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Former park district superintendent of recreation is Gurnee Days honoree


Lisa Sheppard

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Updated: September 27, 2013 2:40AM

Lisa Sheppard is being recognized for the positive mark she’s made on the Gurnee community through her professional work and volunteer efforts as a village resident.

Sheppard is the 2013 Gurnee Days honoree. That means she’ll be feted at a testimonial dinner on Thursday, Aug. 8, which is the festival’s traditional kickoff. She also will be at the forefront three days later as parade grand marshal.

Sheppard became well known as the Gurnee Park District’s superintendent of recreation. She spent more than 15 years shaping and expanding the recreational opportunities for park district residents.

Being named the 2013 Gurnee Days honoree was unexpected, said Sheppard,

Much happened at the park district while Sheppard was there, including an addition to Viking Park Community Center and construction of the aquatic and fitness facilities at Hunt Club Park.

Part of the job required Sheppard to supervise more than 400 staff members and manage a $5 million budget. At least 25,000 volunteer hours annually were clocked by community members under her leadership.

Sheppard was credited with playing a pivotal role in the application process that led to the park district receiving a national gold medal award from an industry group in 2010. Her Gurnee career also included the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s professional of the year honor.

As a 15-year Gurnee resident, Sheppard became involved in several organizations in the village. Her long list of volunteer efforts includes serving as president of Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth, founding and executive board member of Woodland Educational Foundation, founding member and president of Lake County After School Coalition and Eucharistic minister and CCD teacher at St. Paul the Apostle Church.

Sheppard, now executive director of the Glencoe Park District, grew up on a farm in Long Grove and attended Carmel High School in Mundelein and Carthage College in Kenosha. Her daughter, Taylor Sheppard, is a Warren High School graduate who attends college.

James and Johanna Blockinger, both retired educators, were last year’s Gurnee Days honorees.

Gurnee Days officials have selected an individual or couple to be honored during the annual celebration since it began in 1973. Those selected must have made a meaningful contribution to make Gurnee area a better place to work and live.

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