State Game and Fish Department employee Gene Van Eeckhout, and the late Dean Hildebrand, former agency director, were recent inductees into the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame.
Van Eeckhout, southeast district fisheries supervisor and 38-year veteran of the Department, was cited for his unselfish dedication to his job and community.
“It is truly special to be recognized with this group of people,” Van Eeckhout said. “I have known or had the pleasure of working with 18 out of the 23 who are in the Hall of Fame.”
Hildebrand, a life-long ambassador of the state’s natural resources, was the Game and Fish director from 1996 until his retirement in 2005. One of the major accomplishments he was instrumental in developing during his tenure was Save Our Lakes, a program that focuses on restoring at-risk fisheries.
Dean’s wife, Joey, said, “I feel extremely honored because I know he’s looking down at this and enjoying every minute of it.”
The North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame is located in Garrison.