Mary Dodsworth Receives Top WRPA Award

Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director Mary Dodsworth was recognized with the Honor Fellow Award at the Washington Recreation & Parks Association (WRPA) annual conference in Seattle this week.

This award is the highest recognition bestowed by the state professional organization to an individual. It recognizes her dedication and achievement in her field over a minimum of 10 years. Mary has been recognized in the past with the Young Professional award in 1991, the Citation of Merit award in 2008 and served as the president of WRPA in 2008-09.

Here is what WRPA said about Mary during the awards ceremony:

This year’s Honor Fellow is the definition of “walking the talk,” she inspires people simply by who she is. Her enthusiasm for life, passion for this profession, generous warm heart, and joy for  her work put her in a class of her own.

As the Town of Steilacoom’s Director of Parks and Recreation, she helped the recreation programs flourish and provided needed direction to turn neglected areas into park jewels.  In her current position as the first Director of the City of Lakewood Parks and Recreation, she built a new organization from scratch while earning the respect and appreciation of the community. Inheriting overgrown parcels surrounded by locked fences, she entered a low income, high crime community and despite great adversity, built an amazing parks and recreation system.

Mary Dodsworth is always looking for ways to improve the field of parks and recreation. She is optimistic, innovative and creative in promoting our profession. She is not afraid to leap into the unknown and tackle new initiatives. She is definitely a leader in our field.

Mary has received many acknowledgements in her career including the Young Professional award in1991 and the Professional Citation of Merit Award in 2008.

Last month, Mary was also recently recognized by the US Army with the Commander’s Award for Public Service. This award was given by the 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team. She received a military medal and ribbon, similar to an award they would have given an enlisted person.

Outside of her real job, Mary has been a tireless supporter of WRPA and our profession. She helped re-establish the Risk Management School and served as the chair for several years. She has also volunteers with the Recreation and Conservation Office, judging grant projects. She chaired the WRPA 60th Anniversary Committee, she has served as a speaker at state and national conferences and has served in many WRPA board positions over the past years and is also one of our esteemed Past-Presidents.

Mary’s endless energy and enthusiastic personality has left an indelible mark on our organization and our profession. Please join me in recognizing Mary Dodsworth as our 2014 Honor Fellow Award winner.