Noblesville Parks’ Randy Neff Receives IPRA Distinguished Life Member Honor

02/22/2019

Neff

Noblesville Parks Maintenance Superintendent Randy Neff was recognized as the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association’s (IPRA) Distinguished Life Member of the Year for 2018. Neff, who will be retiring from the city on March 15, has served Noblesville for the past 27 years.

Neff“I am truly blessed and humbled,” Neff said. “Very few people achieve success without help. I want to thank my co-workers and my beautiful wife, Jo, for the encouragement during those times I would get discouraged.”

The award, which was presented at the annual IPRA State Conference Award Dinner, is based on Neff’s service to the parks department, which has been full of incredible growth and development, staff culture and most importantly, hard work.

“I want to encourage all of you to take a minute out of your hectic work day and watch the kids play on your playground or enjoy one of your programs. Watch the patrons walking on your trails or using an adult program to better their health. Look at the number of people that come to your park just for the solace that only they can get from watching nature. It can be a daily reminder of why we chose parks and recreation as a career,” Neff told the awards dinner crowd. “You see the smiles and hear the laughter from the kids on our playgrounds or see someone walking further and faster as time goes by. That is what I call success.”

Neff has been involved with the planning, development and building of Noblesville’s three newest parks – Dillon Park, Federal Hill Commons and Finch Creek Park.

“Randy has been instrumental in the progress and development of the parks department and has held the position of maintenance superintendent since 1992, when the city had three park properties and a population of 20,000 people,” said Parks Director Brandon Bennett. “It has been a pleasure working with Randy and I’m so excited for him to be honored in this way before his retirement. He’s worked hard to make our parks safe and clean and he deserves all the accolades and recognition.”

While he’s had an incredible professional career, Neff said he is driven by his family, church and faith. He also is very involved by volunteering with the Veterans & Athletes United program at his church, Cyntheanne Christian Church.

“Randy has always put others first. His sayings ‘we depart to serve’ and ‘I will have a great day because I get to go to the parks’ will always be remembered,” Bennett said.

The IPRA Distinguished Life Member of the Year Award is presented to an individual for their exceptional impact on the field of parks and recreation. Nominees have a record of noteworthy and special contributions to the parks profession, demonstrate leadership and advocacy, display remarkable service to their agency, and be a source of professional guidance and inspiration.

“From his days as part of a two-man operation, Randy has spent his career beautifying and perfecting Forest Park – mainly in a behind-the-scenes role without much applause,” said Mayor John Ditslear. “Randy also instilled a ‘service first’ culture within his maintenance division that was always on display. His attitude and caring, self-less nature exemplifies a Noblesville employee and this award could not have gone to a better civil servant.”

Neff is the second Noblesville employee to win the IPRA Distinguished Life Member of the Year award. Former parks director Don Seal also earned the honor in 2014.