Wishing you good times, good cheer
and a memorable new year.
All of us at the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department want to thank you for your business, loyalty, and support this past year. We hope to see you again in the new year! Thank you to our 5,000+ volunteers that donated over 32,000 hours (valued at more than $815,000) in 2019. At the Park and Recreation Board Meeting, January 28, 2020 5:00 p.m. we will honor the following 2019 Volunteer Award Winners (below). The presentation can be viewed online at the City of Des Moines DMTV7 Channel.
Lifetime Achievement
George Davis
George Davis has spent a lifetime supporting Des Moines Parks and Recreation, our schools and our community. Over the past decade, his volunteer leadership on the Parks and Recreation Board and in his neighborhood is to be commended. Under Davis' leadership we've seen an increase in board involvement, especially in our subcommittees. Davis has donated hundreds of ours of time in our community supporting youth and adult recreation. He is proud to volunteer and represent us at meetings, dedications and more. For his lifetime of service and exemplary leadership and support, we will honor him with the 2019 Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award. 
Volunteer of the Year
Mike Rowley
Mike Rowley has been an outstanding volunteer over the years but in 2019, his service was beyond measure. Rowley chaired the Citizens Cemetery Advisory Committee (CCAC), helped with the Governor's Own Regiment flag retirement project, spearheaded Wreaths Across America efforts (recruiting veterans, finding donors, working with musicians, volunteers and more), and has worked hundreds of hours over the years supporting our cemeteries and protecting the history within them. Rowley walks the cemetery almost daily and can be found at almost every cemetery volunteer event we have from flag decoration to flag removal, monument restoration to flag retirement. He spends countless hours supporting efforts such as the installation of the 1812 stones this year to put on unmarked graves. He is a great leader, a voice for our cemeteries and our community's past.
Mike Rowley (Far Left) at Wreaths Across America
Corporate Group of the Year
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is an environmentally responsible company which encourages a strong community. They believe one of the most important contributions their team members make is using their professional skills, knowledge and abilities to help organizations, such as the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. In addition to financial support to renovate George Whitmer Park in the heart of Des Moines, they also donated 1,228 hours in our cemeteries, parks, trails, greenhouse, coaching and more. Their volunteerism is year-round touching every part of our Department. Through their philanthropy and outreach they’ve strengthened our community and enhanced our quality of life.  
(Above) Wells Fargo, the 2019 Iowa Parks and Recreation Association's Business Support Award Winner donating time in Whitmer Park.
Volunteer Group of the Year
Watchmen Communities (Lokus Ngo)
Watchmen Communities was created to watch over humanity by supporting, protecting, and preserving life is led by outstanding community member Lokus Ngo. Lokus came to us passionate and determined to create a better world for future generations. He works to instill sound morals and character traits within youth in the community. 

He created a Litter-Free Movement and in 2019 they adopted Prospect Park. Through Lokus’ hard work he organized children and their families to care for the park throughout the year. They educated youth, marched through the community and hosted multiple clean-ups donating 586 hours (valued at almost $15,000) in their first year.  

Their dedication to enhancing and beautifying the neighborhood is amazing!! We will honor them for their organization, leadership and positive presence in our parks.  

Friend of the Year
Brooke Avila
Brooke Avila, Vice-President of the Friends of Des Moines Parks, has served in many roles over the past ten years including secretary and Board of Directors. Brooke donates hundreds of hours each year promoting the Friends mission, advocating for more funding for parks and recreation programs and attending countless events and activities in our parks. In part thanks to her dedication and service, during Brooke’s tenure with the Friends of Des Moines Parks, the amount of funding they've received has steadily grown. Her commitment to both the Friends and Des Moines Parks and Recreation has allowed countless kids to learn how to swim, supported construction of iconic facilities and improved the overall quality of parks and trails in the City of Des Moines. We will honor her for the significant impact she has had on our Department and our community.
Coach of the Year
DeMareo Darrah
DeMareo Darrah, a three-time Midwest Football Alliance Offensive Most Valuable Player winner and former East High School all-stater, holds career passing and rushing records and had been selected to their All-Star Team numerous times. His dedication and respect for the sport translated well as the flag football team he coached went undefeated. Darrah, a City of Des Moines Police Officer, teaches his team good sportsmanship and demonstrates what a good leader is, as a volunteer coach. The children enjoy his passion and are happy to see him each week and hang around him before, during and after games. Darrah is being recognized for his outstanding coaching and service to the City.
Volunteer Supervisor
of the Year
Colby Fangman
Park Planner, Colby Fangman, engages the public and encourages volunteerism. He’s led multiple projects with volunteers, including a large playground build in Ashby Park with Rebuilding Together and Meredith Corporation. Fangman helped train a new volunteer supervisor for the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, a volunteer data collection effort. He worked with the volunteer team to bring on a teacher extern this summer who served hundreds of hours inventorying our parks' facilities. He evaluates ways to improve and create efficiencies, resulting in well-thought out volunteer projects. Fangman’s creativity and pursuit to raise the bar for our volunteers shows every time. It keeps the volunteers safe, happy and coming back. 

Special Award
Jean Schooley
Jean Schooley has helped beautify the City for almost a decade. Each year, Jean spends time in our greenhouse transplanting spring flowers to prepare them to go out to neighborhoods. More than 250,000 annuals are grown thanks to people like Jean. Year after year, she has not only helped grow them but then Jean spends countless hours in our parks helping plant them. Jean loves to support other volunteers too and often can be found helping other volunteer groups in her neighborhood beautify Walnut Trace. Our staff has enjoyed her support throughout the years. Between her neighborhood beautification and greenhouse service she is responsible for over 1,200 hours of service. We thank Jean for the years she has served making our community a better and more beautiful place to live. 
Memory Makers
Jan, Feb & March
Bald Eagle Day January
Family Fun Night February
Mother Son Event March 

We're creating heart-warming memories and can use your help. Volunteers are needed at our upcoming special events to help as greeters, check-in, station hosts and more...making magical evenings for all who attend. You bring the friendly smile and we'll provide training, supplies and FUN!

*Background check required.
Dog Park Ambassadors
If you LOVE dogs, we've got the opening for you. Donate 40 hours a year as a Dog Park Ambassador and earn a FREE Dog Park permit. Volunteers greet guests and make sure dogs and owners have safe and fun dog park opportunities. We have flexible opportunities that fit with your schedule at Ewing Dog Park and Riverwalk Dog Park.!

*Background Check Required
Transplanting in the Tropics - GROUP Openings
Mid-March to May
Fridays, 12:00-3:00 p.m.
Do you have a corporate group looking for volunteer opportunities together? We've got a great way for you to beat the winter blues and enjoy the warmth of a tropical retreat for the day. Openings for groups of 5-10 people are available on Friday afternoons, 12:00-3:00 p.m. at our City Greenhouse.

Shifts available:
3/20, 4/3, 4/10, 4/17 and 5/1