Greenway Trust founder, Jim Ellis

Jim Ellis receives 2011 Cornelius Pugsley Award

On November 3rd, my husband Mark and I traveled to Atlanta to accept the 2011 Cornelius Pugsley Award for my Dad and Greenway Founding President, Jim Ellis.

The Pugsley award is a national award given to three people each year by The National Park Foundation and The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. What an inspirational evening we had!  We sat at a table with many former recipients such as Fran Mainella, the first woman ever to be Director of the National Park Service. It was wonderful company to keep, needless to say.

The award was first given in 1928 to Stephen Mather, Director and Founder of the National Park Service. Eunice Kennedy, Frederick Olmsted Jr., Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson and Charles Odegaard, Director of Washington Parks and Recreation Commission in 1983, have also been recipients.

The award is given to individuals who:

1)     “Have preserved, enhanced or created park values, which significantly enriched the lives of people.

2)     Reflect originality, intelligent selectivity, courageous decisions and actions, dedication to the public weal, sensitivity to the feelings and interests of all concerned, and a sound philosophy of public service.

3)     Significantly developed or refined techniques which will advance the effectiveness of park programs.

4)     By conferring the award will give encouragement and inspiration to others.”

After talking briefly about Dad’s work on the cleanup of Lake Washington, Forward Thrustfarmland preservation and Freeway Park, I took a moment to speak about the Mountains to Sound Greenway and recounted to the audience the 20th Anniversary Trek last summer which was such an energizing and affirming experience for us all. They stopped me in mid-speech to applaud the organization! It was great!

I also repeated Dad’s 1935 speech which he gave as a “Youth” in the John Muir Grade School Pageant. It went as follows:

“The spirit of John Muir shall not die. Rise, all youth, to my call! Together we shall keep the wonder and the glory of the big trees. We shall climb the mountains and get their good tidings. The spirit of John Muir lives forever!”

Dad got a standing ovation that night, and we, as a family, received another reminder of how proud we are of him!