National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society

Ira Hutchinson Award Program

Ira Hutchinson Bio

The NRPEMS Awards and Citation Committee is pleased to announce the 2023 award Program and detailed herein. You are encouraged to participate in the Society’s efforts to recognize the deserving person, facilities, and programs that advance parks and recreation services.


Ernest T. Atwell Award

Nominee must have been a member or actively engaged with the NRPEMS, NRPA, or local state association for (10) years.

Must have displayed outstanding leadership through committee work (e.g., served on one or more committees for three (3) years or more) or through Board membership (e.g., during two or more consecutive terms have accepted responsibilities and performed services above and beyond accepted standards.)

Must have maintained high professional standards (e.g., through service and deed and has typified the meaning of a park and/or recreation professional.

Nominee initiated and sponsored outstanding recreation and park programs at the local, state or national level for ten (10) or more years.

Programs must be lasting in value and/or be an initial project that has served as the standard for other projects as the local, state, or national level.

Service Award

Nominee must have held a NRPEMS membership for a minimum of three (3) years. Must have performed a service to the Society in an outstanding manner (e.g., committee work for more than three (3) years). Must have served one (1) term as a Board member and during that time have accepted responsibilities and performed services above and beyond accepted standards.

Achievement Award

Nominee must have one of the following: displayed innovative recreation programming, must have developed innovation play equipment and has had a special benefit to mankind, committees, the Society or the parks and recreation field.

Recognition Award

Nominee made an outstanding contribution to parks and recreation in one of the below categories:

  • Recognized publication/media regarding parks and/or recreation.
  • Partnership that enhanced Parks and Recreation
  • Sponsorship that impacted Parks and Recreation

Initiation and sponsorship of an outstanding recreation and park program at the local, state or national level for one (1) or more years.

Young Professional Award

Must have more than (2) years of experience as a leader, instructor, supervisor, administrator, consultant, or a combination of these in the field of parks and recreation.

Must have displayed distinctive leadership in promotion, organization and development of pioneer-type activity in the field of parks and recreation.

Must have outstanding service to the profession through the allied fields of arts, crafts, sports, health and safety education, design, park maintenance, horticulture, education, consultation services, etc.

Must have high recommendations and respect from the staff within the agency for which the nomination now works.

2022 Annual Award Recipients:

  • Ernest T. Atwell – Bernita Reese | Columbus Recreation and Parks
  • Service – Sonia Wimbish | City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation
  • Achievement – Ben Johnson | Louisville Parks and Recreation
  • Recognition – Jodie Adams | Brio2 Solutions, LLC
  • Young Professional – Shajra Thrasher | City of Douglasville Parks and Recreation


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