Anyone who knew the late Gary Evenson knew him as a dedicated Boilermaker and an avid outdoorsman. He not only taught his children and grandchildren to love and respect the outdoors, he was a conservation evangelist—so much so the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance posthumously honored Evenson with the 2023 Conservation Steward of the Year award.
“We present the award within our 18 Charter Union Affiliates and do so only when an individual is deserving,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Walt Ingram. “Gary was most certainly a deserving recipient of the award and a great example for all to follow.”
Evenson, a member of L-627 (Phoenix) since 1975, died on Oct. 29 and was mourned by his family, his Boilermaker brothers and sisters, as well as many others.
“Gary Evenson was intense…intense about hunting, fishing, his family, his union, and yes, intensely passionate about the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance,” Ingram said. “His sudden and untimely passing leaves a big hole that represents so much of his life spent giving to others.”
USA’s mission is to unite the union community through conservation and preserve North America’s outdoor heritage and Evenson donated his time to that mission. For example, Evenson volunteered at the USA’s first Boilermaker Kansas City Get Youth Outdoor Day in 2022.
“He was so kind and patient with all the youth who stepped up to his shooting station. That big old burly rough ‘n tough Boilermaker melted into a kind soft spoken gentle giant,” Ingram said. “It was so touching to see him help each young shooter and express genuine joy when they finally broke a target."
It was a scene that played out a lot within the USA community.
“He was always happy to share his outdoor knowledge and hunting stories, and he was passionate about getting kids engaged in the outdoors,” said USA Communications Manager Kate Nation.
USA also honored Evenson’s memory by including an image of him on their shoot tour trailer. “The trailer travels around the country all year long, and we are proud to have his image on the trailer for all the country to see,” Ingram said. “What an example he left to all of us about how to pass on our outdoor heritage.”