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POSTED: 08/06/2001
Former Johnson County Park and Recreation District Director Gary Haller recently received the Lifetime Award from the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO).

Haller, who retired from the JCPRD effective June 29, was nominated for the honor by the District's Administrative Staff on behalf of the entire District Staff. The award was presented to Haller during the NAPRO Annual Conference conducted July 13 through 17 in Philadelphia in conjuction with the National Association of Counties (NACO) Annual Conference going on at the same time.

The award recognizes Haller's many accomplishments during a career that includes more than 41 years in parks and recreation. This included nearly 27 years as director of the JCPRD, and 15 years with the State of Kansas, where he served as Assistant Director in charge of the state's outdoor recreation planning and administered the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

"Without a doubt, the parks and recreation lands and opportunities in Johnson County are better than when he came to the District," the nomination states.

The nomination also mentions Haller's rapport and open door policy with staff.

"He remained, and continues to remain, in touch with many former employees. He will be greatly missed by staff as a leader and as a friend."

The nomination notes that Haller was active in the community during his public service and was very instrumental in impacting the quality of life enjoyed in Johnson County.

"The residents of Johnson County owe a great deal to Gary Haller," the nomination states. "Gary’s efforts leading, and to build, the District represents one of the greatest contributions to the quality of life in Johnson County in the last 25 years. He had the gifts of determination and wisdom to carry out the District’s mission."

Haller's impact will continue for many years to come, in part through his efforts in 1999 to begin a 20-year long range plan known as MAP 2020 to ensure needs are addressed.

"Change comes to all organizations," the nomination adds. "Gary left the District with MAP 2020 established in the hearts and minds of citizens. The immediate challenge to the Board and staff of the District will be to lead the District in implementing the vision, imparted by Gary, contained in MAP 2020."

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