Longtime Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District Employee Michael Paul Dies

Michael Paul speaks during the dedication of the gymnasium in Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District's Sport Center in San Jacinto in his honor in June 2019. Paul died Thursday, June 9, after a long battle with cancer.

(Michael Paul Dies)

Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District is devastated to report that longtime employee Michael Paul died Thursday morning, July 9, after a long battle with cancer.

Michael was with the district for more than 30 years before retiring in December 2018. He worked mostly as recreation supervisor, organizing and coordinating youth sports leagues. Michael also coached and officiated many games and is a former boys varsity basketball coach at San Jacinto High. Thousands of children in the San Jacinto Valley benefited from his efforts.

“I will not attempt to find words to express our sadness, since there are no words that can really handle this moment,” General Manager Dean Wetter wrote in a message to the staff. “Michael has a rooted presence in the community; and, my heart is bleeding and my eyes are tearing.”

The gymnasium in the Sport Center at Regional Park in San Jacinto was dedicated to Michael in June 2019. The facility was recently recognized as a Community Landmark by the California Association of Recreation and Park District. The annual Award of Distinction recognizes public park facilities that have served communities for 30 or more years and honors those facilities that have been at the core of recreation and park activities for a diverse user base and provided a wide-range of experiences and activities to the community.

Some 200 people attended the dedication event last year, which was highlighted by the unveiling of a sign on the wall outside the Sport Center reading “Michael Paul Gymnasium.”

“I was touched by this,” Paul told the crowd. “For 32 years I was only doing my job. It’s truly an honor to me.”

Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District operates more than 90 parks and community centers in French Valley, Hemet, Menifee, San Jacinto, Sage and Winchester. For information, visit gorecreation.org/.

-Craig Shultz

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