MOREHEAD CITY – If you ask Bill Register, he'll tell you he doesn't like the limelight, so he is a little bashful that his colleagues nominated him for Marine Fisheries Enforcement Officer of the Year.
"It makes me feel good that they think a lot of me," Register said, "But me, myself, I don't think I've done anything more to get it – I see other guys I think do more."
Nevertheless, Register will receive the award Sept. 9 at the 54th Annual Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet in Cary. And there will be accolades for the many things he has done.
A former Navy Seal, Register was instrumental in developing and implementing a water survival course for Marine Patrol, N.C. Wildlife and N.C. Marine Fisheries employees. But he is humble about this contribution.
"It was a joint effort for all of us," Register said.
He has taught other courses, too, such as cold weather shooting and firearms training. He has assisted other instructors with training new hires in pepper spray use, and he has taught several annual in-service training sessions.
When he is not training, he is patrolling the heavily-fished coastal waters of New Hanover County, enforcing size and creel limits and other fishing regulations, monitoring polluted areas and nursery areas for illegal activity, and performing dealer and license inspections and boating safety inspections.
Register said it is one of the best law enforcement jobs you can have because 90 percent of it is proactively educating the public.
"We get to talk to people who are happy to see us," Register said. "Even if we have to issue someone a citation, it's usually pretty good encounters."
When he is not working, this self-professed family man likes to spend time with his wife, Jeannette, and two sons, Jared and Jason. And there is where his modesty ends.
"Both my kids, I'm super proud of," Register said.
Jared, 18, is going into the Air Force. Jason, 12, has done well in tae kwon do.
Originally from Wilmington, Register graduated from Hoggard High School in 1991. He was active duty in the Navy from 1991 to 2001, and a Navy Seal for the final eight of those years.
He worked with the Wilmington Police Department for three years before joining Marine Patrol in January 2004. He began as a patrol officer in the Surf City area, but his duties moved to New Hanover County in 2008.
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation presents its Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards annually to individuals, associations, businesses and others who have exhibited unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina.
Contact Register at 910-796-7220 or William.Register@ncdenr.gov
. Download a photo of Register here. Download photos of him here.