The name Cathy Cloukey is synonymous with the aquatics program of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation, a localized embodiment of the mythical god Poseidon who ruled the sea and other waters.
But due to her recent promotion within the city’s public recreation realm, there is a new guardian of pool facilities: Caleb Whitaker.
Cloukey, who had served as aquatics supervisor since February 2005, recently became assistant director of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation. This occurred in the wake of the person formerly holding the assistant’s job, Darren Lewis, moving up to the director’s slot after the March resignation of longtime parks and recreation head Catrina Alexander.
That led to Whitaker assuming the aquatics supervisor position vacated with Cloukey’s promotion.
His appointment was announced during a recent meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
Whitaker said he was excited to become aquatics supervisor, thus fulfilling a career goal that included pursuing a bachelor’s degree in recreation management with a minor in business from Appalachian State University. He graduated from ASU with honors in 2016.
His academic credentials additionally include graduating from North Surry in 2012 and Surry Community College in 2014. The southpaw pitched for both baseball teams.
Whitaker also has a long association with city recreation programs.
“Of course, he grew up in Mount Airy, grew up in Reeves Community Center, all of our sports,” Lewis said regarding how Whitaker’s recreational interest dates to a young age.
While in school, Whitaker worked for both Mount Airy Parks and Recreation and Surry County Parks and Recreation.
Before becoming aquatics supervisor, he was employed full-time by the city department as head lifeguard for about two years.
Lewis said Whitaker brings youth, energy and enthusiasm to the supervisor’s role that includes overseeing programs with hundreds of participants. More than 300 youths take part in swimming lessons at the community center each year alone.
Whitaker has multiple aquatic certifications including pool operator, water safety instructor, lifeguard instructor, water fitness instructor and lifesaving functions such as CPR.
Then there is the invaluable on-the-job instruction he has received at Reeves Community Center.
“He’s following in the footsteps of an excellent teacher: Cathy Cloukey,” Lewis said of Whitaker.
“We are looking forward to continued greatness in our Aquatics Division under his leadership.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.