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December 15, 2006 12:42 PM

Committee Volunteer of the Year

Marilyn Bollo of Cocoa Beach
“I Ain’t as Good as I Once Was,
But I’m as Good Once as I Ever Was!”

Making a positive difference in people’s lives is something Marilyn Bollo has become quite adept at since she began her volunteer career with USTA Florida in 1994. Over the past 12 years, Marilyn has devoted her time to an array of sectional events and committees, including a six-year stint as a Junior Team Tennis local league coordinator and a 10-year run as a USTA Schools Program coordinator. She also devotes her time to the Junior Recreational Council and the Volunteer Council, where she coordinates the Volunteer of the Month recognition. Marilyn, who won the USTA Florida School Tennis Volunteer of the Year Award in 1999, first became involved with organization when her daughter began playing the game. But she stay involved because she made so many new friends and found the volunteer experience to be quite rewarding. “As a volunteer, I know how important it is to keep volunteers and recruit others,” she said. “Working on the Volunteer of the Month Program and recognizing local volunteers is the best high―and I’m still having fun!”

Tennis Family of the Year

The Gene Gandy Family of Tallahassee
“It’s All Relative”

It has often been said that the family that plays together stays together, which is a motto that certainly applies to the Gandy clan consisting of husband Gene, wife Lori, and son Will. During the first few years Will played tennis, there were extremely few competitive match-play opportunities for local juniors in Tallahassee, which meant families had to travel across the state in order for their children to participate in sanctioned events. To address this issue, Gene and Lori formed a parents’ group that located sponsors and convinced local pros to hold sanctioned events that would provide competitive opportunities like those available to juniors in other parts of the state. Today, this parent group provides organizational, staffing, and other volunteer-driven support for sanctioned junior events in Tallahassee. Thanks to his parents’ efforts, Will has evolved into a standout player who was named captain of his high school tennis team in his freshman year. Currently, Lori serves on the Tallahassee Tennis Association Board of Directors and heads the community and competitive junior subcommittees, while Gene took on the additional task of becoming a USTA official to address a shortage of umpires in the area. The Gandy’s passion for the sport is undeniable, and junior tennis in the Tallahassee area is far richer because of their ardent involvement.

Merit Award (Female)

Sandi Pardon of Miami
“Working Girl”

Fortunately for USTA Florida, Sandi Pardon’s “working girl” mentality has been a huge asset to the organization and the numerous tennis aficionados that reside in Region 8. Whether she’s working as a certified official, serving on the Volunteer Council, acting as sectional grievance chair and president of the local officials association, or serving as recruitment chair for the Officials Council, Sandi can always be counted on to be totally committed to every project she undertakes. Along with her husband, Rick, with whom she shared the Tennis Family of the Year Award in 2000, Sandi has played a key role in growing the game in her community. Her willingness to help whenever asked has earned her both affection and accolades, including this year’s USTA Florida Official of the Year Award. Fittingly, her philanthropic philosophy revolves around a truly heartfelt belief. “My attitude,” she explained, “is to never ask someone to do something that you yourself would not do willingly.”


Merit Award (Male)

Bob Pfaender of St. Cloud
“Never Give Up”

From his days as a Florida junior player in the 1960s to his current status as a volunteer extraordinaire, Bob Pfaender has been making an indelible impact in the game for more than 40 years. For the past two decades, Bob has channeled his tennis passion into promoting USTA Florida programs to tennis directors, tennis professionals, club managers, players―and just about anyone else who will listen. In addition to chairing the Marketing Task Force and being a member of the Recreational Tennis Council, Bob has helped steer the organization toward a more streamlined and aggressive direct-marketing approach in regard to informing the public about what USTA Florida is and what it does. He also assisted in the development of a DVD library that showcases the organization’s major calendar-year events. The project, which consists of 11 DVDs ranging from tennis events and volunteer appreciation days to volunteer workshops and schools program trainings, has served as an excellent sales tool to help educate and train individuals to implement USTA programs in their communities. Based on the successes Bob has fostered throughout his USTA Florida volunteer career, it’s clear his “never give up” philosophy is an enormously successful one.

Hall of Fame Inductee

Nancy Morgan of Clearwater
“Wind Beneath My Wings”

When Nancy Morgan’s husband, David, submitted a nomination regarding his wife’s possible induction into the USTA Florida Hall of Fame, he selected a truly poignant song to encapsulate her many admirable qualities. “Wind Beneath My Wings,” popularized by Bette Midler, alludes to the power and impact of human qualities such as loyalty, devotion, and leadership by example on us by those with skilled hands we entrust with our individual and collective welfare,” he explained. “It is quite likely that this is exactly the effect Nancy has had on those around her in the Florida section and its span of influence during her years of service to it specifically and tennis in general in many capacities.” Since 1983, Nancy has been a continuously steadfast volunteer who has served USTA Florida in a variety of ways. Her contributions to the organization, which would fill most of the USTA Florida 2007 Yearbook if space allowed, include stints as schools coordinator, clinician, district director, council chair, secretary, vice president, president elect, and president. Although she has won previous USTA Florida accolades, including the Jim Martz Media Award in 1997 and the much-deserved Merit Award in 1993, it is her induction into the prestigious Hall of Fame that truly acknowledges the far-reaching impact Nancy has had in her role as a dedicated and devoted sectional volunteer.

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