Tom Trakes Retiring – Let’s Write Some Letters!

Many of you already know this, but I’m sure some haven’t heard yet. The Veterans’ Waterfowl Hunt at San Jacinto Wildlife Area on February 11th will be the last hunt day with Tom Trakes in charge of San Jacinto Wildlife Area. Tom is, as they say, “pullin’ the pin”, and is retiring shortly after the end of this waterfowl season.

Tom has had a long run a San Jacinto Wildlife Area and has, in effect, become the face of SJWA. You almost can’t think of San Jac without thinking of Tom Trakes. The Southern California hunting community owes him a big debt of gratitude for running SJWA as a well-oiled machine (given the state limitation he has had to work with). With very few exceptions Tom has been the one to step out of the check station at 0300 and give his “welcome speech” running over the rules and anything else hunters need to know for the day. He organized and run all the volunteer clean-up and brush-up days, the hunter’s education class each year, and the ever-popular Junior and Veterans’ waterfowl hunts, just to name a few activities. He’s also gone above and beyond running SJWA’s toy drive each Christmas.

I think many of us have ended up with our pictures, along with our straps of ducks, on the “Fans of SJWA” Facebook page thanks to Tom’s quick camera shutter finger.

So, what can we all do for him? I think one of the biggest things we can do is write letters (via email) about our thoughts on how Tom runs and manages San Jacinto. Tom has been involved in an out of class grievance with the DFW and they are fighting it. Just write up a few short lines and how Tom runs things at SJWA. If he’s helped you out, some of the work and the extra work you’ve seen Tom do, and anything else Tom’s done that you think is noteworthy. Just a little atta boy on how well he runs the place. As I’ve said many a time, if the rest of the state employees were like Tom, we’d have a lot fewer problems in this state. (Can you imagine how well run a DMV full of Tom Trakeses would be? Well, maybe that’s TOO much to wish for). If you are so inclined to write an email letter for Tom, send it directly to him at to make sure he sees every one of them. He’ll forward them to the DFW people that need to know.

Another thing we can all chip in on for Tom is his daughter has started a GoFundMe to buy Tom his dream camera. Tom has come a long way with his photography since the first pictures he posted online many years ago. We can all pitch in to get Tom the next step in photography equipment to “play with” for his retirement. If you are of a mind to donate here’s the GoFundMe link…

The third thing we can do is attend Tom’s retirement party on March 18th at 4pm at The Ramona Event Center in Hemet (the old bowling alley) at 42151 E. Florida Ave. There’s a Facebook invite out on this which you can find at…

…February 18th is the last day to RSVP to this invite, so they know how many people are going to attend. I’ll not rehash all the party details here, just click on the link and you’ll have all the info.

So, Tom is leaving us for a better life in Idaho, (who can blame him?). Those will be big shoes to fill. Adios, my friend.


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