Lewiston Recreation Director Nicole Welch holds a plaque recognizing her as the William V. Haskell Distinguished Professional of the Year. The award was presented by the Maine Recreation and Park Association at its annual meeting March 18 in Rockland. From left are Lewiston Recreation staff Tim Duchette, Stephanie Cote, Welch, Cheryl Morin, Alyssa Davis and Kevin Bean.

LEWISTON — The Maine Recreation and Park Association honored Nicole Welch, Lewiston’s recreation director, with its William V. Haskell Distinguished Professional of the Year Award on March 18 during its annual meeting in Rockland.

“When Nicole was hired in the city almost three years ago, at the time the position was under the Public Works Department. Recognizing her potential to be a G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) recreation director, I made it a standalone department again — a decision I don’t regret to date,” Heather Hunter, Lewiston’s city administrator, said in a city news release. “My standards are pretty high and Nicole’s achievements have surpassed all expectations. She excels at customer service and creative planning.”

Welch, with her small staff and small budget, continually finds ways to grow programing, either by initiating partnerships to continue to expand programing for all ages and demographic backgrounds or being extra creative. When tasked with helping during the mass shootings in Lewiston on Oct. 25, 2023, Welch set up the FBI and Attorney General’s victims and family service center at the Lewiston Armory.

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