Congratulations to the 2018 WRPA Award Winners

This summer, we want to honor the amazing people, parks, and programs that received an award at the 71st Annual WRPA Conference & Tradeshow. The WRPA Awards Program honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to the field of recreation and parks in Washington State. Last month more than 17 different awards were handed out to WRPA members, public citizens, and legislators. We have three major categories that we recognize: Professional AwardsCitation of Merit Awards, and Spotlight Awards. In addition to these categories, WRPA also acknowledges Mickey Corso Grant recipients and local legislators who make a difference for our industry.

If you have questions about the awards program, please contact the Awards Committee Chair, Cheryl Fraser.

Professional Awards

Honor Fellow Award
Lori Cummings, City of Everett

As the highest recognition bestowed by WRPA to an individual, the Honor Fellow Award recognizes an individual’s lifetime achievement in the field of parks and recreation. The individual selected must be equal in mind, character, and professionalism to those who have preceded him or her and must set an example for those who will follow.

Young Professional Award

Kim Best, City of Cheney

The Young Professional Award recognizes up and coming leaders in the parks and recreation profession. Those selected for the honor possess the qualities and talents that will result in their assuming top leadership roles in the field and within WRPA in the future.

Ron C. Davis II Unsung Hero Award

Dianne Bailey, Snohomish County

The Ron C Davis II Award recognizes an individual for their unwavering commitment, leadership, passion, and contributions to the profession.  This award is meant for those individuals who work tirelessly to make a difference in people’s lives, without being in the spotlight, without significant acknowledgment, but with steadfast grace and passion.  This award is for an Unsung Hero.

Distinguished Service Award - The Distinguished Service Award honors recently retired professionals for outstanding service in the field of parks and recreation. 


Listed left to right:

  • Kathy Whitman, City of Seattle
  • Jane Lewis, City of Everett
  • Cathy VonWald, City of Bellevue
  • Terry Smith, Bellevue
  • Mary Anne Kelly, Shoreline
  • Bruce Fletcher, City of Mercer Island
  • Dennis Higashiyama, City of Lakewood

Citation of Merit Awards

The Citation of Merit Award recognizes individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to the field of parks and recreation. The Citation of Merit Award includes four award categories: Citizen, Legislative, Organization, and Professional.

Citizen - Honors a lay person’s contributions to the field of parks and recreation.


Listed right to left:
  • Shalisa Hayes, Metro Parks Tacoma
  • James Reddick, City of Olympia 

Legislative - Honors an elected or appointed official who has contributed to the field of parks and recreation through legislative action.

Joe Henry Duffie,
City of Tukwila


Organization - Honors an organization that has contributed to the field of parks and recreation.

BMX Program,
City of Spokane


Professional - Honors a parks and recreation professional’s contributions to the field of parks and recreation and WRPA.

Mary Coppin,

City of Lacey


President's Award - allows the current WRPA President to honor an individual or organization of their choosing.

Sarah Olson,

Lynnwood Parks & Recreation


Spotlight Awards

Spotlight Awards recognize outstanding achievements by parks and recreation agencies. Award categories include facilities and parks; marketing and outreach; and, program excellence.

Facilities & Parks
Recognizes excellence in parks and recreation facility design and construction.

Indoor Spaces  -  Facilities (defined as having a roof and walls) that have a recreational use component. (No winners this year)

Outdoor Spaces – Outdoor areas that have a recreational use component.


 Listed left to right:

  • Saddle Rock Education Area, City of Wenatchee
  • Veterans Memorial Pool, City of Walla Walla

– Recreational trail or path.

Ebey Waterfront Trail,
City of Marysville


Marketing & Outreach
Honors efforts to connect and engage community members while encouraging participation in parks and recreation activities.

Promotional Materials – Print or digital media materials that promote a park, facility, program or event and that successfully demonstrated an increased level of public awareness. (No winners this year

Innovative Outreach & Marketing – Marketing materials, practices or strategies that successfully improved community engagement. 

Get Moving,
City of Seattle


Program Excellence
Honors achievement in the delivery of parks and recreation programs and services.

Arts & Cultural Services – Programs, initiatives or special events that celebrate community character and reinforce the value of visual, performing or historic resources.

Dia de los Muertos,
City of Burien


Environmental Stewardship – Programs, initiatives or special events that enhance the physical environment, promote the conservation of natural resources or connect individuals with nature.

Youth Mountain Bike Initiative,
Bainbridge Island


Health & Wellness – Programs, initiatives or special events that promote healthy lifestyles and community wellness.

Elementary Sports Program,
Metro Parks Tacoma


Innovative Programming – Programs, initiatives or special events that are unique and cutting edge.

Dementia-Friendly Recreation,
City of Seattle


Cultural Competency – Programs, initiatives or special events that reach across cultural boundaries to educate, include, welcome and serve all individuals. (No winners this year)

Mickey Corso Leadership Grant

Mickey Corso Professional Leadership Grant 

As a tribute to Mickey and the professional leadership he provided in the field of parks and recreation, his family, friends, and co-workers have established the Mickey Corso Leadership Scholarship. 

2018 Award Recipients

  • Jessica ComptonWilliam Shore Memorial Pool District
  • Ryan Daly - Mercer Island Parks & Recreation
  • John Dunn Tukwila Parks & Recreation

Legislative Recognition


WRPA would also like to thank our hard-working lobbyist Doug Levy. Doug helps us to enact our top legislative priorities including urging the State Legislature to move forward with adoption of a 2017-19 Capital Budget, to protect funding for dedicated accounts within the Capital Budget, and to work toward future initiatives to discover funding/financing options to address parks and recreation M&O. At this year's WRPA Conference Doug also presented awards to recognize several of our legislators.

  • Senator David Frockt
    Capital Budget Chair for Senate Ways & Means Committee

  • Senator Jim Honeyford
    Capital Budget Ranking Member for Senate Ways & Means

  • Senator Mark Mullet
    Capital Budget Backup Negotiator for Senate Democrats

  • Senator Judy Warnick
    Capital Budget Assistant Ranking Member for Senate Ways & Means
  • Representative Steve Tharinger
    House Capital Budget Chair

  • Representative Strom Peterson
    House Capital Budget Vice-Chair

  • Representative Beth Doglio
    House Capital Budget Vice Chair

  • Representative Richard DeBolt
    House Capital Budget Ranking Member

  • Representative Norma Smith
    House Capital Budget Assistant Ranking Member

Past Award Winners