By Merrick R.D. Moody
After 20 years of Distinguished Law Enforcement Service for Big Thicket and more than 30 years counting time as a State Peace Officer, with SWAT Certification, Ranger Mike Hughes has announced his retirement at as U.S. park ranger.
Hughes, a Tyler County resident, had numerous accomplishments throughout his career that are noteworthy. He captured a wanted suspect for kidnapping, meth and a stolen vehicle. He led numerous body recoveries and felony investigations. He taught hundreds of young hunters to respect wildlife conservation and natural resources, as a State Certified Hunting Educator. He was a lead U.S. Department of the Interior Small Craft Boat Instructor who taught many students, from numerous agencies, to Safely operate GOV vessels.
He detailed to the Mexican Border for Border Security and assisted other parks during special events, such as Jean Lafitte’s Battle of New Orleans Anniversary, as well as Post-9-11 Gateway Arch Security.
Along with a USFWS agent, at the Arch, Mike detained terror suspects who were transferred to the FBI. He was a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Distinguished Weapons Firearms Instructor, the highest award for firearms.
He led many Search and Rescue operations, helping numerous individuals in distress. He saved lives during record flooding events and received the U.S. Department of the Interior Valor Award for Heroism and Life Saving, Texas Parks and Wildlife Director’s Award for Life Saving, Tyler County Emergency Management Award for Public Safety and a US Congressional Award for Life Saving, presented by US Congressman Brian Babin at the park.