Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District recognized with awards

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James Salvador, special district supervisor and office administrator of Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District, has been honored as Outstanding District Employee in the California Association of Recreation and Park District’s 2020 Awards of Distinction Program. Valley News/ Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District photo

Two Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District employees were recognized with awards of distinction recently, board member Jan Bissell as Board Member of the Year and James Salvador as Outstanding District Employee. The awards were presented during the California Association of Recreation and Park District’s annual Awards of Distinction Program. Both were recognized during the 2020 CARPD Virtual Event held via Zoom video conference May 28-29.

“Jan Bissell brings a unique perspective to the Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District Board of Directors. This is Jan’s second time serving on the Valley-Wide Board, having served initially for 11 years from 1999-2010 and coming back to serve in 2018. He is currently the board secretary,” according to a news release from the agency.

Jan Bissell, board secretary of Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District, has been honored as Board Member of the Year in the California Association of Recreation and Park District’s 2020 Awards of Distinction Program. Valley News/ Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District photo
Michael Paul speaks during the dedication ceremony as the gymnasium at Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District’s Sport Center in San Jacinto is named for him in June 2019. The Michael Paul Gymnasium was recognized as a community landmark in the California Association of Recreation and Park District’s 2020 Awards of Distinction program. Valley News/ Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District photo

Outstanding Board Member is awarded to any individual serving as board member for at least one four-year term of office whose significant contributions have benefited their district.

Besides his work in the district, Bissell is a community leader by being a longtime youth coach and referee at both the high school level and recreational, giving him the knowledge experience and unique insight to Valley-Wide’s sports programs. He also brings experience as a businessman, offering his guidance on the business side of the district.

In his time with the Valley-Wide Recreation board of directors, the district has seen significant growth, according to the news release.

“The CARPD Awards of Distinction are among the highest recognition our agency can receive, and Jan is very well deserving of the recognition,” Dean Wetter, general manager of Valley-Wide, said. “Jan is a pillar of support for district staff and a fearless advocate for the parents and children in our community.”

Salvador, who serves as Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District’s special district supervisor/office administrator, came to Valley-Wide Recreation in 2011 as a recreation aide. In 2015, he moved to the administration office to help with facility use agreements and rentals. After a couple of weeks, he was also handling landscape invoicing, graffiti abatement reports and became the custodian of records for Valley-Wide’s live scan fingerprint program. In early 2017, when the district’s clerk of the board relocated to another state, Salvador stepped up to handle the clerk of the board duties along with his previously assigned duties. By August 2017, he had managed to combine three administrative positions into one.

Salvador was brought on full-time in 2017. For the next year, as an executive assistant/clerk of the board, he was involved in many areas of the district, including park planning and the finance mechanism that supports the district’s maintenance. He also got involved with project management and putting together bid documents for capital improvements. In December 2018, he was named assessment district supervisor/office administrator. He continues to coordinate administrative staff and manage projects, coordinate park inspections, provide support to the planning department and monitor contracts.

“… The award for James is well deserved,” Wetter said. “He is an invaluable asset to the district and more importantly, he is the ultimate team player by providing a lending hand to all staff in every department.”

Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District’s Recycled Water Program with Eastern Municipal Water District was also honored for Environmental Excellence during the event. The Environmental Excellence Award honors programming or planning that supports environmental sustainability in the operation and management of district facilities.

“Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District has saved thousands of gallons of water, and more importantly, thousands of dollars for stakeholders with its Recycled Water program. Working in partnership with Eastern Municipal Water District, many district facilities use recycled water for landscaping. The project is part of EMWD’s nationally recognized Recycled Water Accelerated Retrofit Program, which offers upfront design, funding and permitting assistance from the water district to allow users to transition sites from potable to recycled water,” according to the news release.

“EMWD is honored to partner with Valley-Wide for the use of recycled water at its facilities,” Ron Sullivan, board president of EMWD, said. “The partnership benefits our environment and mutual customers, and we look forward to working with Valley-Wide for generations to come.”

Valley-Wide was also honored when the Michael Paul Gymnasium in San Jacinto was recognized as a community landmark during the Awards of Distinction program. The CARPD Community Landmark Award recognizes public park facilities that have served communities for 30 or more years and honors those facilities that have been at the core of recreation and park activities for a diverse user base and provided a wide-range of experiences and activities to the community.

The California Association of Recreation and Park Districts, represents special recreation and park districts throughout California. CARPD has been dedicated to improving the quality and efficiency of recreation and park districts. The California Association of Recreation and Park Districts advocates for and provides park districts the support needed to fulfill their role as providers of quality programs and facilities to their local communities.  Learn more at caparkdistricts.org/.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at valleyeditor@reedermedia.com.