MCCS Okinawa wins 2019 National Gold Medal Award in Parks and Recreation

by Jim Kassebaum
MCCS Okinawa

Marine Corps Base Camp S.D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan: Oct. 2, 2019 – Months of preparation and commitment to the highest level of service in parks and recreation has paid off for Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Okinawa. MCCS Okinawa has been awarded the 2019 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), awarded this honor to MCCS Okinawa during the Opening General Session at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

MCCS Okinawa won the 2019 Grand Plaque in the Armed Forces Recreation Award category. Criteria in this category include specific examples of the outstanding nature of the Morale, Recreation and Welfare (MWR) program in serving a unique installation; how the MWR positively impacted the installation it serves with five specific actions or activities undertaken during the previous three-year period; and one or more outstanding or innovative examples of managing the MWR resources of public support, citizen involvement and staff engagement.

“We need to focus on developing world-class installations that will make assignment to Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) a career-enhancing experience,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William J. Bowers, commanding general, MCIPAC. “The Indo-Pacific in which MCIPAC operates is a priority theater, and the ongoing support of MCCS to make our installations first-class places to live, work and operate for Marines, Sailors, civilian Marines and families is critical to achieving that objective.”

“All of us at MCCS Okinawa are incredibly pleased and proud to ‘bring home the gold’ by being awarded the 2019 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management,” said Edward S. Hutsell, assistant chief of staff, MCCS, MCIPAC. “This recognition by one of the nation’s most prestigious parks and recreation organizations validates our many months of preparation before submitting our application, as well as our many years of steadfast commitment to the highest level of service for our Marines, Sailors and their families on Okinawa.”

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.

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