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The Roanoke Times (Virginia)

 

The Christiansburg Aquatic Center took home two awards the first week of November from the 63rd annual conference of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society.

The Aquatic Center was awarded Best New Special Event (for population under 25,000) for its annual First Responders Battleship, and the Distinguished Volunteer Service Award honoring the dedication of longtime Aquatic Center volunteer Shirley Hallock.

The statewide awards program honors individuals, departments and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence during the previous year. This year, 114 applications were received vying for awards in 14 different categories.

First Responders Battleship is an annual program that began in 2017 to honor the service of emergency personnel in Montgomery County. Teams of first responders battle it out in canoes, attempting to be the last canoe standing by sinking their opponents. Entry for the public is free, but donations to local fire, rescue and police departments are accepted.

"We are honored that First Responders Battleship was recognized as the Best New Special Event because in creating this event, we really wanted to honor the many paid and volunteer emergency responders we have in this community," Aquatics Director Terry Caldwell said. "We wanted to come up with something fun - where the community could cheer these men and women on but also laugh with them and, hopefully, leave feeling like they got to know their police, fire and rescue members on a more personal level. Plus, what's not to love about a little friendly competition in the pool!"

Shirley Hallock, who won the Distinguished Volunteer Service Award on behalf of the Aquatic Center, has been volunteering with the facility for eight years. She volunteers as a timer for competitive swim meets, works behind the scenes to schedule volunteer groups for meet operations and serves on the Aquatic Advisory Board.

Hallock writes monthly articles in support of the Aquatic Center for the local newspaper, she analyzes monthly budget documents and reports revenue versus expense results to the board, and she continues to advocate the importance of a healthy community. At 83 years young, Hallock also volunteers with the Feeding America program, working directly with local grocery stores and coordinating their donation of baked goods to the Aquatic Center to help feed the less fortunate.

"Shirley has become my community advocate and serves as a volunteer role model throughout our town," Caldwell said. "It is rare to find not only a great volunteer, but someone who advocates our existence on a daily basis. Shirley Hallock has gone above and beyond and has accomplished great things for the Town of Christiansburg and the community as a whole."

The mission of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society is to unite all professionals, students and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information on the Society, contact the state office at 804-730-9447 or visit the website at www.vrps.com.

Submitted by Melissa Demmitt

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