deacon, the Director of MNR's Enforcement Branch,
    Dan & Suzanne VanExan and Joe McCambridge, the President of the OCOA.

    Lily Eng, Dan VanExan, Sifu Paul Chan

    Aden's Story


    Hi, my name is Aden and I'm 7.

    Sensei Walther and Sensei Gary have been showing me for almost a whole year now how to be strong by being proud of myself. They teach me Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing and even some Kung Fu. I used to be really shy to talk in class at school but not now. Now I never stop talking (but my mom says I should give other people a chance), but I'm just making up for lost time.

    With my Dad's job, we move lots and I used to be scared about starting new. Now I walk with my chin up so high I smell the clouds and I'm not scared about being new anymore.

    My martial arts has given me the power to stand up to bullies too by being a strong boy, so I use my power to stand up for other kids too. Then I tell them to come join so they can be so strong like me. I also like that my Dad, my big brother Alex and me all go together. I'm always gonna be doing this stuff for a long time no matter what, ‘cause Sensei Walther told me "to never give up", and I won't.


    Sensei Walther and Aden


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