Parks and Rec director Reichle joining Chamber Hall of Fame
On Saturday mornings in the spring and fall, Holton’s Countryside Park, located at the southern edge of the city, is jam-packed with young fans of soccer and their families — and every one of those kids on the park’s soccer fields brings a smile to Mike Reichle’s heart.
Reichle, the City of Holton’s parks and recreation director since 2001, has played a role in the growth of the city’s youth soccer programs, both as the recreation director and as the coach of some of the teams out there playing soccer.
“I feel at home here,” Reichle said. “I embrace the new seasons every year, because I like to have something for each kid. That’s what keeps me coming back.”
Reichle’s work with Holton’s parks and recreation facilities — his dedication to making those facilities a showplace that brings in people from all over Kansas — has earned him the right to stand with Suzette McCord-Rogers, Dave Snyder and Rusty Douglas as part of the Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024.
To him, it’s an honor he’s glad to accept, but he also recognizes that he didn’t earn that honor alone — in fact, he credits every employee with every city department for helping him to realize his goals for the city’s parks and recreation facilities over the past two decades.
“There are so many people who made this happen,” Reichle said. “With all the work I’ve done at the city and with all of the people behind me, there’s no way I could have gotten this without every department and every person along the way. It’s an honor to be recognized for doing this for more than 20 years.”
Reichle, who spent his early years in Oklahoma City, Okla., traces his history in Holton back to his grandfather, former Holton city employee Wes Helton, who worked at the city’s power plant. His own father was in the military, and during his father’s tour of duty in Thailand during the Vietnam War, Reichle came to Holton during his fifth-grade year.
“I got to know Holton and I made some friends here,” he said. One of those, he noted, although he didn’t know it at the time, was his future wife Debbie, with whom he “rode bicycles” during that year, although the next year found him back in Oklahoma City.
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