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A Dec. 15 retirement drop-in to honor the work of retiring Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Commission director Frank Overcash almost never happened.
Jim Bull, the former LCPRC director who hired Overcash some 28 years ago, wasn’t sure if he could get Overcash to come when Overcash inquired about the job in 1982.
“Frank was our No. 1 choice,” said Bull during the drop-in held at the Springdale Recreation Center, home of the LCPRC offices. “We wanted him, but I wasn’t sure we had enough funds in the budget to hire him.”
Overcash, a China Grove, N.C., native who at that time was working with the Mooresville, N.C., Recreation Department, was ready to make a move.
“I had applied in a couple of places and looked around,” said Overcash.
“What I liked about the Lancaster County program, among other things, was the possibilities to build a program.”
Bull saw plenty of pluses in the personable Overcash.
“I liked Frank’s work ethic and how he felt recreation should be in the community and just his good old common sense,” Bull said.
Bull said he followed the advice of Judy Arioli, the office receptionist and secretary who before Overcash came to work on April 1, 1982 was the only other full-time staff member.
“She said you might not get him, but if you don’t make an offer, you will never know,” Bull said. “We were tickled when Frank joined us.”
Overcash, seeing his vision come to fruition, recalled the early days.
“Our first building, just off Main Street, behind the old Bank of Lancaster building, isn’t even around any more,” Overcash said. “The staff then was Jim, myself and Judy and we also had our area coordinators.
“We had very few facilities and had to beg, borrow and steal for things,” Overcash said.
“At that time, we had 10 parks and the majority of those were in the city of Lancaster. Now we have 52 parks and that’s county wide.
“We now have 300 acres, four recreation centers and a few thousand volunteers,” Overcash said. “We’ve grown from a small agency to a much larger agency.
“A lot of people came together to make this happen,” said Overcash, the LCPRC director for the last five years following Bull’s retirement. “It’s good to be a part of something and see it happen.”
During the drop-in, a host of people stopped by to honor Overcash and his work.
Sandy Drum, who has worked the gate at a variety of youth sports events through the years, praised Overcash’s work.
“I can remember the first game I worked with Frank,” Drum said. “It was a basketball game at the North Elementary School gym where we had youth basketball games then.
“Frank has been outstanding for the Rec Department. I’ve enjoyed working with Frank because he was always supportive and did all he could to help this department reach its potential.”
Overcash offered a simple view in getting the job done.
“All I did was keep something running,” Overcash said.
Bull agreed and more.
“Everything seems to be working right,” he said. “I thought we made a great team working together and he’s kept it going.”
Overcash was presented an award for his years of service and a Hawaiian shirt for a future retirement getaway.
“Lancaster has been good to me,” Overcash said. “My families here and I’ve raised my kids here.
“I have a lot of deep roots here and I’ve been fortunate to get to know and work with good people. That’s about all you can ask and I’m truly grateful.”