City PRT Director earns Lifetime Achievement Award | Community Spirit
ROCK HILL - Ed Thompson, the City's Parks, Recreation and Tourism director, was honored on Monday, September 12, 2011 by the South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association with the Robert L. Reid Lifetime Achievement Award. The award honors a person who has been a true leader and pioneer in the field of recreation and leisure services for at least 20 years. The recipient must meet the following criteria:
SERVICE: Must have rendered outstanding service and/or accomplishments to the leisure service industry and/or its related professional organization. They can still be active in the leisure service industry.
LEADERSHIP: Must have filled a leadership role in his/her professional organization and community.
WRITING, RESEARCH and SPEECHES: Shall have been active in promoting the recreation and park field through speaking, writing, education, other mediums and outstanding or unusual contributions which cannot be classified in any of the above.
CHARACTER: Must be of outstanding moral character and professional stature.
Ed Thompson has served as the department director since 1983. One of the founding fathers of sports tourism in South Carolina, Ed added Tourism to the Department’s name in 1988 and led efforts to bring major tournaments to Rock Hill, including the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships. Since 1986, Rock Hill PRT sports facilities combined have realized over $137 million in direct economic impact, creating jobs, attracting businesses and creating growth.
Milestones for the City of Rock Hill during Ed’s leadership include:
- Opening Cherry Park, Hargett Park, the Rock Hill Tennis Center, and the Manchester Meadows soccer facility;
- Completing significant expansion projects at Glencairn Garden including the Veterans Garden; and
- Opening the Riverwalk Trail, the first of many outdoor and cycling amenities at the Rock Hill Outdoor Center.
"I have known and worked with Ed for close to 40 years and he has demonstrated his strong belief in his profession and the service aspects of his work. He is a true professional who is liked by everyone. There can be no better legacy than for someone to work hard, make a difference and have a long list of friends," Mayor Doug Echols said.
"I was totally surprised, emotionally shocked, and humbled by the honor. It was very special to share the moment with my wife and 3 sons," Ed Thompson commented. "Any recognition to me is a direct reflection on the people I have worked with, including supportive management and Council members, outstanding staff and dedicated citizen volunteers. I love Rock Hill and feel very fortunate to have served the community all these years."