Longtime Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation employee Pam Rudd was "totally shocked and caught off guard" to be inducted on Wednesday night into the Kentucky Parks and Recreation Society Hall of Fame.

Announced during the society's annual conference and awards dinner at Lake Barkley State Resort Park, the induction recognized Rudd's "outstanding contributions to the leisure profession," according to the plaque presented to Rudd by society Board President Shawn Pickens.

Rudd was inducted into the Hall of Fame's Class of 2019.

"I was very honored and humbled that they would present me with this award," Rudd said, a Hopkinsville resident who has been with the Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation Department for 48 years.

After taking the stage, she received a standing ovation from those in the room. Her 2019 recognition comes four years after she received the state society's Fellow Award. During that state conference, Rudd had the longest continuous tenure of any of the 225 conference attendees.

A press release from the City of Hopkinsville noted that Rudd was one of three new members inducted into the Hall of Fame, and fellow staff members, city employees and family were on hand for the occasion.

Now serving as a programs coordinator for the local recreation department, Rudd began her stint with the department as a part-time programmer in 1971 when the agency was a joint city-county entity.

She moved to full-time status in 1997 after retiring from her career as a secondary school physical education teacher at Hopkinsville Middle School. From 2005 to 2007, she served as interim parks director.

Rudd started the summer kids' workshops, adult softball leagues and tournaments and shepherded several major local park projects in the community, among them the Tie Breaker Park Complex and Thomas Street Recreation Center. She is still heavily involved with the Pennyrile Senior Games, various events, parades and day-to-day operations.

Rudd said it was an honor to be recognized by her profession.

"It's heartwarming and humbling that peers that you work with, that are in the same profession you are, would bestow this honor on me," she said.

Rudd explained that the state society's Hall of Fame usually chooses at least one person to be inducted into its number each year.

This year marks the second time the annual conference has been at Lake Barkley, according to Rudd. The event is hosted at different sites including Lexington and Louisville in past years, she said.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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