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Metro Parks Tacoma leaders are grateful for our supportive community

November 6, 2018

A message from Park Board Commissioner Aaron Pointer

With the Thanksgiving holiday just weeks away, it’s a great time for Metro Parks Tacoma leaders to express our gratitude for all the relationships that contribute to our organization’s success.

While Metro Parks prides itself on being an independent government agency with its own elected governing board – I’m one of five members – our agency cannot function in isolation.

Metro Parks is an integral part of the greater Tacoma community. Our viability hinges on the ties we forge. We are incredibly thankful for the partners, volunteers, donors and employees who appreciate what we do and help us do it.

We’re in the business of making people’s lives better. I saw so much of that recently when we celebrated the opening of Eastside Community Center. The joy of the thousands of people who shared in the event was contagious. This is what it’s all about. Our community rallied for a cause, and all of us are gratified by the result.

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We’ve long been aware of how much Tacoma residents value Metro Parks. It’s why our taxpayers consistently pledge their commitment, as they did in 2014 when they approved $198 million in borrowing for capital improvements throughout the park district.

So thank you, residents and taxpayers. We’re grateful for your support. We also owe thanks to others.

We’re grateful for our partnerships with government entities and nonprofits. To spearhead construction of the new Eastside center, Metro Parks joined with Tacoma Public Schools, the Tacoma Housing Authority, the City of Tacoma, the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, the Greater Metro Parks Foundation and the Billy Ray Shirley III Foundation.

And this fall, together with our partners at Tacoma Public Schools, YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound we launched the third year of our elementary school sports program

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We’re grateful for the volunteers who consistently contribute time and energy to Metro Parks. They serve on advisory boards, coach youth sports, spruce up cherished parks, and contribute in dozens of other roles. Last year alone, more than 5,000 volunteers donated nearly 140,000 hours of their time.

We’re grateful for the donors whose contributions make so many Metro Parks efforts possible.

Tacoma residents joined together to contribute millions of dollars toward the construction of the Eastside Community Center (through the Greater Metro Parks Foundation) and the Pacific Seas Aquarium (through The Zoo Society).

We’re grateful for our dedicated employees. Many have made Metro Parks their life’s work. We’re proud of the efforts of the men and women who cultivate our gardens and maintain our lawns and athletic fields, the folks who organize our sports leagues and recruit our coaches, the fitness instructors who inspire us to exercise, the custodians who keep our community centers clean, and so many others.

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When I share the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, I reflect on how we can make things better for everyone. I’m thankful that Metro Parks plays a role in that.

As individuals, I hope we remind ourselves that we belong to a community in which some are less fortunate than others. And that even in small ways, we can demonstrate compassion and make lives better. If you have the means to give, please do. But even if you cannot, a simple smile, a hello or good morning lets people know you recognize them as a member of our shared community and that they, too, matter.

Aaron Pointer is the clerk of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners. He first became a commissioner in April 2001 when he was appointed to fill a vacancy. In 2012, he served as president of the board. Currently, he serves as the board’s liaison to the Metro Parks Arts & Heritage Advisory Council.