When I began my job here in 2016, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This community is much smaller than what I was accustomed to, and the small-town atmosphere was out of my comfort zone. It didn’t take long for to me to realize what a special place Gettysburg truly is. Its uniqueness reaches far beyond the battlefields (although those are very impressive), the countless statues of Abraham Lincoln, and the groups of tourists that litter the streets during the summer months. Here, you have a community of people who care about one another and are willing to go the extra mile.

I have been involved in recreation, as a profession, since I was 16 years old. The people I’ve encountered and worked with have run the gambit. But, I don’t think I will ever have the opportunity to work with a board or staff as dedicated as the people of the Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority. I’m sure most of you don’t realize what an exceptional group of people you have; you’re accustomed to their willingness to roll up their sleeves, their dedication to their community, and their devotion to this 56-acre piece of land. Like so many of you, they grew up here. They played baseball on these fields, climbed on the Stage Coach, worked the Fireman’s Carnival, and even chased oiled-up pigs through the field. Now, they mow the grass, maintain the infrastructure, drag the fields, and steer the Gettysburg Area Recreational Park in a direction that will help keep it a cornerstone of this community.

Jackie Dwyer is the executive director of the Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority.

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