Parks + Rec honors volunteers



For more than three decades David Bennett has helped the history of Fort Osage come to life. As a volunteer he has helped to organize special events, create exhibits and served as an interpreter.

It was Bennett who founded the Fort’s most popular event, the Annual Fall Muster. The event attracts more than 40 historians from across the Midwest every year. He has also chaired the annual War of 1812 in the West Symposium for 29 years.

For his many years of hard work Bennett was presented with Jackson County Parks + Rec Department’s Outstanding Service Award. He was only one of the many volunteers honored during the department’s Annual Volunteer Banquet, Tuesday at Adams Pointe Conference Center.

In welcoming everyone to the event Director Michele Newman expressed her appreciation for those who helped create incredible successes over the past year.

“This evening is an opportunity for us to personally thank you and to tell you just how much you mean to us. Because of your artistry, enthusiasm, and sincere desire to engage our visitors through historic interpretation, park and trail improvements, special recreation, golf, special events and outdoor education, Jackson County Parks + Rec is truly a work of art,” she said.

“It is our mission to make their day by continuing to exceed the expectations of every patron who visits one of our parks, lakes or attractions. We, quite simply, can’t do it without you,” Newman said. “Your contribution is immeasurable and on behalf of the entire Department we are so incredibly grateful for your gift of giving back. Thanks to you, Jackson County Parks + Rec’s portrait is picture perfect.”

Jackson County Parks + Rec has nearly 600 registered volunteers providing service to all divisions of the department. In 2018 volunteers put in more than 57,000 hours. Those volunteer hours saved the county more than a half-million dollars.

County Executive Frank White, Jr., thanked everyone for the hard work they do.

“We have over 1.4 million visitors a year and you guys are the faces they see first,” White said. “We do so many great things, we bring so many great activities to our community and it is because of all of you and the time that you take to make sure that visitors to the park really get that extra care and get guided in the right way.”

“I want to make sure that I take the time every year to tell you all thank you for what you do for our county and what you do for our park system. We have the third largest county park system in the country and that says a lot. It is beautiful, it is immense and it is pristine,” he said.

“I always say that the legislature and administration are only as good as you are and you are the face of the county. The better you do your job the better we look so thank you for taking care of us and thank you for your passion and your commitment to our parks system and to Jackson County,” White said.

Awards were presented by each of the department’s divisions. Those awards went to:

  • Operations Service Award - Urban Trails
  • Historic Service Award – John and Jean Loughran
  • Youth Historic Service Award, Missouri Town – Bass County 4-H Western Heritage Project
  • Natural Resources Service Award – Jackson McCoy
  • Special Population Service Award – Patti Allison
  • Golf Course Service Award – Mike “Cowboy” Mauldin
  • Outdoor Education Service Award – Bill Otis
  • Historic Service Award, Fort Osage – Rob Stone
  • Sponsor Award – Pure Fishing
  • Partner Award – Heartland Conservation Alliance
  • Outstanding Service Award – David Bennett