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USTA Florida 'Adopts-a-Unit,' Sends Care Package, Tennis Equipment to Overseas U.S. Soldiers

July 14, 2011 01:04 PM
From right: USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth, Adult & Senior League Coordinator Dona Garcia, and Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis sort good for care packages
Curtis keeps the troops laughing
USTA Florida staff and the assembled care packages ready to be boxed and mailed overseas
A large conference room table stacked with hard candy, razors, t-shirts, bandannas, socks, sunscreen, toiletries and more was turned into 25 individually-bagged "care packages" for a U.S. army unit serving in Iraq when the United States Tennis Association-Florida Section (USTA Florida) hosted a "USTA Adopt-a-Unit Packing Party" on July 12, 2011, at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

The event follows a "Packing Party" at the Tallahassee Challenger USTA Pro Circuit event this spring, and other events across Florida as the Florida Section contributes to USTA national's goal of 300 units provided with support from tennis organizations and communities across the U.S.

"I thought it was tremendous how the staff stepped up to the plate with their donations as well as with all the packing. Everything about what we did tonight was fabulous and everyone was willing to help," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis after the event. "We raised $500 from our small staff, which is nothing short of amazing. We absolutely, positively want to encourage other community tennis associations and groups to do something like this because the soldiers over there are fighting for us and protecting our country so we can sleep well at night. It is worth every effort to provide them with what they need."

Part of providing deployed U.S. service members with what they need is also providing recreational and psychological support. The care packages included a letter signed by all USTA Florida staff, letters of support from Champion Elementary School students in Daytona Beach, and following the care packages will be portable tennis equipment to the unit sent from the USTA national office via Wilson Sporting Goods.
The USTA has partnered with Wilson Sporting Goods to design a prepackaged carton of equipment (pop-up nets, racquets, balls and lines) that ships directly from Wilson to the units. The portable tennis equipment can provide our soldiers with a recreational, therapeutic, and social means for reintegrating with family, friends and community upon their return home. The pop-up nets can be set up anywhere, including motor pools, asphalt surfaces and even in the desert-like conditions that many of these troops encounter while deployed.
Naples, Fla., resident and ESPN tennis commentator Mary Carillo is president for USTA Serves, the national charitable arm of the USTA which partnering with First Lady Michelle Obama and government agencies to organize support for troops and their families.
"We are proud and excited to be involved in this important effort to support our soldiers and their families," Carillo said.

For more information on the Adopt-A-Unit Program, please visit www.usta.com/adoptaunit.





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