Park district leader earns highest honor at Distinguished Service Awards
Bolingbrook, Ill.—Bensenville Park District Executive Director Joseph C. Vallez received an award of excellence in the community member category as education advocates from throughout the state were honored for their support of their local schools and districts as part of the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association’s (INSPRA) annual Distinguished Service Awards Luncheon Friday, May 13, at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.
“The Distinguished Service Awards is an opportunity to honor those deserving individuals who passionately advocate for public education in our state,” said INSPRA President Alex Mayster, APR, Executive Director of Communications for Naperville 203. “These individuals work tirelessly to highlight the successes of public schools. They understand the importance of building a strong public relations program that provides all members of the school community the opportunity to promote excellence and be champions of students and employees.”
The Distinguished Service Awards recognize those who make a difference in their school communities by helping to promote public education and enhance its programs and services. Nominees are evaluated on their ability to support or improve understanding and communication in the school/district; foster cooperative partnerships between the school and community and strengthen the overall support for education by stakeholders.
“It is an honor to receive recognition for things that other people in the community do on a daily basis,” Vallez says. “The park district’s goal is to hopefully improve the quality of life for our residents on a daily basis through our cooperation with the other taxing bodies in Bensenville.”
Vallez’ service to the community included assistance to Fenton High School with mass vaccination drives and unusual rental needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fenton High School and its community experienced a quicker return to normal in large part thanks to Vallez and park district staff.
For the first time since 2019, Fenton was able to organize a homecoming dance and Latin favor mixer dance because Vallez ensured the park district’s large outdoor tent remained available for use by Fenton, charging the school only for expenses incurred. As the 2021-22 school year continued, Vallez was in constant communication with the high school and allowed for timely rentals for sports, clubs and public events.
“He found ways to make it a joint publicity victory focused on family and education,” says Fenton Community High School District Director of Communications and Community Engagement Rick Kambic. “Those generous actions allowed Fenton High School to move toward normalcy and provide our entire community with a sign of unity and shared commitment to our children.”
A listing of all individual and team award winners may be found online at INSPRA.org/dsa.