Ocean Pines Platform Tennis holds fundraiser for veterans

Coastal Hospice volunteer Army Gen. Robert Harleston makes a “We Honor Veterans” presentation to patient Charles Williams.

Coastal Hospice volunteer Army Gen. Robert Harleston makes a “We Honor Veterans” presentation to patient Charles Williams.

Tournament participants and volunteers gather at the platform tennis courts in Ocean Pines.

Ocean Pines Platform Tennis raised $4,105 for Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care’s “We Honor Veterans” program at its second annual fundraising tournament on Sept. 28 at the community’s racquet sports complex.

“We were delighted that Ocean Pines platform tennis selected us for their fundraising event,” said Tracey Horan, RN, BSN, MPA, and vice president of clinical services for Coastal Hospice.

Among its services, Coastal Hospice provides special care to vets who are facing life-limiting illnesses, and often addresses specific needs related to a veteran’s military service and experiences, Horan said.

Horan explained that every veteran, as a part of the “We Honor Veterans” program, is recognized with a ceremony that includes the presentation of a certificate of appreciation for his or her service, a patriotic blanket and a military salute. Each service is performed by a dedicated volunteer, who is also a veteran.

With a history of championing causes that honor and support veterans, Ocean Pines Platform Tennis has recently undertaken several efforts that benefit servicemen and women.

Last year, the group hosted a tournament for the Catch A Lift Fund, which has helped thousands of post-9/11 combat-wounded veterans regain their mental and physical health.

In 2018, the group dedicated its two newest courts to veterans and created a nearby area with an engraved bench dedicated to veterans surrounded by flags representing the military’s five service branches.

Platform tennis member Michael Petito, who chaired this year’s tournament with fellow member Sue Walter, said “Being able to help our veterans will always have that special little place in my heart.”

Walter agreed. “When Michael Petito and I were contemplating holding another platform tennis tournament, we both came to the table with ideas,” she said. “We already had decided on giving to a local veteran’s group.

I had personal experience with hospice care for my mother and my father, who was a veteran. The fact that Coastal Hospice was preparing to open their residence in Ocean Pines was another factor that we both embraced,” Walter added.

This year’s day-long tournament saw 66 players from five different states compete. The volleys, screen shots, drives, serves, and returns of some of the most competitive matches drew crowds of spectators to the courts.

First-place winners of the men’s main draw were Brian Phoebus and Reed Hagman from Baltimore. Doug Raihall and Evan Niemkiewicz from the West Chester, Philadelphia area took second place. 

First-place winners of the women’s main draw were mother-and-daughter team Kylie Kochis and Karin Kochis from Exton, Pennsylvania. Gayle Connelly and Kim Kochis, both also from Exton, took second place. 

Petito acknowledged that the tournament was the result of a lot of time and effort of many caring people.

“The rewarding part for me was that the hard work that was done by our committee and volunteers was successful, and seeing all the happy faces,” he said.

Walter said, “We could not have accomplished this without the support of Chick-fil-A in West Ocean City, Dunes Manor Hotel, Holiday Inn on 17th Street, the Grand Hotel, the members of Ocean Pines Platform Tennis, and the many players from Baltimore and the Philadelphia area. We thank them and the many others who donated to this cause.”

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