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USTA Honors Two Southern Volunteers with Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award

January 10, 2007 04:32 PM
The USTA announced that Bonnie Sue Duncan of Greer, S.C., and David Hartsek of Lexington, KY were selected as a 2006 USTA Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award recipient. Duncan and Hartsek will be honored along with four other recipients at an awards banquet, before more than 600 community tennis leaders at the annual USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop held on February 10, 2007 at the Atlanta Hilton in Atlanta, Ga. The USTA bestows the Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award upon individuals who perpetuate her selfless mission to bring the game of tennis to anyone who wants to play.

Duncan and Hartsek are two of six honorees this year including: Cassie Goodell of Brownsville, Texas; Emily Schaefer of Houston, Texas; Dee Henry of Norwalk, Calif.; and Peggy Tice of Cedar Park, Texas.

"Eve Kraft was a dedicated community tennis pioneer who was the original architect of how to grow the game at the grassroots level, making tennis accessible for anyone who wants to play," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "It is with great pride that we honor today’s champions who carry on the legacy of Eve with exceptional efforts and success in promoting and developing the growth of tennis."

Duncan’s involvement with the USTA began in 1990 when she brought the USTA Schools Program to her own community of Tuscaloosa, Ala. When she moved to South Carolina, she did not leave tennis behind. In 2001 she founded and organized the Upper Piedmont Tennis Association, a model CTA in South Carolina providing a variety of community tennis programs for youths and adults.

Through the UPTA she reaches out to her community in several different ways, using tennis as the medium. She is the UPTA Executive Director, the Super Senior S.C. State League Coordinator (a program which she developed), and a member of the USTA South Carolina’s Community Development Committee. As a member of Taylor’s-First Baptist Church she introduced tennis programs to the church and its members. She has also created singles leagues for both men and women in her community and surrounding areas.

Duncan was instrumental in securing a State League Championship bid from the Greenville Visitors Bureau for 2006. This was the first time in several years that a championship was played in the upstate area rather than the coast. The championship bid is just one example of how she has help to expand the game of tennis in her area. She is truly a fixture of tennis in her area and has made countless, selfless contributions to serve her community through tennis.

Without Hartsek at the helm, wheelchair tennis in Kentucky would not have the visibility and impact it does today. In a wheelchair himself since the age of 16, David personally knows the benefits of the programs he helps to run.

He has organized and lead the way for the six year-old Bluegrass Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, which draws players from 10-15 states and has been named Outstanding Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in the South. He also serves as the USTA Kentucky Wheelchair Tennis Coordinator, on the USTA Southern Section Wheelchair Tennis Committee, as the Bluegrass Wheelchair Tennis Chairman, as the Fifth Third Championships Wheelchair Exhibition/Camp Coordinator, as a USPTA Wheelchair Certified Instructor and as a member of the USTA National Wheelchair Committee. He was twice named USPTA Kentucky Pro of the Year. Even with a family of four and a full time job, Hartsek still finds the time to be the cornerstone of Kentucky Wheelchair Tennis.

Eve F. Kraft was a tennis pioneer whose ability to touch people’s lives exceeded the boundaries of the tennis court. As teacher, coach, author, USTA staff member and volunteer, Kraft was a lifelong champion of recreational tennis in the United States until her death in 1999. She introduced thousands of young people to the game of tennis, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. A not-for-profit organization with 690,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.




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