Association Awards

2020 Award Winners Announced!

2020 “William V. Haskell” Distinguished Professional
of the Year Award Winner
Hillary Hallett, Recreation Director, Easton Recreation Department

Hillary has been a dedicated professional who has worked on behalf of Maine Recreation and Park members in her region since 2016, serving on the Maine Recreation and Park Association as the liason to the Northern Maine Community Recreation Association. She spearheaded efforts to revitalize the various program of the association by chairing committees and initiating changes to better serve participants in northern Maine communities.  Hillary has served as the state Hot Shot Coordinator since 2016 and she plays a pivotal role in the MRPA Pine Tree State Track and Field Games.

Here’s what Easton community members share about Hillary:

“Hillary has built a recreation department that is second to none in the state. Her approach has been to build a program which reaches both young and old and everyone inbetween. She has been steadfast in her goal to design a program that goes well beyong “ball sports”.  Hillary’s out of the box approach offers programs in outdoor survival, cooking and nutrition, gymnastics, crafts,  senior trips and tours, concerts and more”

“We are very blessed to have her and her family in the Town of Easton and I hope it stays that way for many years to come…she is working with my grandchildren now!”

“When it comes to recreation directors Hillary Hallett is the best of the best.  She provides the community with so many educational and innovative activities on a daily basis and makes it look easy.  Her out-reach is exceptional as she strives to include every child within the community by providing phenomenal activities and opportunities that engage everyone involved. Her organization and leadership are two amazing qualities she possesses which are crucial in her profession.”

“Hillary seems to be everywhere all the time.  We, as a school system, have an incredible working relationship with Hillary and the rec program. She keeps everyone involved and truly cares about the entire community.  She is truly a force of nature and she is such an inspiration to our students.”

“It takes someone special like Hillary to make a rec program successful. She is dependable, responsible, honest, caring and courteous. She is by far the most organized person I know.  She is a leader, a team player, a go getter, a hard worker and all around amazing lady.  Hillary is a valuable asset to the Easton Community and our Recreation Department.”

“William V. Haskell” Distinguished Professional of the Year Award

William V. Haskell served the MRPA from its inception and was director of the Presque Isle Parks and Recreation Department from 1946-1981.

  • Employment History/Experience:  The nominee should have a minimum of ten years working within the Recreation Field and at least a three-year period should have been within the state of Maine.
  • Education and Certification:  The candidate should have a degree in Recreation, or a related field.  Additional consideration will be given to those professionals who have earned higher degrees and/or who have become certified in Parks & Recreation or Therapeutic Recreation.
  • Professional Affiliation:  Candidates must maintain membership in the MRPA.  Any additional affiliations, such as NRPA, will hold value.
  • Leadership Contribution:  Candidates should display qualities of leadership in MRPA and/or NRPA by serving on the Executive Board or by making other professional contributions such as a committee chairperson or committee member.
  • Administrative & Program Development:  Candidate should have demonstrated outstanding performance on a community level, through innovative programming, facility development and civic involvement
  • Learn More about William Haskell

Recent Winners
2019 – Lisa Thompson (Wescustogo Hall & Community Center), 2018 – Karyn MacNeill (Yarmouth), 2017- Debbie Gendreau (Bangor), 2016 – Denise LeBlanc (Skowhegan), 2015 – Linda Brooks (Standish), Tina LeBlanc (Wells), Lucky D’Ascanio (Falmouth), Steve Balboni (Bath), Marcel Blouin (Sanford), Tracy Willette (Bangor), Deb Smith (South Portland), Michael Martin (Brewer), Doug Beck (Auburn), Eric Seekins (Oakland), Marie Carmichael (Houlton), Don Brewer (Portland), Cindy Hazelton (Gorham), Mike Boies (Woodland), Pam LeDuc (Topsham), Dr. Bill Eckart (UMaine Machias), Norm Poirer (Orono), Ken Hanscom (Brewer), Jim Toner (Waterville), Marcia Noyes (Yarmouth)

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2020 “Dr. Bill Eckart” Young Professional Award Winner
Gary Colello, Director, Bridgton Recreation

Gary Colello is being recognized by his professional peers with an award by the Maine Recreation and Parks Association. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership for the residents of Bridgton by developing, coordinating and implementing recreational opportunities for all ages.  Gary has recently served on the MRPA Fall Workshop and the MRPA annual conference planning committees.

This award is named for Dr. William Eckart, who retired from the University of Maine at Machias in 2011 after 31 years as Professor of Recreation Management. During his tenure, he built the program into one of the most respected programs in the country, and it was Maine’s only nationally accredited recreation degree program. Dr. Eckart was an active member of MRPA, serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors, spearheading the professional certification program, and managing membership.

Here is what residents of Bridgton say about Gary:

“Gary has taken a leadership role bringing together many towns in for baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse and other sports.  He also helps with town events such as the Christmas parade, 4 on the 4th road race & the town Halloween party. He also interacts with the local elementary, middle & high school. His skill dealing with children, coaches, parents, officials and other town’s representatives is amazing. He does this with a smile and an undeniable belief that the bottom line is that this is all done for the benefits of the children.”

“He has gone well above and beyond the typical duties of a small town rec director.”

“Gary is single-handedly responsible for growing our community health and wellness activities at a previously under-utilized old town hall, revitalizing an attached public winter ice rink and providing skates and helmets to those who are interested. I cannot think of a community event where I have not seen him in attendance. This winter he mobilized every town business to decorate their windows for the holiday season, as the Parks Department was unable to put up the customary decorations due to road construction. I do not think this was even his responsibility. He also doggedly organized the previously failing “Festival of Lights” parade in the beginning of December.”

“Since Gary has come to Bridgton, he has done a lot for our recreation community. He is constantly challenging the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality while also collaborating with more experienced recreation directors to bring our community the best programming possible.”

“Dr. Bill Eckart” Young Professional Award

Dr. William Eckart retired from the University of Maine at Machias in 2011 after 31 years as Professor of Recreation Management. During his tenure, he built the program into one of the most respected programs in the country, and it was Maine’s only nationally accredited recreation degree program. Dr. Eckart was an active member of MRPA, serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors, spearheading the professional certification program, and managing membership.

  • Employment History/Experience: The nominee should have minimum of three years working within the Recreation Field and at least a two-year period should have been within the state of Maine, with no more than ten years experience.
  • Education: The candidate should have a degree in the field of Recreation, or a related field.  Additional consideration will be given to those professionals who have become certified in Parks & Recreation or Therapeutic Recreation.
  • Professional Affiliation:  Candidates must maintain membership in MRPA.  Any additional affiliations will hold value.
  • Program Development:  Candidates should have demonstrated outstanding performance on a community level through innovative programming, partnerships and civic involvement.
  • Professional Involvement:  Candidates should exhibit networking skills, and be involved with local and regional recreational issues and committees within MRPA.

Recent Winners
2019 – Erica Dube (Saco Parks & Recreation), 2018 – Tyler Stewart (Old Orchard Beach), 2017 – Jason Hanken (Lewiston). 2016 – Nicole Welch (Old Orchard Beach), 2015 – Julio Santiago (Gorham) Sabrina Best (South Portland), Anthony Johnson (Freeport), Kate Harris (Falmouth), Angela O’Connor (Kennebunkport), Tammy Leger (Kennebunk), Alan Grady (Gorham), Shelly Abbott (Hampden), Jen DeRice (So. Portland), Lucky D’Ascanio (Falmouth), Lisa Thompson (So Portland)

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2020 Facilities of Merit Award Winner
Bangor Municipal Golf Course

The Bangor Municipal Golf Course has retained its designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. Our golf course was originally designated in 2013 and is one of over 900 courses in the world to currently be designated as such.

“They are to be commended for preserving the natural heritage of the area by protecting the local watershed and providing a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course properly,” said Christine Kane, CEO at Audubon International.

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2020 Facilities of Merit Award Winner
Wescustogo Hall & Community Center, North Yarmouth

The original Wescustogo Community Center was a former Grange Hall, built in the 1950’s through volunteer labor and financed with bean suppers and other fundraisers. When fire destroyed the building in August of 2013, the residents approved funding to create a 17,000 square foot community center. The location of the former North Yarmouth Memorial School was selected, prompting construction of a building addition along with demolition of two wings of the former school. Renovated spaces include the gym, stage, kitchen and hallway areas which are attached to the new building addition through a lobby.

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2020 Facilities of Merit Award Winner
Kennebunkport Parks and Recreation Community Center

It really all began when the Town Manager asked me if our old portable classroom and way of doing things was “really the way I wanted to leave the department when I retired”. Everyone has a dream to leave behind great things, but I had let my own conservative nature stand in the way of asking the Town for something that it really needed to move the P&R department forward.
Funding was approved at annual meeting 2017 using money from the P&R reserve fund and a bond for $450k
The time leading up to the annual meeting was filled with anxiety and anticipation for our proposed new building for the department. The voters overwhelmingly supported it. Our beautiful new home of just over 2500 square feet (plus attic for storage of lightweight and seasonal items) contains a kitchen/concession area, restrooms, office space, storage, and a common area. It means we are no longer totally dependent upon the school and allows new opportunities for programming during the school day for our underserved seniors and pre-school children.
Our new tagline for the department is “COMMUNITY HAPPENS HERE”, and our new building is fulfilling its mission

Facilities of Merit Award

  • A significant recreation facility established within the last two years
  • Shows the project overview, design, plan, and priority of need
  • Demonstrates an increase in recreational opportunities – including types of uses
  • Local commitment to the project
  • Accessibility to users
  • Demonstrates innovation and creativity

Recent Winners
2019- Bath Pump Track (Bath) & Bangor Pickleball Courts (Bangor), 2018 – Zorach Fountain (Bath) & John H Rich Jr. & Doris Rich Memorial Beach (Standish), 2017 – Sargent Family Community Center (Presque Isle), 2017 – Bog Road Athletic Complex – (York), 2017 – Broad Cove Reserve (Cumbland), Donnabeth Lippman Park (Windham), Mason-Motz Center (Falmouth), “Just for Kids” Community Playgrouond (Houlton), The Waterhouse Center (Kennebunk), Westbrook Community Center, Wainwright Rec. Complex (SoPo), Johnson Field (Standish), Bangor Waterfront, Yarmouth Westside Trail, Bangor Armory,The Ballpark (Old Orchard Beach), Saco Community Center, Gorham Municipal Center

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2020 Citizen Volunteer of the Year Award Winners
Ron St. Pierre and David Mansfield, Bangor

Ron and David are a big reason why many children and adults have been able to play the game of baseball in the Bangor area. In 1989 Ron and David were Bangor Little League coaches who also coached with the writer Stephen King. They were a big reason that M.r King donated 1.2 million dollars to the citizens of Bangor to build a world class Baseball field. Since 1992 (1st Year) Ron and David have donated thousands of hours for the stadium to be able to host multiple leagues and tournaments each year.

For close to 30 years the Stadium has hosted on average over 160 games per year. From 2002-2016 Mansfield Stadium played host to the Senior Little League World Series. Teams from all over the world converged on Bangor to compete for the world championship of Senior League Baseball. Ron has overseen the maintenance of the playing surface since the fields inception. David has also run the concession stand during this time. Each wears many more hats making sure that the stadium thrives each and every summer.

Citizen Volunteer of the Year Award

  • Contributes to the well-being of recreation within the State of Maine
  • A community volunteer who supports the development and creation of recreation programs, facilities or services
  • Is not a paid employee of a department
  • Length of involvement at the local, multi-town, or state level
  • Diversity of involvement, contributions, and achievements
  • Letters of support from the community
  • Civic involvement
  • Moral character

Recent Winners
2019 – Lawrence Kovacs (Bath), 2018 – Jamie Dorr (Bath), 2017 – Lynn Hynes (Yarmouth), 2016 – Matt Libby (Bath), Rob Washburn (Skowhegan), Kenny Fickett (Gorham), Ted Hellier (South Portland), Sharri MacDonald & Linda Mailhot (Old Orchard Beach), David Lindemann (Hampden), Keith Gray (Yarmouth), Matthew Schilmoeller (Orono)

 

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2020 Outstanding Parks Professional Award Winner
John “Linky” Erskine, Park Operations Manager and City Arborist at South Portland Parks, Recreation and Waterfront

Linky is being recognized by his professional peers with an award by the Maine Recreation and Parks Association.   John “Linky” Erskine has worked for the City of South Portland for over 30 years in a variety of capacities from Animal control officer, Parks mechanic, Parks foreperson, and is currently the Parks Supervisor in charge of overseeing the day to day operations of the entire parks division. During these past 30 plus years Linky has always brought un-waivered vision and passion to serving the residents of South Portland. His ability to think outside the box in a variety of situations has made him not only a great steward for the City of South Portland, but more importantly his ability to share and teach his techniques and vision with the countless people who have the pleasure of working with him over the years.

Outstanding Parks Professional Award

  • Employment History/Experience: The nominee should have a minimum of 10 years working full time in the parks and/or facilities profession and at least a five-year period should have been within the State of Maine.
  • Education: Priority is given to candidates with a degree in Parks & Recreation, or a related field.
  • Additional consideration will be given to those professionals who have become certified in Parks & Recreation (CPRP), Sports Field Management (CSFM), Horticulture (CPH) or certification in related field.
  • Professional Affiliation: Candidates must maintain membership in MRPA. Any additional affiliations will hold value.
  • Professional Involvement: Distinctive leadership as a parks manager, support staff crew leader, park supervisor, or park ranger in which his/her dedicated service has advanced the organization’s mission or vision.

Recent Winners
2019 – Jay Astle (Brunswick), 2018 – John Kelley (Bangor), 2017 – Rick, Perruzzi (South Portland), 2016 -Zac Wiest (Yarmouth)

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Katahdin Award

Selected by the MRPA Board of Directors and presented to a Maine elected official or other Maine citizen (serving at the local, state or federal level) who, through their support of park and recreation services or policies at the Local, State or National level, has significantly enhanced the lives of the people of the State of Maine.

Recent Winners
Senator Olympia Snowe, Senator Susan Collins

Click here to view Past Award Recipients

Questions? Contact Awards Committee Chair Tracy Willette at tracy.willette@bangormaine.gov

Award Information:

2019-20 Award Nomination and Criteria