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Parris hired as Unicoi parks director

New Unicoi Parks and Recreation Director Courtney Parris knows the perks of small-town living.
A native of Forest City, N.C., Parris has hit the ground running since being hired as the town of Unicoi’s new parks and recreation director on June 29.
“I’m extremely blessed to be here,” Parris said in a phone interview with The Erwin Record. “Everyone here has been very friendly and it has been great so far.”
Parris graduated from East Tennessee State University on May 9 with a degree in Sports Leisure and Management with a concentration in Parks and Recreation and took the chance to apply for the position after coming across the job posting online.
“I did my internship at the Johnson City Senior Center,” Parris said. “I was about to finish up school and I decided it was time to look for a big girl job. I saw the position online and decided to apply. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it or not. It wasn’t just a secretary or assistant job, it was a director position. I figured the worst I could be told was, ‘No thanks’.”
But that wasn’t the case for Parris. After the first round of interviews, the reality set in that a job within her degree could come to fruition.
“This is something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life,” she said. “They called me in and said I got the job.”
Parris is currently based at the Unicoi Tourist Information Center. After receiving the job, the support has been second to none from the town, according to Parris.
“The first thing I realized was Unicoi is a very small town,” she said. “That’s something I really enjoy. I came from a small town, so I know what it's like.”
The agenda is busy for the coming months for Unicoi and the new director. The town will be presenting a series of “Movies in the Park” on July 31, Aug. 7 and Aug. 14, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Bogart-Bowman Cabin. Different refreshments and activities will be available during each day, Parris added, with a movie aimed to start around dusk.
Along with the movie nights, Parris mentioned the town will hold community-wide yards sales on Aug. 14-15.
Those events are just the tip of the iceberg, according to the director.
“We’ve got different events planned,” Parris said. “Possibly having a dog or pet show for families to bring out their pets to show their different talents. I’ve had different people come up to me and tell me how popular bird watching is in the area, so that’s something we’re working at, too.”
Parris also mentioned being an avid lover of the outdoors and of horses. She is also an advocate of children with special needs. She combines these interests as a certified Special Olympics Equestrian Coach.
While the slate is looking to fill up with multiple events, Parris added she would like to hear from members of the community about their ideas.
For more information on upcoming events on volunteering opportunities, contact Parris at [email protected] or by phone at 735-0426.