Office of External Affairs


Secretary of the Interior
Secretary Salazar's Statement

Video of Nomination

Statement of Sam D. Hamilton Nominee to be Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service break

Portrait Gallarybreak

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thanks all the agencies, partners, groups, individuals and many others who have provided their support. Just a few of the many statements are listed below.

Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks
Department of the Interior
Sam Hamilton was one of the finest men I’ve ever known. He had all the charm of a Southern gentleman combined with the focused intellect of a wildlife biologist and topped off with a passion for saving the planet and its living things.

He was at the top of his game doing impossibly difficult and important work with zest and intensity. He didn’t apply for the Fish and Wildlife Service Director position, but he stepped up at great personal sacrifice to accept the call. For him his work was not just a job, it was a mission. He worked with, trained and inspired thousands of people over his 30 year career. You all are his legacy, and continuing his work at his high standard is the best tribute we can pay to him.

Rowan Gould, Acting Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“Throughout his 30 year career in the Service, Sam was always so proud to be a part of the Service, and always said how humbled and honored he felt to be asked to lead our agency. He was inspired by the men and women of the Service who dedicate their lives to protecting fish and wildlife and habitats, always believing that working together, and with our partners, we could accomplish so much. We will miss him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.”break

Ducks Unlimited
Sam was a strong partner, a great leader for fish and wildlife conservation and a good friend. His untimely passing leaves a void that we will feel for years. Sam and DU have worked together for many years to improve habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Sam's energy and vitality, combined with his leadership skills, produced results for wildlife, and he set the pace for many of us. We will miss him greatly."

Dr. Alan Wentz, Senior Group Manager for Conservation, Marketing and Communicationbreak

Idaho Department of Fish and Game
“A sad loss to us all. You are in our thoughts and let me know how I can help thru this difficult transition period.”

Cal Groen, Directorbreak

Idaho Falconers' Association
“Please forward my sincere condolences up the chain to your administration and staff members for the loss of Director Hamilton on behalf of the Idaho Falconers' Association. We would also like to pay our respects to Director Hamilton's family if they have contact address or email available for such a message.”

Dave G. Smith Presidentbreak

National Wildlife Federation
“The conservation world has suffered a great loss with the passing of Sam. Throughout his career at the Fish and Wildlife Service, Sam proved to be a visionary leader. His dedication to wildlife conservation was unparalleled and his passion for his work was inspiring.”

Larry Schweiger, President and CEObreak

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
“Sam was a wonderful colleague for whom we at NOAA had deep admiration. Sam was, above all, a true champion of wildlife conservation. Those of us who worked with Sam on restoration efforts in the Florida Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico greatly appreciated his passion, integrity, knowledge and devotion to conservation issues and to people. His unique ability to work across agencies and with diverse stakeholders to craft meaningful solutions to challenging problems was legendary. It will surely be a part of his legacy and a model for all of us.”

Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administratorbreak

National Wildlife Refuge Association
“Sam was a bright light in the world of wildlife conservation. He was a pioneer in innovative strategies to protect and restore wildlife habitat; as Director of FWS, he worked tirelessly to implement a larger, landscape-level wildlife conservation vision for the nation. With his passing, the conservation community has suffered a great loss. Sam got his start building fences on National Wildlife Refuges, rising to the highest level in the Fish and Wildlife Service leadership. Throughout he never forgot his love for National Wildlife Refuges. “

Evan Hirsche, Presidentbreak

Safari Club International
"Safari Club International and our members are saddened by the passing of US Fish and Wildlife Director Sam Hamilton. A dedicated Fish and Wildlife Service employee for more than 30 years, Hamilton was a true champion for America's public lands, the ideal that conservation must be driven by sound science and our wildlife habitat. His efforts and contributions will surely be missed in the hunting and conservation community."break

The Nature Conservancy
"Sam Hamilton was an exceptional conservationist and a remarkable public servant. He had a lifetime of lasting accomplishment in his various posts with the Fish and Wildlife Service and showed immense promise as the Service's Director. Our sympathy goes out to Sam's family and to his colleagues at the Department of Interior." 

Mark Tercek, CEObreak

The Comanche Nation
“Our hearts are sadly touched by the all too premature passing of Director Sam Hamilton. Troy and I, our Comanche Nation Chairmen past and present, and our Sia family members were greatly honored to have met Director Hamilton through your gracious introduction during the Directorate meeting last October. We will always hold the fond memory of the Director standing atop historic Numunuh (Comanche) land with Numu Titsi waii (Comanche Lance) held firmly yet sensitively as he participated in our traditional blessing. We will likewise treasure the letter Director Hamilton sent to us following his visit, expressing his appreciation and how moved he was to have experienced our traditional ways. His personal energy will forever remain a part of the lance he held that day at our sacred Wichita Mountains. For the four days that begin with his passing, we will offer traditional prayer and ceremony to honor his life and ask for strength of heart for those he leaves behind. Our hearts and spirit are with you all."

William Voelker, Director/Founder
Sia: The Comanche Nation break

The Wildlife Society
(Note: By clicking on above link, you will be leaving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.)
“We have indeed lost a most talented wildlife biologist, and for many of us, a very good friend.”

Bruce Leopold, President break

Wyoming Game and Fish Department
“On behalf of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, I wish to extend condolences to you, the Service and Sam's family and friends. Those within the state fish and wildlife agencies who knew Sam spoke highly of him, and were optimistic of the possibilities his appointment could bring to our partnership.”

Steve K. Ferrell, Director
Wyoming Game and Fish Departmentbreak

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
“The truth is simple: Sam Hamilton was about as decent a fellow as you would find anywhere. That means that he treated others well and fairly, made it easy for it others to treat him the same way, was thoughtful, reflective, and creative. Sam led his staff in creating innovative plans that both protected species and kept military bases from encroachment by incompatible development. Some of the earliest relief during Hurricane Katrina was provided by Fish and Wildlife Service personnel under Sam's leadership. All of these real-world things had to work in the midst of a political atmosphere of rapidly changing policy issues. Sam made real friends, not just political friends, in industry, politics, the military, and advocacy groups of all kinds. He loved life and a good laugh.”

Craig Manson, Former Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks
Distinguished Professor and Lecturer in Law
Capital Center for Public Law & Policy break

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
“Madam President, I speak today to commemorate the life of a true friend of Florida, Mr. Sam Hamilton, who passed away on Saturday. In September of last year, Mr. Hamilton became the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. That was a fitting position for a man who had dedicated 30 years to protecting the Nation’s natural resources and wildlife.”

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)break

U.S. Senator James Inhofe
(Note: By clicking on above link, you will be leaving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.)
"We are all deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Sam Hamilton. A long-time public servant for over 30 years, Sam had the utmost respect in Washington and throughout the conservation community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and his colleagues."

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works break

Washington Department of Natural Resources
“What a loss! Our hearts go out to his family and everyone at FWS.”

Peter Goldmark, Commissioner




Last updated: March 3, 2010
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