Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Trailblazers: Milestone Man

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Trailblazers: Milestone Man

Article excerpt

Former deputy director of the National Park Service Ira Hutchison has a lot to be proud of, but he considers his service to NRPA to be the defining moment in his life.

Name: Ira Hutchison

Title: Executive Director of Roundtable Associates; first African-American deputy director of the National Park Service in 1977.

Member since: 1965

Ira Hutchison's 55-year career in the park and recreation field is filled with many milestones. From entering the fledgling therapeutic recreation (TR) field as one of its first African-Americans in the 1950s, to becoming the first African-American deputy director of the National Park Service in 1977. But Hutchison's accomplishments go deeper than skin color. Hutchison organized New York City's first specialized recreation program for narcotic addicts. His urban focus also led to the creation of NRPA's first urban affairs trust, and his dedication to the field has earned him accolades, including an award from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Most Proud Moment: Receiving the Ralph C. Wilson award in 2004 for his long-term service and dedication to NRPA since 1965. "It represented a lot for me. Number one, it was named after a person that I knew very well and admired greatly. It also represented to me the fact that my peers recognized me. As I learned that I was being nominated for that award, it sort of signaled for me all the good, the different, the satisfying, the frustrating-all that wasn't for naught."

Most Embarrassing Moment: As a member of the National Association of Recreation Therapists, Hutchison attended its fourth annual convention in Athens, Ohio, in March 1956. …

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