Jim Donahue, retired town of Perinton commissioner of recreation and parks, and Nick Berlin, current town of Perinton assistant recreation director, recently were honored by the New York State Recreation and Park Society.
Donahue, who worked for the Perinton Recreation Department from 1976 to 2010, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes a person who has worked in New York state, and achieved prominence for their excellence in achieving outstanding and lasting contributions to the advancement of recreation and parks on the local or state level.
Currently the director of information technology for the town, Donahue spent his career working for the advancement of recreation and parks initiatives on all levels.
“Jim has served as a practitioner, educator, administrator and advocate for recreation,’’ said Jeff Myers, current Perinton commissioner of recreation and parks. “He has worked tirelessly to promote leisure opportunities in his hometown, while advancing the profession as a whole to leaders in the field and in government.”
Donahue’s accomplishments for the town of Perinton include an increase in programming, going from 20 recreation programs per season to more than 200. He shepherded the department budget from $400,000 a year to more than $4 million. He had a role in the design, construction and opening of the $5.5 million, 45,000 square foot Perinton Community Center in 1997, as well as the $5.9 million aquatics expansion in 2004. He developed partnerships with the local school district, and service and youth sports organizations.
Donahue also contributed in multiple ways to the National Recreation and Park Association. He has served as president of the Genesee Valley Recreation and Park Society, NYSRPS and NRPA. He regularly went to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to speak with senators, members of Congress and their staff members to advocate for parks, conservation, wellness and recreation initiatives that were being considered by the lawmakers.
Berlin won the Robert W. Miner “Good Guy” Award, which goes to an individual actively involved in the society and activities related to the field of leisure services. The award honors an individual who unselfishly contributed time, expertise and effort to further the principles and goals of the field of leisure services.
Berlin, a College at Brockport graduate, was hired in August 2018. In addition to his duties at the town, Berlin served on the 2017 and 2019 NYSRPS Conference committees.
“In the short time he has been here, Nick has made a positive impact on our programs and services,” Perinton recreation director Jeff Nutting said. “I have seen the passion he has through our work together with GVRPS and NYSRPS prior to his time with Perinton. He is well deserving of this award based on the contributions he has made as an employee of three local departments and volunteerism with professional organizations.”