The Tellico Village Pickleball Club hosted a member tournament Sept. 29-Oct. 2 to benefit the Tellico Village VFW Post 12135.
A few days later, on Oct. 5, Our PLACE recognized the club for its contributions to the centre from a previous charitable tournament. Giving back has become an important part of the club’s mission, with plans to partner with Our PLACE on further fundraiser tournaments already in the works.
“I believe that that is important and I think it’s important for members to contribute to the community we live in,” Gordon Young, TVPBC president, said. “I think we get more out of it than what we give, because it just feels good to do the right thing. … We, as a club, get a positive feel out of doing something that helps somebody else, and it’s amazing the camaraderie and socialization that goes on.”
The VFW tournament, though three-days long, was hosted across four after weather delayed the final day. Roughly 100 TVPBC members took part in the competition, which included three age brackets and the option to play singles, doubles or mixed doubles within each.
At the end of the final day, participants and VFW members joined together for a small celebration at the Historic Loudon Theatre, with a performance from the local band “Second Wind.”
“It was busy, and truthfully it was a nice tournament,” Young said.
Young said the partnership between the club and the VFW came about in part through Jim and Linda Seidel, the tournament’s honorary chairpeople. Jim, a veteran, was instrumental in reviving the local VFW according to Young and is also a pickleball member. Knowing that 10% of the Village are veterans, Young said it made sense for a club as large and popular as his own to do something to benefit that demographic.
“Our local VFW does a great job of finding veterans with needs and doing things like helping with house payments, getting them medical care, if they are struggling getting them to somewhere,” he said. “They just do a wonderful job, so it was a good event.”
The final amount raised was yet to be determined by The Connection presstime, but Young said the event had performed as anticipated.
A few months previously, TVPBC hosted a larger open tournament, also with the goal of helping a local non-profit. The “We Care” tournament took place in late April and raised just shy of $20,000 for Our PLACE, a newly-opened Adult Day Center in the Village for patients suffering with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. On Oct. 5, that contribution was recognized in a small ceremony at the centre, where a TVPBC plaque was added to the legacy garden alongside the organization’s other corporate donors.
“It was recognizing the Tellico Village Pickleball Club for their contribution to Our PLACE, both present and future,” Jim Dezzutti, Our PLACE chairman, said. “They’re a great group of people to work with. They’ve got great hearts and a giving spirit, and that makes it fun to be with them.”
“It was unexpected, but it was very nice of him to do so,” Young said. “And we’re pleased, because Alzheimer’s is a very nasty disease and their efforts help save families and certainly in difficult situations help make things better for those in need.”
Dezzutti and Young added that they hope to make the “We Care” tournament an annual occurrence, with the second edition already in the planning for the first weekend of May. With the PicklePlex set to be open by then, both expressed the wish to make it an even larger tournament than the first.