When it came to filling a key vacancy in the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Department, no widespread search was needed — it was only a matter of looking within the present ranks.
“I am excited to introduce Cathy Cloukey as the new assistant director for Mount Airy Parks and Recreation,” department director Darren Lewis announced regarding the outcome of that effort.
It comes on the heels of longtime director Catrina Alexander’s resignation in March to take a position with Mount Airy City Schools. Her assistant, Lewis, also a veteran of the city parks and recreation operation, was moved up a notch to fill the void left by Alexander.
And the appointment of Cloukey to the assistant post was a logical move, according to Lewis.
“Cathy brings over 30 years of experience to our talented staff,” he explained. “Cathy is one of the most dedicated, talented, hardworking and intelligent individuals I have ever met.”
Cloukey has a long history with city recreation, dating to the summer of 1978 when she began working at Reeves Community Center as a front desk attendant.
“Later that summer as lifeguards starting going back to school, I worked as a part-time lifeguard,” she recalled of service logged at the RCC pool. “I worked each of my college summers as a part-time lifeguard and swim instructor.”
Cloukey graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 1982 with a degree in zoology. In September of that year, after working during the summer in an aquatics capacity, she was hired as full-time program director at Reeves Community Center.
In the years afterward, Cloukey was involved in a revolving-door situation that included leaving RCC to manage a store in Boone called Bats and Balls Inc., from 1990-92.
Later in 1992, Cloukey said she was asked to return to Reeves Community Center and did so, remaining until December 2003. In January 2004, she again left the Mount Airy facility to become aquatics director of the West Forsyth YMCA in Clemmons.
However, that absence did not last long.
After the city government took over Reeves Community Center in January 2005 and Mount Airy Parks and Recreation was established to provide a network of programs and facilities, Cloukey returned as local aquatics supervisor in February of that year.
“As you can see, every time I left to pursue other opportunities, my path has led me straight back to Mount Airy Parks and Recreation/Reeves Community Center,” Cloukey observed.
“I have been blessed to work with such a dedicated and amazing parks and recreation staff over the years and have truly loved what I do for a living.”
Cloukey also is enthusiastic about her new position going forward.
“I am excited about this new opportunity and will work hard to carry on the great work that Terry (former longtime city recreation official Pruett), Catrina, Darren and our staff have begun.”
Cloukey also has good things to say about those served by Mount Airy Parks and Recreation.
“I thank the patrons who have touched and impacted my life throughout the years and thank you for now bringing your children and grandchildren to us,” she commented.
“We are truly making a difference at Mount Airy Parks and Recreation, and there is no place that I would rather be.”
Those thoughts were echoed by Lewis, the director:
“These are exciting times for Mount Airy Parks and Recreation moving forward.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.