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Making a Difference in Hernando County

May 18, 2005 08:01 AM
Louise and John Downey, otherwise known as “Big John” and “Miss Louise,” are the USA Tennis Florida County Representatives for Hernando County.  They also serve as Area League Commissioners for USA Team Tennis Youth in Hernando County as well as the Boy’s and Girl’s Tennis Coaches for Nature Coast Technical High School.  They are co-owners of a full-service tennis business, Ace Performance Tennis.  They have formed the first USTA recognized CTA in Hernando County and are working with the City of Brooksville to form the first NJTL Chapter in the county also.

With that introduction, is it any wonder that they have been chosen as the USA Tennis Florida Volunteers of the Month for May?

Some other activities include enlisting over 25 active USTA volunteers from Hernando County, developing a high school mentoring program every Friday for their rallyball children, hosting 2 family barbeques/tennis events that were open to the public with 70 to 85 participants, starting an adult USTA social tennis league on Friday nights at a local park, and creating student scholarships for disadvantaged children which has resulted in improved grades and higher self-esteem.

In addition, Louise is a certified USPTA professional and USRSA racquet stringer and teaches high school algebra.  John’s hobbies include model rocketry and auto racing.

When Donn Davis, USA Tennis Florida Board Member, heard that they had been named Volunteers of the Month for May, his comment to the Downeys was, “I recall sitting in on the Region 3 meeting and being impressed by all the wonderful things you guys are doing for tennis in Hernando County.  I was thinking that the difference between what you are doing and being successful with what other may be doing with less success is your Passion for your mission.  You just won’t be deterred.  We can all learn from your example…it is a great one!”

Linda Curtis, Coordinator for Community Outreach and CTA Development, adds about the Downeys, “I have had a great opportunity in the last few months to work with them while they were forming their CTA, and they are absolutely wonderful and completely dedicated to growing tennis in Hernando County!”

Nancy Morgan, USA Tennis Florida Regional Director for Region 3, also describes them as “passionate, determined and dedicated to growing tennis in Hernando.”

As Jeff Davis, Community Coordinator for Region 3, says, “We are confident with these dedicated and capable volunteers, that we are going to see amazing developments in tennis in Hernando County for years to come.”

When asked why they like to volunteer in tennis, they answered, plain and simply, “to make a difference!”  Thank you, John and Louise!  Congratulations on being May’s Volunteers of the Month.  You are making a difference.






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