DESTIN — From her office inside the Destin Community Center on a rainy afternoon, Lisa Firth fires off emails about golf cart usage while taking phone calls about the Destin Christmas Parade which was taking place the following weekend.
On the rare occasion she gets a free second, she greets the people walking in or out of the community center and past her always-open office door, whose names she always seems to know.
The walls of her office are decorated with various accolades: One year with the city of Destin. Five years with the city. Fifteen years.
“This one was for an outstanding fireworks display, I think,” she said, standing on her toes and pointing to a dusty plaque in the top corner.
And now, Firth has an additional accolade to add to her wall: the city of Destin’s 2017 Employee of the Year.
Firth, who has been with the city in various capacities since 1996 and has served as its Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation since 1999, received the award for the first time in 1999. Her coworkers praised her as the “best boss ever,” “someone to admire” and “dedicated to her work and mission.”
City Manager Carisse LeJeune praised Firth's "can-do" attitude.
“Lisa is such a pleasure to work with. She is conscientious and responsive to the administrative needs of the city and is loved by the citizens and staff,” said City Manager Carisse LeJeune. “Her positive, ‘can-do,’ attitude is infections and motivating. Lisa is a true leader.”
For her part, Firth said it’s her coworkers who make her love her job.
“I like coming to my job every day because of the people I get to interact with on a daily basis,” she said. “I have a great team that makes all of our programs bar-none. All the other departments in the city, we work very well with them and I can call them all my friends.”
Firth juggles a seemingly endless array of tasks in her role as deputy director. She’s responsible for managing the snowbird roost, craft shows, kids’ summer cams, exercise programs, youth basketball program, the Christmas parade, Christmas tree lighting and a host of other seasonal and yearly events and programs.
And when she’s not working—which, she admitted, is rare—she said she enjoys playing with her grandkids, Maddox and Kaylynn, as well as camping and hiking with her family, playing sports, following Florida State University athletics, going to the beach and fishing.
But she said the best part about her job is getting to know the kids that come through her programs and grow up and come back to see her.
“I do love seeing all my little children that have gone through here and they come back and appreciate what I was able to do for them,” Firth said. “My job is what gives me the opportunity to touch all their lives.”