Retired Mill Creek MetroParks Director Thomas J. Bresko has been named the 2013 Harvey Woods Lifetime Achievement Award winner by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA). Bresko was honored at the annual OPRA Awards Celebration on February 4, 2014, at the Kalahari Conference Center.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award,” Bresko said. “I must thank my many coworkers and volunteers who supported me during my three-decade plus career at Mill Creek MetroParks. This recognition would never have happened without them.”
Bresko began his career with Mill Creek MetroParks in the summer of 1973 on a seasonal labor crew. After graduating from Ohio State University in 1975, Bresko remained employed with the MetroParks through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program, and worked in maintenance for two years between the Par 3 Golf Course and Fellows Riverside Gardens. He was named Recreation Director in 1977 after the current director resigned unexpectedly. Bresko spent the next 32 years as Recreation Director, the longest term to date. During his tenure, he shaped and expanded programs and annual special events like Sunfest, Sunset at the Farm and Easter Eggstravaganza. He also nurtured collaborations with numerous organizations for the purpose of holding their special events, especially foot races and walks throughout Mill Creek MetroParks.
In 1982, Bresko took on additional administrative duties of Ford Nature Center and Lanterman’s Mill. He was very involved in the conversion of Mill Creek Park to a metropolitan park district, Mill Creek MetroParks, in 1989. After the conversion Bresko also took on administrative duties of MetroParks Farm, Yellow Creek Park, Vickers Nature Preserve and McGuffey Wildlife Preserve. Bresko became MetroParks Interim Executive Director in September 2009 until he was named Deputy Director in December 2010 and served until his retirement October 1, 2011. The Board of Park Commissioners named the pavilion in Wick Recreation Area the Thomas J. Bresko Pavilion in a resolution in 2011.
“I worked with Tom for 15 years and learned to appreciate his love for the MetroParks,” said Dennis Miller, Mill Creek MetroParks Executive Director. “Tom is a well-deserved winner of this award.”
About the OPRA Harvey Woods Lifetime Achievement Award
Harvey Woods served as a parks and recreation professional not only in his day-to-day tasks, but also by mentoring young professionals and serving OPRA and NRPA. This award is presented to an outstanding individual who has emulated this work, with a minimum of 30 years of service within parks and recreation.
About Mill Creek MetroParks
Mill Creek Park was established in 1891 by Volney Rogers as the first park district in Ohio. In 1989, the diverse lands now known as Mill Creek MetroParks officially became a metropolitan park district, providing visitors of all ages the opportunity to relish “the gem” of Mahoning County. From the casual visitor to the local explorer, Mill Creek MetroParks offers a natural escape and recreational activities for the enjoyment of all ages.
The mission of Mill Creek MetroParks is to provide park, recreational and open space facilities of regional significance. In fulfilling this mission, our objectives are to be responsive to community needs; to be environmentally sound; to be adaptable; and to be economically feasible.
To explore, experience and enjoy Mill Creek MetroParks, please visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org or call 330.702.3000. Like us on Facebook (Mill Creek MetroParks) and follow us on Twitter (@millcreekmetro) and Instagram (millcreekmetroparks).