Lance Lindley grew up in the Panhandle town of Shamrock and lived across the street from a Texas Game Warden. He idolized him. Lindley loves to hunt and fish and spent lots of time growing up on Lake Meredith, where he was envious of the game wardens doing water safety patrols.

“I thought it would be so awesome to get paid to do that, but everyone told me it was impossible to get into the Game Warden Academy, so I didn’t even try when I graduated from college,” said Lindley.

Armed with a biology degree from West Texas A&M, Lindley landed a job with an environmental services company in Austin. He did that for a couple of years, and decided it was not the career path he wanted to pursue.

It took him two tries, but with the encouragement of the very game warden and family neighbor who first inspired his interest in the field, he made it into the Texas Game Warden Academy in 2005. His first duty station was Pecos County near Fort Stockton, where he served for three years. Wanting to get closer to home, he transferred to cover Hutchinson and Carson counties near Amarillo, where he’s been ever since.

“I love being a Texas Game Warden. The freedom of the job is probably the best thing about it. We work our own schedule, when we think it’s most important to be out there. And of course, being outdoors is a great perk, too.”

Texas Game Wardens are deeply connected to their communities, and many, like Lindley, choose to go back to their home ground. They get to know civic and business leaders, along with the landowners whose ranches they patrol.

Lindley got to know the plant manager of the Phillips 66 refinery in Borger at volleyball games where both their daughters played. The manager invited local law enforcement agencies for a plant tour, and he asked them to let him know if they ever needed any equipment, because Phillips 66 would like to support them.

As it turns out, Lindley had just been issued a new boat, but there weren’t enough funds to fully equip it. Phillips 66 stepped up with a donation through Gear Up for Game Wardens, and the boat was outfitted with the needed gear, including a side-scan sonar.

Gear Up for Game Wardens is a Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation program that provides specialty gear for Texas Game Wardens through private donations. The following year, Phillips 66 stepped up again to purchase a thermal drone for Amarillo-area game wardens, which has been used numerous times since for search and rescue missions.

This year, Phillips 66 donated $30,000 through Gear Up for a brand-new climate-controlled UTV.

“We spend a lot of time patrolling in rough and dusty areas, like the Canadian River off-road areas, in the dead of winter and the blazing heat of the summer,” said Lindley. “We are so grateful to Phillips 66 and Gear Up for Game Wardens for providing this equipment that will allow us to do our jobs more safely and effectively.”