New marine police vessel named after former VMRC commissioner

From left are Virginia Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles, former Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) commissioner Bill Pruitt, Shari Pruitt, Diane Pruitt, Paul Pruitt, VMRC commissioner Jamie Green, Steve Pruitt, Jessica Pruitt and Megan Pruitt. Photo by VMRC director of communications Zachary Widgeon

by Larry Chowning

URBANNA—The Virginia Marine Police and Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) recently launched a police vessel, the W.A. Pruitt, named after former VMRC commissioner William A. “Bill” Pruitt.

A ceremony was conducted in July as state officials, Tangier Island dignitaries, family, friends and colleagues attended a ceremony on Tangier Island to honor Pruitt and the official naming of the new boat. It will be stationed at Tangier Island, where Pruitt was born and raised. A VMRC news release said the honor was awarded Pruitt for his “dedicated service to the Commonwealth.”

Pruitt and his family were invited to Tangier for what he thought was to attend the christening of a new VMRC patrol boat for the Eastern Shore. “I sort of knew something was up when my son called me and said my entire family planned to go,” he said in a telephone interview on August 10. “Also, my brother called me from the Eastern Shore and said something to me about it. I still didn’t get it until we arrived and I saw the boat with my name on it. It was quite a surprise and I’m deeply honored.”

Pruitt retired in 2006 after 25 years as head of VMRC. His longevity in the position might not seem that big of a deal except….

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