The South Bryan County Recreation Department has been named the top rec department in Georgia Recreation and Parks Association District 2, beating out 27 other agencies.
And that’s not all. Individual SBCRD staffers came in for some honor as well.
The department’s Don Carter was named Park Maintenance Professional of the year; Kim Neumann was named Office Administrative Professional of the Year and Lou Gambill was named Volunteer of the Year.
The awards were announced at an Aug. 13 banquet in Jesup. SBCRD Director Kay Green lauded her staff and Gambill, saying, “They deserve it. The whole staff deserves this.”
As a Class C agency, SBCRD is one of the smallest recreation departments in District 2, which makes its winning top honors all the better, Green said. She submitted paperwork backing both the agency, her employees and Gambill for the awards. It was worth it, she said.
“They truly work hard,” Green said.
Green called Carter a “true team
player and willing and able to any project handed to him. Don Carter is always on the job.”
“He is strong, loyal, dependable and hard working,” Green added. “He takes his responsibilities seriously and strives to do a better job every day. Carter could retire, yet he keeps coming back to work to make a difference.”
She called Neumann, “the best thing to happen to South Bryan County Recreation office staff in years. Kim is SBCR’s sunshine.”
Green said Neumann is “smart, tech savy, ingenious and always finds better ways to get the job done. She is dedicated, dependable, smart, energetic, enthusiastic and a delight to work with.”
Neumann, who has since been promoted to athletic coordinator at DeVaul Henderson, thanked those who take advantage of SBCRD programs.
“I’d like to offer a thank you to the Bryan County parents and kids who’ve been so great to me. They’re the ones who make me want to keep coming back every day and doing what I do,” she said.
Carter said simply: “I love my job.”
Gambill has “made a lasting impact” on the organization’s baseball program, Green said, and helped institute a number of new programs, including Sandlot Sundays, and getting more people involved.
“Lou Gambill has never done any of this for money, or popularity, or to benefit his children personally as he has coached numerous teams and programs where his kids were not present,” Green said. “He is the example of the highest level of volunteer. His impact on the local rec department and community will only continue to grow as kids get older. It is hard to find volunteers but even harder to find volunteers as committed and passionate as ‘Coach Lou.’ For him, it always has been, and always will be about the kids, the community, and the love of the game.”
Gambill said he grew up playing baseball like the kids in the movie “The Sandlot.”
“That was my life,” he said. “That’s how I grew up. And I try to bring a little of that to the kids here. But here we have such great facilities, that’s all I hear about when other people come here to play. When we were hosting the Little League state championships, the response we got from kids and parents was great. They were dumbfounded by what we have. They couldn’t believe how nice they were treated. We’ve got a beautiful complex. Sometimes we tend to take things for granted, but when we go to other places and then come back to ours, we find out again we’ve got the best facilities in the area.”
Gambill said having kids he hasn’t coached in years come by to say thanks makes it worth the effort.
“It’s all for the kids. They keep you going,” he said.
District 2’s No. 1 agency
Green said SBRCD’s willingness to think outside the box is key to its success, whether in obtaining grants to help fund an improved walking trail, or getting Pepsi to help sponsor a scoreboard. The agency also twice hosted the state Little League championships, hosted the 2012 District 2 football tournament, and started a girls’ volley program geared toward getting middle and high school girls involved in rec sports.
The department also beefed up its summer camp offerings while winning a state GRPA football title and earning noteworthy finishes in other sports as well – including wrestling, which placed No. 11 out of 149 programs, Green said.