Pam Rudd, center, receives the KRPS Fellow Award today from Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society president, Marlon Sams. Pictured (l-r) are Debbie Rundall, Toby Hudson, Mike Perry, Mayor Carter Hendricks, Rudd, Sams, Judge Executive Steve Tribble, Scott Thompson and Tab Brockman. (photo courtesy of Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation)
The Fellow Award recognizes parks professional members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding performance, innovation and service to their community through the field of parks and recreation. Rudd’s career with local parks started in 1971 and has included every facet of the organization, including serving as interim director 2005-07.
Rudd’s career in public service has prepared her to work through various situations and emotions. The usually unflappable “Queen of the Parks” was obviously stunned with the surprise recognition. Her fellow employees kept the KRPS award a secret while planning how to get her to the Lexington event.
“I’m just totally speechless,” an astounded Rudd said after the ceremony. “I’m honored to receive this award from KRPS. It’s nice to know that the hard work over all the years has paid off and it was great to have so many from Hopkinsville here with me.”
“The parks and everyone we serve and work with are like family to me. This was just a shock and it’s quite an honor,” Rudd said, tearing up with well-wishers after the ceremony.
Parks Superintendent Tab Brockman said just getting her to the banquet was a logistical challenge since her nature is to shy away from the spotlight. “She was happy to celebrate the award our department received but she had no hint that she was being honored or she probably wouldn’t have come,” said Brockman.
The support and appreciation for “Ms. Pam,” or simply “Rudd,” was also underscored by the contingency of local officials and co-workers who traveled to the awards banquet. Mayor Carter Hendricks and Judge Executive Steve Tribble led the local entourage that included park administrative staff and several other Public Works associates. The supporters all agreed Rudd was deserving of the award and were equally pleased to keep the presentation a secret.
“We are so excited to help celebrate Pam Rudd’s accomplishments as the KRPS Fellow Award recipient. Pam’s 44 years of tireless service have not gone unnoticed. She’s made a tremendous positive impact on parks and recreation throughout our community and region. We’re fortunate that Pam is a member of Team Hopkinsville,” Mayor Carter Hendricks said afterward.
“Ms. Pam is an icon for the Parks and Recreation of Hopkinsville,” said Toby Hudson, Recreation Program Coordinator Assistant. “I’ve worked with her for 13 years and seen the passion she gives to this community, events, programs and leagues associated with the parks. Her caring attitude shines through in everything she’s associated with. She is so very deserving of this recognition.”
Tribble said he too was “so proud” for Pam to get the award. “Anytime I think of recreation in Hopkinsville and Christian County I think of Pam Rudd. This is quite an honor for her and for the Parks and Recreation Division. It’s a big day for our community and I am happy to see how much it meant to her when it was announced,” Tribble said.
Rudd started with local parks and recreation in 1971 as a part-time programmer when it was a joint city-county entity. She moved to full-time status in 1997 after retiring from her career as secondary school physical education teacher. She even served a two-year stint as interim parks director from 2005-2007. Along the way, Rudd started the summer kids workshops, adult softball leagues and tournaments and shepherded several major local park projects, including the Tie Breaker Park Complex that opened in 2001. She has continued to coordinate all of the park’s athletic leagues during her tenure.
“Any parks department would be lucky to have a team member with the talents and dedication of Pam Rudd. She truly loves her job and takes pride in doing things in a first-class manner. She is as dedicated to her job as any person I’ve ever worked with,” Brockman added.
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Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation received another honor at the KRPS conference, as the entire division was recognized with one of several Program Awards. The award was earned for Parks and Rec’s hosting and coordination of the 29th Annual Pennyrile Senior Games. Some 250 seniors from throughout the region converged on Hopkinsville and local parks grounds in September for the three-day event. This year’s Senior Games included 14 participants over the age of 90.
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The KRPS Board of Directors also selected Hopkinsville to host the 2016 State Conference as the group alternates sites in east-west format each year. The three-day conference will be headquartered at the James E. Bruce Convention Center November 15-18.
“KRPS members are genuinely excited about coming to Hopkinsville for 2016,” said Brockman, who is in his second year as an at-large board member. “Many people admitted they have never been to Hoptown but our hospitality outlets and businesses will certainly show all of our guests a great time next fall and it will have a nice economic impact on tourism revenues.”
The successful conference pitch was a combined effort by the Parks and Recreation Department, Hopkinsville’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, local hotels, and the city and county. All of the groups worked together to roll out the red carpet to earn the KRPS Board of Directors’ recommendation as the 2016 site.
For more information, please contact Parks & Recreation Superintendent Tab Brockman at (270) 348-2664.