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Kempf honored for 40 years of service

Photo provided Greg Kempf received an award from Area Conservation Officer Greg Oldakowski for 40 years as a Firearms Safety Instructor. Kempf has been a key man with the shooting program and with many programs with the Knob Hill Sportsman's Club.

At one time in his life Greg Kempf once found himself serving in the United States Navy at Newport, Rhode Island. He was mighty disappointed when he discovered that there was no game to hunt in Newport in his off-duty hours.

Since hunting was not an option, Kempf decided to take up pistol shooting for recreation, even though he doubted he could hit anything with a pistol when he first started out. Kempf eventually joined a Navy shooting team. He also ran a shooting range for the Navy.

It was the beginning of something very good for Wadena area youth and the Knob Hill Sportsman's Club.

Kempf found he liked pistol shooting and in 1970, when he was teaching in Menahga, he was approached by conservation officer Jim Smith with an opportunity to teach gun safety. It was Kemp's chance to give gun safety instruction.

"He told me 'do I have a deal for you,'" Kempf laughed.

Kempf was recently recognized by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for 40 years as a firearms safety instructor. Most of his work has been done with the help off the Knob Hill Sportman's Club.

Kempf decided to join the Knob Hill club because of its younger membership. The club did not have much of a facility in the beginning but that changed when it received a grant, bought 9.5 acres of land and put up an indoor and outdoor shooting range.

Kempf had a lot of help in building the indoor and outdoor shooting ranges at the Knob Hill facility northeast of Wadena. He was the club's principal instructor from 1976-2002. He had 15 instructors helping him and together they would push 68-78 kids through the firearms safety program. He has since taken a backseat but still has a healthy interest in the club, gun safety and the shooting ranges.

"My goal was to do what we have done out there," Kempf said.