Two from Kannapolis earn NC Recreation & Park Association awards

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2022

KANNAPOLIS —  At the recent North Carolina Recreation & Park State Conference, City of Kannapolis Council Member Doug Wilson and Parks & Recreation Director Gary Mills were recognized with two of the organization’s most prestigious awards.

Doug Wilson — submitted photo

 Wilson received the Distinguished Legislator Award. This award is presented to an elected official who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the general field of recreation and parks on a national, state or local level. Council Member Wilson was a founding member of the Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Commission in 1989 and served as chair of the commission for eight years.

He coached girls’ basketball for A.L. Brown High School and has been a volunteer coach for the parks and recreation department for the last three years. Council Member Wilson, along with the city council, was instrumental in adding youth athletics to the offerings of the Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Department. Council Member Wilson has served on the Kannapolis City Council since 2013.

Gary Mills — submitted photo

Mills received the NCRPA Fellow Award. The award is the highest award the association can bestow on one of its members for outstanding service and leadership. Selection is based on an objective system of rating including membership in NCRPA; a minimum of 10 years of experience in the field of recreation and parks; service contributions to the recreation and park movement through the association and other state and national recreational and park organizations; and exemplary professional leadership and character. Mills served on the NCRPA board for 11 years in multiple capacities including president of the association in 2017.

He also serves the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) as an accreditation chair and has traveled across the country helping other departments achieve their national accreditation. He has spearheaded the accreditation of the Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Department, which is now recognized as one of the Top 1% of all Parks and Recreation Departments in the country.  Mills has been in the parks and recreation profession for 32 years, with the last 22 years serving the City of Kannapolis.