Before we all became active users of Google – and, to be honest even after we learned to do our own searches – Sheree Trefry was the Metro Parks staff’s one-stop shop for Park and Recreation information.
As a collaborator with Anne Winters, Sheree helped launch and maintain thousands of pages on the District’s first website. She produced our monthly staff newsletter Park Bench. And, she poured endless creativity into designing – and often painstakingly handcrafting – unforgettable invitations, posters, graphics and more for district programs, celebrations, and special events.
She has been a creative force to be reckoned with producing designs that help beckon tens of thousands of visitors to our parks each year. Her designs are sprinkled throughout our parks on interpretive signage and no doubt most of us have saved memorabilia she’s created – like the artful invitation shaped like the Seymour Conservatory which she painstakingly hand cut for centennial celebration invitees.
Sheree’s ingenuity is endless. When the Fort Nisqually Foundation needed some 2-part tickets for a drawing for a fundraising event, Sheree pulled the thread out of her sewing machine and used it to create a perforation to provide them what they needed after a printer came back with a quote she felt would detract way too much from the event’s proceeds.
Her passion for Metro Parks runs so deep that those of us who know her just assumed she knows so much about our parks and recreation programs because she grew up in the system as a Tacoma resident. But, she says she didn’t really spend a lot of time in parks until she became a teenager and got her first summer job as a concessionaire at Point Defiance Park. She remembers the experience fondly and still has the paystub from her very first check – a whopping $19.15! She earned it in part spinning cotton candy. She said the pink sugary floss would fly everywhere and she’d often find glimmers of it in her hair when she’d get home from work. She recalls pacing anxiously by the phone waiting as she would wait for the nod for her on call shift, often hovering over her dad for the phone while he was on business calls.
After earning a business degree from WSU, Sheree worked at People’s Bank for nearly 10 years before starting a position at South Bay Press. She credits her husband Stu for encouraging her to pursue a career that would put her creative talents to use. After earning her Associate’s degree in Graphic Design, Sheree applied and interviewed for a public relations position at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park – part of the Metro Parks portfolio of parks, zoos and recreation facilities. Although that job ultimately went to another candidate, the hiring manager at Trek called her counterpart at Metro Parks’ headquarters and urged her to bring Sheree in for an interview for a newly created position in the Communications Office. Sheree described the moment she was offered the job as feeling as though she “had won the lottery.”
You can feel her love for Metro Parks and her pride in being part of the agency’s legacy as she describes just how much the District has grown and changed – for the better – throughout her 19 years with us. From projects to programs, she’s proud of how much the District has evolved and credits the ingenuity and dedication of her colleagues for those changes.
“I’ve loved every minute of my job, because I liked being able to be part of a team that support the great work that all of my coworkers do,” she said. “I just really like all of the different people I’ve had a chance to work with. It’s been great collaborating with them and coming up with ideas to help promote all that they do.”
She demonstrated her genuine love for her coworkers year after year as she coordinated an annual Employee Holiday Party. As a government agency, the District is not allowed to pay for a thank you party for staff. But, that didn’t stop Sheree. She pulled out all the stops to create a holiday tradition for staff and their families to enjoy. She pulled together fellow staff members who began creating holiday gift baskets to be raffled off to help pay for the event. The idea was a HUGE success, helping to fund a pasta dinner each year. It also generates a lot of friendly competition and excitement as departments began challenging each other and trying to create the best basket. Each year, tickets are tallied to determine which department attracts the greatest number of entries, with the winner earning bragging rights to prominently display the coveted holiday gnome trophy – which, of course Sheree created – in their department for a year.
Sheree has left her indelible fingerprints throughout the District and she will remain deeply engrained in our hearts as many traditions that began with her continue long into the future.