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NC Rec and Park Association Names Burleson as 2016 Special Citation Award Winner

Tommy Burleson, the High Country's most famous basketball player, volunteers with Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk in October 2016. Photo by Todd Bush
Tommy Burleson, the High Country’s most famous basketball player, volunteers with Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk in October 2016. Photo by Todd Bush

The North Carolina Recreation and Park Association is proud to name Tommy Burleson as the 2016 Special Citation Award Winner.

The Special Citation Award honors an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding interest in and dedication to the field of recreation and parks, or has made a contribution to the advancement of the recreation and parks profession Tommy Burleson has been a friend to Avery County Parks and Recreation department and the community for many years.

He has been a fixture in the county since his high school years where he excelled as a phenomenal basketball talent, playing many of his games in the same building that now houses the parks and recreation department. He was instrumental in saving the recreation building when it was still the old Newland High School gymnasium.

The gym suffered a major interior fire in the late 1980’s, and when discussion arose to remove the condemned building from the property, Tommy took on the responsibility of raising funds to repair the structure and return it to its original glory and suggested it become the Parks and Recreation offices and recreation center for the community.

He wrote a successful Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant to complete the project. His signature basketball camp has operated 34 seasons through the Avery Parks and Recreation Department, serving thousands of local and regional youth and he served for more than twenty seasons as a youth basketball coach with the department.

About the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association:

Founded in 1944, the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association (NCRPA) is the premier nonprofit education and advocacy organization, dedicated to the advancement of the park, recreation and leisure professions in our state.

NCRPA empowers park and recreation professionals and citizen board members through educational opportunities that enhance their ability to change lives and impact communities on a daily basis for the citizens of North Carolina. For an overview of the programs and services offered by the organization, visit http://www.ncrpa.net.