JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Johnson City’s Parks and Recreation Wall of Fame will be growing in a few months with three new inductees.
The department celebrated the latest inductees Tuesday with a luncheon in their honor. Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock, former Parks and Recreation employee Gary Swartz and the late Darrell “Pappy” Crowe for their contributions to the department and community.
“(This honor) has given me an opportunity to go back and look at my lifelong commitment to young people and to recreation and to all the things I’ve been involved in personally over the years,” Brock said at the luncheon, which took place at Memorial Park Community Center.
A Wall of Fame banquet will follow Tuesday’s celebrations on Nov. 14 with the official inductions.
Brock has a number of contributions under her belt, including the annual Turkey Trot 5K, which drew 4,500 participants last year, and the up Up and At ‘Em program, which shines a spotlight on the health and fitness issues in the community.
She said it started with her childhood. Growing up in Johnson City in the late 1950s, she said there wasn’t a lot for her to do when it came to team sports and activities.
“Even when I went to Science Hill, there really were no girls’ sports, and that didn’t really happen until Title IX was passed in 1974, that’s when girls had the opportunity to play team sports,” she said.
Brock and former Mayor Jane Myron started the Fit to Play Summer Camp – a fitness and recreational program that helped 125 at-risk kids in one six-week summer.
She’s taught running classes and golf, and turns her attention toward Johnson City’s hiking paths for the future. She’s also contributed about $200,000 to the community in the form of health and fitness incentives.
Something that might stick out of Brock’s Parks and Rec resume is that many of her programs focus on children.
“My viewpoint is this: Why wouldn’t you invest in our youth?” She said. “They’re 100 percent our future and so it’s up to us to be their role models and mentors and to help groom them to be great adults.”
Darrell “Pappy” Crowe
Crowe’s two daughters, Tammy Depriest and Darlene Coleman, attended the luncheon in honor of their late father.
Crowe’s influence stretches over 10 years of coaching and 24 years as executive director of the Johnson City-Washington County Boys and Girls Club.
He’s the architect of the club’s athletics program, paving the way for facility expansions in addition to providing the city and county with T-ball, basketball and football.
Even in retirement, Crowe continued his community service by coaching the Dizzy Dean League, of which he was a part of for 35 years.
Gary W. Swartz
Swartz served as the bridge between the community and the parks and recreation department for nearly 40 years. His main focus was to help students prepare for high school baseball.
Swartz coached young athletes as Babe Ruth League head coach for two years and as an assistant coach for 21 years. His coaching extended as a Stratton head football coach for two years, two years as an American Little League umpire in chief and 13 years as an assistant coach with the AAU travel team.
Swartz served as a mentor for students who would grow to become world-class athletes, major league umpires, lawyers, doctors, small business owners and friends.