Seminole woman wins Florida parks and rec award

Leah Hoffman, front right, won the Florida Recreation & Park Association’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. She was recognized by the Seminole City Council at its Sept. 25 meeting.

SEMINOLE – Seminole resident Leah Hoffman was presented the Florida Recreation & Park Association’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization’s annual conference in Championsgate, Florida Aug. 28.

Hoffman was recognized for her long career in parks and recreation in Florida and for her continued dedication to the field after her retirement.

Her first job in the field was as a recreation leader for the city of St. Pete Beach in 1971. She went on to become the assistant director and parks superintendent for the city, a position she held for 16 years between 1980 and 1996.

This was followed by stints as operations manager for the city of Tampa from 1996 to 2000 and two years as the parks and recreation superintendent in Wichita Falls, Kansas. She also served as operations manager for Pinellas County Parks and Recreation from 2002 to 2008 before becoming the administrative manager for Marion County parks and recreation. She retired from this position in 2017.

While working for Marion County, Hoffman helped to develop the Friends of Marion County Parks and the Volunteer in Parks program, the department’s fundraising and volunteer arms.

She also has long been involved with the FRPA and continues with her commitment to the organization even in her retirement. She’s served on a number of FRPA committees, including awards, nominations, financial oversight, and parks and natural resources. She served as vice president of member resources from 2005 to 2008 and as president from 2011 to 2012.

A board member for the Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole, she’s involved in many of the club’s activities, including the annual family fishing day and Field of Honor. She also regularly volunteers at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System twice a week.

The Seminole City Council recognized Hoffman’s FRPA award at its Sept. 25 meeting.

“We appreciate everything you’ve done not only for the industrywide, but also for our community and continuing to give back to us,” said Becky Gunter, Seminole’s recreation director and vice president of the FRPA.

Mayor Leslie Waters said, “We really appreciate your service. You’ve done so much.”

She added, “This is a statewide organization…It is huge across the state of Florida, so this is bigtime.”

Hoffman called the award “a great honor.”