Madison parks employee receives statewide honor
MADISON — Cole Smith was presented with the 2022 Recreation Professional of the Year Award by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler on Tuesday night.
The mayor kicked off the Dec. 6 city board meeting with a special presentation of the award to Smith with a plaque from the Mississippi Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA).
“Some people have been with this city longer than others, and some are brand new,” Hawkins-Butler said. “But tonight we want to recognize and honor one of our newest employees, Cole Smith. Cole, we’d like to tell you how proud we are of you for your leadership, not only here in the city, but also for the entire Madison Parks and Recreation Department.”
“We have some wonderful department heads and employees who work for this city, and the city would not be what it is today if not for all of you,” she said.
On top of receiving the Recreation Professional of the Year Award from the MRPA, Smith received a Special Event Award for his help during the 2022 Scarecrow Festival, and is also the incoming president of the MRPA.
Smith was sworn in as incoming president of the MRPA in October and will be sworn in as president in October 2023. He will represent every city and county in Mississippi with a parks and recreation department and help plan and set their annual conference.
Smith said receiving the award is a huge honor.
“I do everything I can to better our department and when our department is better, it betters our city,” Smith said. “We want better quality for our citizens and to give them a better quality of life. That’s what it’s all about. It is an honor to receive this award and be recognized by the city, as not a lot of cities put into their recreation departments as we do. I’m glad to be recognized for what we do.”