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Posted on: June 6, 2022

NAS Whiting Field MWR named finalist for 2022 National Gold Medal Award – Parks and Recreation

NAS Whiting Field MWR logo

NASWFPress Release 

Naval Air Station Whiting Field Public Affairs Office

USS Essex Street, Suite 206, Milton FL 32570

(850) 623-7341 Comm / (850) 501-0433 Cell


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          Release #22-16                        June 3, 2022


NAS Whiting Field MWR announced as finalist for 2022 National Gold Medal Award – Parks and Recreation Management


MILTON, Fla. – The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), announced Naval Air Station Whiting Field’s Morale Welfare and Recreation department as a finalist for the 2022 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.


Founded in 1965, the National Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into six classes, with five classes based on population and one class for armed forces. 


“Congratulations to the 2022 Gold Medal Finalists from the United States Army and United States Navy! AAPRA is proud to administer this program which recognizes excellence in park and recreation management from a variety of perspectives,” said Jane H. Adams, Executive Director, AAPRA. “We thank the installations which applied in 2022, particularly considering the continued stress and management demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applying during this challenging time speaks to the importance of this award program to park and recreation professionals and the profession.” 


NAS Whiting Field MWR is one of the finalists in the Armed Forces Parks and Recreation category. MWR serves military members and their families at Whiting Field with recreational, physical fitness and family activities such as 5K fun runs, physical fitness challenges, campouts, movie nights, library activities, and many other events geared toward enhancing a family community and morale among Sailors.  


“To be announced as a finalist for the Gold Award is a true testament to our team and the community we serve,” said Tom Kubalewski, MWR Director, NAS Whiting Field. “As a team of recreation professionals, the people who make up the MWR organization have made a commitment to serve our military and DoD warfighters and families. It is rewarding to see each of them recognized through this achievement. This nomination also says that we have continued to ensure that our military community receives the very best that we have to offer and that our best is recognized on a national level. I could not be more proud of the MWR team and the community we serve.” 

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff members and elected officials. NAS Whiting Field MWR joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for the Grand Plaque which will be awarded in September.


“Our NAS Whiting Field MWR team is the best in the business,” said Capt. Paul Flores, commanding officer, NAS Whiting Field.  “These outstanding men and women creatively design and execute a variety of fun activities and major events throughout the year to help our Sailors and their families stay healthy and engaged. We’re proud of their accomplishments and hope to see them win the Grand Plaque in September,” he remarked. 


A panel of five highly qualified park and recreation professionals will review and judge all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience in managing park and recreation agencies and their knowledge of parks and recreation on the local, state and national levels.  


Presentation of the finalist and the Grand Plaque recipients will occur in person at the 2022 NRPA Conference, September 20-22 in Phoenix, Ariz. 


For more information on the National Gold Medal Award Program, visit


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MWR Character Breakfast event 2022


(MWR Character Breakfast, May 2022)

The NAS Whiting Field Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team conducts a number of major events and activities throughout the year to provide Sailors and their families with fun and healthy options. The MWR Character Breakfast is one of the highlights of the year for children as they are able to meet and interact with their favorite superheroes.  (U.S. Navy photo)



NASWF Picnic 2022


(NASWF picnic 2022)

The NAS Whiting Field Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team conducts a number of major events and activities throughout the year to provide Sailors and their families with fun and healthy options. The MWR Annual military appreciation picnic, in coordination with local Santa Rosa County community groups, is one of the largest events of the year for families to gather for kids’ activities, food and fellowship. (Photo by Jamie Link, NAS Whiting Field public affairs)



Naval Air Station Whiting Field, home of Training Air Wing Five, is the backbone of Naval Aviation Training, supporting approximately 60 percent of all primary fixed-wing flight training and 100 percent of all initial helicopter training for the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. NAS Whiting Field is the busiest aviation complex in the world with more than one million flight operations flown at the installation annually. It is comprised of two main airfields and 12 Navy Outlying Landing Fields across four counties in Southeast Alabama and Northwest Florida. TRAWING Five flies an estimated 43 percent of the Chief of Naval Air Training Command's total flight time and 17 percent of Navy and Marine Corps' flight time worldwide. More than 1,200 personnel receive their essential flight training through TRAWING Five annually.



The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1984 to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit


The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit


Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit

Editor's note:  Media partners with questions about this release should call the NAS Whiting Field Public Affairs Office at (850) 623-7341 or (850) 501-0433 cell.

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