Park Board honors volunteers of the year

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board recently honored recipients of Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Five people and one group received Remarkable Volunteer Service Awards for their efforts. For each honoree $500 is donated to their respective park program, which will be used to enhance programming or purchase supplies. More than 8,300 people donated over 178,000 hours of their time to the park system in 2014. 

Leigh Breitenbach has coached 22 youth sports teams at Minneapolis Parks during his seven-year tenure, including three volleyball teams, seven soccer teams, eight basketball teams, three baseball teams and one softball team. Breitenbach has also mentored other coaches with teams in Armatage, Kenny, Windom South, Pearl and McRae parks.

Patrick Arneson has volunteered as head coach of the Northeast youth track team, which grew from nine to 100 members during his tenure. The team has also won the Sportsmanship award in 2013 under his leadership.

Ted Tucker most recently led the Central Riverfront Community Advisory Committee, but has spearheaded many committees in his time volunteering for the Park Board. The CAC has developed a detailed long-term plan to transform the parkland along the riverfront.

Phoebe Waugh is a 15-year shelter volunteer for Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden who also assists with the Early Birders program. Waugh is a citizen-scientist and teacher, helping the program facilitator identify birds and answering questions from birders. 

Bob Sorg, a ceramic artist and business owner, has been using his skills to plan and manufacture a 25-foot diameter sculpture at Sheridan Veterans Memorial.

The volunteer-based educational nonprofit Metro Blooms has been putting up rain gardens in public and private spaces all over the Twin Cities. As a Minneapolis Park Steward, the organization has also transformed the Irving Triangle in North Minneapolis with native plants, which it has maintained for more than three years.

The Park Board also gave out two Youth Rising Star Awards, which also involve a $500 donation to the recipients’ park programs. Jake Sullivan and Sean Uldrich served as assistant coaches for soccer teams at Lyndale Farmstead Park. Northern Lights Council Boy Scout Troop 100 is a Hmong Boy Scout Troop who has completed several Eagle Scout service projects, which included planting and mulching trees and landscape redesign projects.