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Florida Volunteers Recognized at USTA Annual Meeting

April 15, 2008 09:38 AM

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The United States Tennis Association's Annual Meeting and Conference was held April 11-15 in Naples, Fla., and several USTA programs and individuals were recognized for their dedication to growing the game at an awards banquet.

Congratulations to the Cleveland Family of Delray Beach, who were recognized with The Ralph W. Westcott USTA Family of the Year Award. The USTA recognizes outstanding service to tennis by a family who in recent years has done the most to participate as players or volunteers.  They received an individually engraved replica silver tray in their honor and their name will be added to the original tray that is located at the USTA National Office in White Plains, New York and at the US Open Gallery during the tournament.

The Ralph W. Westcott USTA Family of the Year Award was created in 1965 by the USTA in honor of the late Ralph W. Westcott to emphasize the theme that “Tennis Is a Family Game.” The award is given annually to the family who in recent years has done the most to promote amateur tennis, primarily on a volunteer basis. All members of the family should participate in some way, either as players or by offering their services in running programs or tournaments or in junior development activities.

The Cleveland family lives by the saying, “The family that plays together stay together” and as a result has been making a mark in the tennis community for more than two decades. Father Don has been a long-time USTA Florida supporter, serving as president of the section and volunteering his time to numerous USTA national and sectional committees. His wife Becky has been just as industrious, working as the tennis coach for the St. Joseph’s School boys’ and girls’ tennis teams for the past 24 years and serving as coordinator of the Gold Coast Tennis League for private schools in Palm Beach County for two decades. And then there are their children, Casey and Crystal, who became standout junior players in the late 1980s and early 1990s before graduating to further tennis success in the college ranks and beyond. The Cleveland family was also recognized on a section level, when they were named the Florida section "Family of the Year" in 1993 and 2007. 

When not on the courts, the Cleveland family is busy giving back to the community. Don was honored with the prestigious volunteer honor when he was given the USTA Florida Merit Award in 2002.  Becky has been a volunteer tennis coach at St. Joseph’s School Boys & Girls Tennis since 1983. Casey and his sister Crystal have been volunteering for various organizations throughout the community, from driving food to shut-ins to coaching children in after-school clinics and programs.

Other USTA Florida volunteers that were recognized at the USTA Annual Meeting for their years of national service to the Association included Nancy Morgan (15 years), Paddi Valentine (20 years) and Donna Fales (45 years).  Each received a USTA Volunteer Service Award as appreciation for their outstanding volunteer efforts.  Both Donna and Nancy are USTA Florida Hall of Fame Members and Paddi, along with Nancy, are USTA Florida Female Merit Award Winners.

In addition to the USTA Awards Ceremony, USTA Florida walked away with first prize in the USTA Section Team Tennis Competition, otherwise known as the "Section Shootout".  USTA Florida defeated USTA Intermountain in the finals to claim victory.

Thank you for all your efforts, and congratulations on well-deserved recognition by the USTA!

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