It’s been about seven years since the Fort Knox Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation won its last National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in the military category, but the Central Kentucky Army post is once again a finalist for the award.Founded in 1965, the 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.According to FMWR Community Program Coordinator Chris Dent, the installation was also a finalist in 2012. After winning in 2013, competition rules dictate installations aren’t allowed to participate again for five years.“We decided in January that it was time for us to go ahead and compete again,” Dent said.Dent said FMWR directorates from all branches of the military compete for the award, but this year’s competition has turned out to be unique.“For the first time ever, all of the finalists this year are Army installations,” he said. “We are competing against Fort Riley, Kansas, and two installations from Germany – Kaiserslautern and Bavaria.”Dent said there were several factors they included in the application this year that led to Fort Knox DFMWR being chosen as a finalist in the competition.“We talked about our overall programs, the program evaluation tool we used to gauge customer satisfaction and financial validity, reports we generate to manage our monetary resources, the post planning board, environmental conservation and the energy programs, and community support,” Dent said.Dent said receiving the notification that they had been picked as finalists on May 22 meant an additional requirement to vie for top honors.“We’re in the process now of putting together a required 5-minute video that highlights Fort Knox FMWR as well as all of the things we submitted in the application,” he said. “We have to submit that by June 15.”Dent said there is no monetary award for winning but rather recognition that Fort Knox DFMWR is the best.The awards are expected to be announced during the 2020 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually in October. Dent said he is optimistic about the post’s chances.“I think we have a good shot at winning this year.”__________________________________________________________Editor’s note: For more information about the 2020 NRPA, visit National Gold Medal Award or www.aapra.org.