STAR Award winners

On May 7, Catoosa County’s Board of Commissioners recognized two employees — Kim Sawyer and Chelsea Hoge — from its Parks and Recreation Department as STAR Award winners for the month of May. From left: County Manager Alisha Vaughn, Commissioner Jeff Long, Parks and Recreation Director Travis Barbee, Commissioner Chuck Harris, Recreational Programmer Chelsea Hoge, Commissioner Jim Cutler, Commission Chairman Steven Henry, Recreational Programmer Kim Sawyer and Commissioner Charlie Stephens.

Catoosa County commissioners recently recognized two employees of its Parks and Recreation Department as STAR Award winners for the month of May.

During the May 7 meeting, County Manager Alisha Vaughn and Parks and Recreation Director Travis Barbee presented awards to employees Kim Sawyer and Chelsea Hoge.

“We actually have two STAR Awards tonight. The STAR Award goes to a county employee who has done something to go above and beyond, and we have two tonight,” Vaughn said.

Barbee, who supervises the two, said each woman has surpassed expectations in their current positions.

“The two employees nominated for the award are Kim Sawyer and Chelsea Hoge,” Barbee said. “These are two remarkable women who took a position in the county, and then transcended it.

Barbee explained that Sawyer was hired as park attendant when she attempted to get back in the workforce after some years away raising her kids.

“She took a park attendant job, and then took that job and started programming and creating new entertainment options and recreation opportunities,” Barbee said.

“Then she started finding ways to pay for them by submitting grants. Besides being a steadfast person that we can count on for everything, she also leads the way.”

As for Hoge, Barbee said she likewise has carved out her own niche and brought more to her position than originally planned.

“Chelsea started with us a year and a half ago as our office receptionist,” Barbee said. “At the time I knew she had the capability of being a lot more. Not only has she created and started handling all our disc golf tournaments, but she’s also our certified archery instructor.”

Barbee said Hogue is responsible for the growing attendance in the county’s disc golf scene and that the county recently held its highest attended tournament ever.

“Both of them are very special, and our department couldn’t meet the community’s needs without people who do what they do,” Barbee said. “They make me look good every day, so I just wanted to take a chance to thank them.”

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.