Hardin departs Sardis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hardin departs Sardis Lake for different waters

By Rupert Howell

U. S. Corps of Engineer Park Ranger Gary Hardin left last weekend from Sardis Lake and arrived at Lake Okatibbee near Meridian as a Natural Resource Management Specialist.

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Although a promotion, Hardy disliked leaving behind family and the many lifelong friends he has made while working around the Panola County area since 1989.

Lyndall Helms with nationally known Bandit Lure Company credits Hardin’s effort with organizing the Corps of Engineers Habitat For Fish Day as the reason crappie fishing has improved at Sardis Lake.

“The crappie fishing this year has been exceptional with larger fish being seen in everyone’s creel. This kind of fishing can continue if we all work together on these “Habitat for Fish” days that Gary has organized for Sardis Lake the last few years,” Helms said.

Helms also said of Hardin, “He gives of his free time unselfishly to enhance the productivity of a fishery which in turn puts dollars into the pockets of merchants in the Batesville and Sardis area.

“Both we and our children will reap the benefits of this great lake we call Sardis,” Helms added.

Tracey Williams of Performance Marine who has worked with Hardin the past five or six years also sang his praises bragging on his organizational skills.

Williams said “He was real good at organizing bass tournaments such as St. Jude,” the annual tournament that involves 700 fishermen and has raised several million dollars for the Memphis based children’s hospital.

“We’re a little nervous about it this year,” Williams said.

And its not just fish habitat and tournaments that have occupied Hardin’s time with the Corps of Engineers.

Approximately 6,000 kids annually benefit from the Water Safety programs developed by the Corps.

Many Boy Scouts have assisted with habitat improvement with the bluebird nesting program where they maintain and monitor bluebird houses. Some have earned merit badges and completed requirements for Eagle using this program.

Still hundreds of youngsters have benefited by taking the Hunter Safety Program through the Miss. Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks with Hardin as a certified instructor.

Other highlights of Hardin’s former position have him assisting with and coordinating events such as the St. Jude Bass Classic, Delta Street Rods Car Show, the Dragonfly Triathalon, the Annual Clean-Up Day and many other various and sundry events taking place at Sardis Lake.

Hardin said the emphasis of his duties have been centered around children.

“The children are our future and providing them with education of water safety and hunter education may help them reach their future. If one benefits, it makes a difference,” he said.

On Thursday of last week co-workers, volunteers, friends and family came together at Western Sizzlin’ in Batesville to honor Hardin for his accomplishments and to wish him well at his new position.

Some, like Williams, are scratching their heads to see who will fill the shoes.

Hardin has one son, 14-year-old Tyler Hardin who will be a freshman at Senatobia High  School next fall.