Jech recognized for 30 years of firearm safety
It's one thing to teach firearm safety classes, it's another to teach with the passion to make the lessons memorable. Combining both and doing it for 30 years? That is something rarely witnessed, but Red Wing local Jason Jech has accomplished that and was honored for his three decades of service on April 30.
Appropriately, the service award was presented during a firearm safety class at Twin Bluff Middle School.
"I started teaching in high school because my dad was teaching it and it was just a way to spend more time with my dad," Jech said. "There's so much more to hunting than just shooting. It's about being around people you care about and enjoy being with."
Jech brings that mantra to his safety course as well. Sure, he likes to build relationships and make firearm safety memorable, but he wants to make sure the kids he teaches are provided the tools to build relationships when using firearms and do so safely.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Brittany Hauser agreed with Jech.
"The amount of kids that come through, it's good to have instructors that really know what they are doing and have the passion about teaching it," she said. "Anybody can teach a firearm safety class, but it's the passion that's going to stick with the kids."
Jech said there comes a point in nearly every safety course where the students realize how real the danger really is..
"We used to use a laser rifle-type gun, almost like a BB gun and it didn't feel real," Jech said. "Then the kids would feel a real gun, see it and work the actions. When I'd get the gun back it'd be sweaty, because the kids were just so nervous.
"It's just that realization that this is important and that this can be done safely, but if you don't do it right, it can be extremely dangerous too."
Firearm safety started in 1955 to help curb the large amount of gun-related deaths in hunting took off statewide in 1970. As those who have already passed their gun safety certification or who are still seeking it can attest, anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, needs the certification to purchase a hunting license.
In addition to just learning about gun safety, kids will learn about bows and treestand safety as well. It's all part of a larger curriculum to get kids engaged with different aspects of the outdoors and the dangers that could potentially be presented.
"It's about getting kids outdoors and getting them to do it safely," Jech said.