They Have the Golden Touch!

December 1, 2012, Department, by NRPA

Gen. Tommy Franks presents the first-ever Armed Forces Recreation Award to the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Department, Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois.The recipients of the National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management were announced at the 2012 NRPA Congress and Exposition Opening Session. This was the inaugural year for a new award category honoring Armed Forces Recreation, presented by General Tommy Franks to the first recipient. This year's proud recipients are:

Armed Forces Recreation Award: Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department, Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois

Class I (population 250,000 and over): Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, Charlotte, North Carolina

Class II (population 100,001-250,000): Rockford Park District, Illinois

Class III (population 50,001-100,000): James City County Parks and Recreation Department, Williamsburg, Virginia

Class IV (population 25,001-50,000): Town of Castle Rock Parks and Recreation Department, Colorado

Class V (population less than 25,000): Durango Parks and Recreation Department, Colorado

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development, and agency recognition. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff, and elected officials.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, go to or