“When I get up every day and put my uniform on, it’s not like, ‘Oh no, I have to go to work today,’ ” Weaver said. “It’s the complete opposite. It’s, ‘I get to go to work. What do I get to do today?’ ”
Weaver’s passion for his job hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2012, he was named Tennessee Wildlife Officer of the Year by the Shikar-Safari Club, an international organization.
This year, he received another Tennessee Wildlife Officer of the Year award, this time from the state.
“To be recognized for the work that you do, it’s overwhelming to begin with,” Weaver said. “It makes you appreciate that you are making a difference.”
Weaver, a Kingsport native and Dobyns-Bennett High School graduate, has always loved being outdoors, particularly hunting and fishing. He pursued this love in college, earning a degree in wildlife and fishery science from Tennessee Technological University.
Once he graduated college, Weaver worked a few short-term jobs before being hired by the TWRA in 2007. With experience as both a wildlife technician and fisheries technician, Weaver worked his way up to become an officer with the agency a few years later.
Weaver’s career as an officer began in Hickman County, where he served for two years. He received the Shikar-Safari award during his second year.
After that, Weaver served in the Johnson/Sullivan County position for a year and a half before moving to Washington County, where he served for two and a half years. Now, he has transferred back to his home, Sullivan County, where he has worked for a year.
“You have to wait until somebody transfers or retires so you can move around and get home,” Weaver said. “Once you get this job, nobody leaves until they retire, because it’s a great job. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
Weaver was selected as Wildlife Officer of the Year based on his teamwork, public outreach, excellence, innovation, attitude, leadership and accomplishments.
Over the last year, Weaver inspected nearly 3,800 hunters, fisherman and boaters for compliance, which led to 199 court citations and seven physical arrests. He also issued 73 warning citations, assisted other officers and distressed boaters and helped with several events and school programs, among other accomplishments.
Weaver was nominated for the award by one of the sergeants in his district. Once he was selected from the other officers in his district, he advanced to the regional level, which consists of two districts. After being selected from his region, Weaver advanced to the state level, where he was chosen as Officer of the Year.
In the coming years, Weaver said he looks forward to learning and achieving new things.
“To me, this is a career and not a job; there’s a huge difference,” Weaver said. “A job is something you have to do but you don’t enjoy doing. A career is something that you look forward to improving on. That’s what I have.”