Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Jake Valentine (1917-2000) earned the Army’s Silver Star for heroism under fire in New Guinea during WWII. Big in stature, at 6’4”, and humor, he joined the USFWS in 1950 and served as refuge manager of Slade, Chincoteague, and Loxahatchee NWRs. Jake was the USFWS Regional Wildlife Biologist for the Gulf Coast during the first legal test of the Endangered Species Act. In a 1975 lawsuit, his investigation and court testimony held off construction of Interstate 10 for many years and directly led to the creation of the Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR. Fiercely dedicated to resource conservation, vigorous, confident, and tenacious, he was a magnet and mentor for many young biologists. Jake’s durability in the field was legendary into his mid-70s and his tireless crane research and prolific publications spanned three decades.