Grantville rec director gets support from community
by Clay Neely
Even amidst the seemingly neverending turmoil that seems to engulf the little town of Grantville, there is one thing that almost all its citizens can agree on – the new splash park has proven to be a phenomenal success this summer and has brought smiles to children and families from across the region.
Michelle Huffstickler, head of the parks and recreation department in Grantville, is largely to credit for the new wave of summer fun.
Since taking her job last spring, she has, according to many residents, worked ceaselessly to ensure that the citizens of Grantville have facilities they can depend on for safe, reliable summertime recreation.
While Huffstickler says she appreciates the accolades, she places all successes on behalf of the team she has assembled at the recreation department.
However, her values of unity and teamwork were recently put to the test when Huffstickler was hospitalized last week with a serious case of pneumonia.
With her illness placing her out of commission, how would things work at the recreation department without her? Turns out, things have gone just fine.
Thanks to the support of her well-trained staff and members of the community, Huffstickler has been able to focus on her recovery knowing things in Grantville are in good hands.
Rebekah Davis is an employee in the Grantville rec department. Since Huffstickler’s absence, she has witnessed how engrossing the job can be.
“We were all worried about her,” Davis said. “She gives everything to her job. She was even trying to get work done on the way to the hospital.”
However, since her absence, Davis and the other members of the rec department can attest to the demands of Huffstickler’s job.
“We’ve managed to keep up with everything,” Davis said. “It sure has been an eye-opening experience, though.”
“I knew I had a great staff before this happened, but after everything they have done this past week, I now know I have an amazing staff,” said Huffstickler. “It's times like these where you find out who you can depend on, and not only has my team stepped up but Ron Owens (Grantville Utility director), his staff and Officer William Faulkner have gone above and beyond their normal job duties to help.”
Owens feels that it is the rec department that has really stepped up to the plate in Huffstickler’s absence.
“I’ve only offered them chlorine, chemicals – just anything I can do to help,” Owens said. “It’s her staff that’s taken care of everything. She’s doing an awesome job since coming here and we can’t wait to have her back.”
Since coming to work as recreation director last spring, she has not only overseen the opening of the new splash park, but has also revamped the Grantville summer camp program to allow working parents the ability to take advantage of the new 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours of operation.
“She’s a hero here,” Mayor Jim Sells said. “She jumped in as director with both feet and spent countless hours bringing new life to our recreation department and bringing so much to the table that we never thought was possible.”
Sells feels he has never seen someone invest so much of themselves in a job.
“I’ve often said she’s the hardest working person in Grantville,” Sells said. “We are so grateful to have her.”
Huffstickler says she is on the mend and hopes to be out of the hospital by the weekend. In the meantime, she feels that the recreational needs of Grantville are in good and capable hands.
“ I think you will find the everyone will agree. We feel more like a family working together than just part of a staff,” Huffstickler said. “It makes me feel better just knowing that I work with such great people – and I can't wait to hear the laughter of the children again.”