Reid Pope named Jim Spain Professional of the Year

Opelika Parks and Recreation was honored at the 2017 Alabama Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) State Conference when Reid Pope received the Jim Spain Professional of the Year Award for 2016.


Reid Pope, recently retired from Opelika Parks and Recreation. He received the Jim Spain Professional of the Year award, the highest honor given by the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association, for his service to OPR.

The Jim Spain Professional of the Year Award honors individuals who have rendered outstanding service or accomplishments to the leisure service, recreation, parks and/or conservation professions through leadership and/or active involvement.


Jim Spain served Florence Parks and Recreation from 1951-1985 and was a pioneer of parks and recreation in Alabama. He served as President and Director for ARPA. Spain also served on regional and national park and recreation boards, he received the Outstanding Professional Citation for the Southeastern States and he received the Distinguished Fellow Award from the American Park and Recreation Society.


Like Spain, Pope has spent the majority of his life dedicated to recreation. Pope started out in 1973 as a young college student in need of a part time job, but that need soon turned into a passion that led to 32 years of full-time service to Opelika Parks and Recreation.


Reidís impact on the community is astounding. He created a safe, enjoyable place for kids to hang out and he never forgot a name. Most Opelikians will tell you that "Mr. Reid" played a huge part in some of their favorite childhood memories. He embodies the spirit of recreation and will be a hard man to replace. Nobody is more deserving of this award.

This is the fifth time the award has been presented to an Opelika Parks and Recreation staff member, un unprecedented achievement. Tommie Agee received the award in 2015, Barbara Kent received it in 2008, Bill Harrelson received it in 1999 and Bill Calhoun received it in 1976.