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2012 Volunteer of the Month Winners

Each month, USTA North Carolina will celebrate a tennis volunteer who is doing something to promote and develop the growth of tennis. From grass-roots community activists to family volunteers, on-court instructors to behind-the-scenes volunteers, these are the people who make tennis happen. Nominate someone today!

All we need is the volunteer's name, a paragraph or two explaining why they deserve to be recognized and, if possible, a small picture of the volunteer. Send your nominations to awards@nctennis.com.

- Rick Burt -

Rick served on the Henderson County Community Tennis Association as Chair of the Youth Committee. He has joined the board as Secretary for 2013. He has attended the CDLM weekend at least the past 2 years.

When you say youth tennis in Henderson County you are talking about Rick Burt. He has ran our 10 and under tennis for at least 3 years with growth in participation and events each year. He heads up several 5 or 6 weeks sessions over the course of the year with help from volunteers and local pros.

He also arrange and ran 3 10 and under tournaments this year. Everyone wins there are no losers.

He arranges and runs an indoor program when the weather is bad in the winter. Last winter there were 3 age groups lead by volunteers and local pros.This year he started, through the request of parents, a 10 – 14 age group and he wants to expand this program and also expand to the high school students.

He also ran a site during our Apple Open Tournament and helped with decorate our truck (float) for the Apple Open Parade this year.

Rick always has lots of ideas and the energy and enthusiasm to help bring his ideas to fruition. He has developed a close relationship with Tim Hopkins the Director of Parks and Recreation in Henderson County. He has attended meetings to help get courts resurfaced in Etowah, expand courts from 2 to 4 in Mills River, and the County Commissioners meeting concerning the purchase of a school property with a gymnasium so there would be more opportunities to offer training to others in an indoor setting..

- Robert Bales -

A constant advocate for the promotion of tennis.  Bob plays 5 times a week and is always inviting new players to play.  He volunteers as a coach for the Appalachian state men’s team.  He is working with both Head Coaches and the student advocate to start “tennis on campus” at App State.  Spends tireless hours promoting tennis to juniors and adults and supporting our local high school teams.  Personally donated many hours and dollars to our successful Breast Cancer Benefit that raised over $20k for the Chapel Hill Breast Cancer Foundation.  Bob Serves on several boards to raise money for underprivileged juniors to get adequate training on a national level. 

- Joel Turner -

The Charlotte tennis community is fortunate to have a passionate and dedicated volunteer in Joel Turner.

Joel joined the Charlotte Tennis Association (CTA) Board of Directors in 2007.  Since that time, he served on the Executive Committee and is currently Vice President.  Joel had been involved in all aspects of CTA operations -- from strengthening the structure of the organization to enhancing programming.  He is especially passionate in the area of public tennis programming and facilities, where he has been the Chair for the CTA Facility Project Committee.  He has worked tirelessly to advocate for a large public tennis complex to address the shortage of tennis courts in Mecklenburg County; to provide an opportunity for a greater and more diverse population of children and adults to learn and play the sport; and for the ability to facilitate event hosting.  CTA Executive Director, Carla O'Connor, said that during her 15 years of involvement with the CTA, she has been blessed to work with many incredible volunteers, but Joel Turner is a stand out!

Joel is a member of Olde Providence Racquet Club (OPRC), where he has also made significant contributions serving on the Board of Directors as the Vice President for Membership and President.  He is currently serving as the Immediate Past President.  While he joined OPRC as General Manager only about a year ago, Kim Perino, said that it he was quickly aware that Joel is a well-liked and very respected member of the club. 

Along with this recognition, we recognize the people around Joel who provide understanding and support for the tremendous amount of time he commits to these, and other, volunteer efforts.  Joel and his wife Ashely keep busy with their three active children: Will, Natalie and Bennett.  Both Will and Bennett are accomplished junior players, and you will find Joel/Ashley sitting courtside at junior tournaments throughout the Southern Section in support of Will and Bennett.  Will plays on his Varsity High School team and is transitioning into the 18s, and Bennett is transiting off the 60' courts and orange ball.

- Randal Blankenship -

Randal Blankenship has been a pillar of the Winston Salem tennis community for over 15 years.  Long time board member of the Winston-Salem Community Tennis Association, Captain of numerous area USTA teams, originator of local leagues at both Tanglewood Park and Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center, as well as, a volunteer at about every area tennis tournament over the last 10 years.  Most recently, Randal has stepped forward to take responsibility for acquiring and managing the largest group of volunteers needed to help at the Winston-Salem Open professional tennis tournament.  His individual effort to get 200+ volunteers and to manage them on site 24/7 for this tournament is clearly an example of how he goes above and beyond to held all area tennis programs.

- UNCG Women's Tennis Team -

UNCG women's tennis team started their fall season by volunteering for several clinics that were hosted at this year's Winston Salem Open. On a weekend when the  all of the Spartan student-athletes were supposed to be moving into their dorms and getting to know their new roommates, the women's tennis team were on the indoor courts at the Winston-Salem Open teaching tennis to area kids. On Saturday, they helped USTA North Carolina host a Kids Play Day that saw the "Lady Spartans" playing singles and doubles with the future tennis stars. The team came back on Monday after classes to help host a clinic as a part of "USO Military Appreciation Night". The USO sponsored this event for the children of military families.

The "Lady " Spartans are looking to repeat as Southern Conference Champions this year. Coming off a 10-0 conference season last year, they return 3 seniors (Tooli Wilkins/Player of the Year), 1 junior and
3 sophomores. They have added 3 very talented freshmen, who will impact the squad immediately.

While excelling on the court, the Spartans have flourished in the classroom as well.
They finished the year with a team cum GPA: 3.36. We earned ITA All-Academic team honors and placed 5 people (Lucy Dougherty, Annette Rios, Mikayla Rogers, Stephanie Falcon and Alex Whitehead) on the individual honors list. They placed seven members on the SoCon Academic Honor Roll this year with three members earning commissioner's medals.

The Spartan tennis group included 10 student-athletes:
Soumeya Anane (FR)
Alisha Burton (SO)
Amy Ellis (FR)
Steph Falcon (SO)
Kayla Gammie (SO)
Jamie Grinberg (FR)
Annette Rios (SR)
Alex Whitehead (SR)
Tooli Wilkins (SR)
Dilara Yurtkuran (JR)

Ale Guerra (Coach)
Jeff Trivette (Head Coach)

- Barbara Morton -

In 2012, Barbara Morton became the first chair of the Marketing, Public Relations and Publicity Committee and in April, after we reorganized our committees, she assumed responsibilities for thecommunications, website and newsletter.

Barbara dove head first into the task and her committee is working on new a brochure for GWTA, a new website and a new format for the newsletter.  In addition, Barbara is putting together a publicity plan for our many youth programs. Barbara is also responsible for all the publicity work required for GWTA’s “Celebrate Tennis” day in September.  This involves working with the local CBS TV station and the radio stations.

- Lisa Nixon -

Lisa captained an adult league (3.0 level) team this spring and she also captained a JTT team. She is a full-time school teacher, but she still finds plenty of time to promote the sport of tennis and generously give her time.  Her passion for the sport is contagious and she always has a smile on her face when she's at the tennis courts. We have been working very hard to grow the new JTT league. Lisa has been tremendously helpful in promoting this program in her area and taking the lead as a captain.

As for the leagues, our teams are typically split up based on geographical location...there are usually some Fayetteville teams and some Pinehurst teams.  This spring, she took the initiative and reached out to players from all areas of our region who were looking to play and formed a 3.0 team. Having lived in Fayetteville in the past and now in the Pinehurst area, she does a great job of bringing everyone in our region together and growing our sport. 

- Tommy Wilcox -

Tommy is the women's coach at Elizabeth City State University. He has been working hard to promote the game and get tennis going in that area. He has run the Elizabeth City Open the last five-six years and has done a god job promoting the game in that area. Tommy works with the Elizabeth City Rec. Department and runs the summer tennis program. Tommy wears many different tennis hats and is well-deserving of this award.

- Glenda Artis -

Glenda Artis has served on the board of directors for DOCTA for over 10 years.  She has assisted in seeking volunteers to work with DOCTA events/programs, served as an official at DOCTA events, and participated as a volunteer in clinics and carnivals conducted by DOCTA.  She has further volunteered her time at the USTA Mixed Doubles Championship run by Durham Parks and Recreation and served as a league captain or co-captain for the past 12+ years for 3-4 teams each year. She is a member and past board member of Magic Express Tennis Club and has volunteered with the club during tournaments, clinics and other special events.  She also serves as a volunteer with NCTA on the league bid committee.  She is truly a team player; and enjoys the sport of tennis and sharing the love of the sport with others.


- Judy Parker -


Judy served as the league coordinator for the Down East League for the six years and most recently retired from this most prestigious position.  Teams found her to be efficient, fair and always available. She was invaluable in working with team captains last year as the league was split into three sections.  She is patient with explaining the details and quick with a fair, friendly and calm attitude to dispel any tension.

Greenville has been the site for the spring State Championships and Judy has been an indispensable asset in her efforts to successfully prepare the city for this major event. She coordinated all the preparations leading to the championships as well as volunteering as a site coordinator during the tournament.  Judy recently volunteered her time for the 2012 Relay For Life Tournament that was held on March 10, 2012.  Because of the volume of participation in the tourney, it was necessary to add another venue.  Judy quickly volunteered to act as a site coordinator at the secondary site. She also played a pivotal role in preparations for that event as well by being a part of the group that bought lunc h in for the players.

Many thoughts come to mind in the attributes for a Tennis Volunteer of the Month and Judy Parker has them all!  She loves to play tennis; she cares about all players; she is a good sport and supports good sportsmanship; and Judy advances the sport so that all players in Greenville, and the State of North Carolina as well, can enjoy tennis.

January/February 2012 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
- Christopher Mahan -


Christopher is a junior at Millbrook High in Raleigh.  He has collected tennis racquets for the past 4 years to give to summer camps in the Carolinas for special needs/pediatric children with cancer.  He has the racquets refurbished-restrung and regripped like new.  The camps that have received the racquets are Camp Oak Hill, Camp Royale, Camp Carefree, Camp Happy Days and for 2012 Camp Kaleidoscope.  While playing in North Carolina and Southern tournaments, Chris has solicited tournament t-shirts at the various sites to accompany the racquets.  The campers are thrilled to wear the promotional items.

Christopher also has volunteered and trained to become certified for the ATANC – Adaptive Tennis Association of NC.  This is organized play for highly functioning special needs kids.  It is headed by Kirstie Marx, tennis professional at Kildaire Farms, Cary and organized play is at the Raleigh Racquet Club, courtesy of General Manager, Marc Blouin who has provided the courts.