The USTA has announced that the San Diego District Tennis Association’s Wounded Warrior Tennis Program has been awarded the 2015 USTA National Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award. The organization was honored during the annual USTA Tennis Development Workshop (TDW) held Nov. 5-7 at the Sheraton San Diego. The USTA annually bestows this recognition upon a program or program leader that has demonstrated continued excellence, dedication and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community.
The San Diego District Tennis Association is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and developing the growth of tennis across all demographics. Its Military Outreach Committee oversees several programs for active duty military personnel, veterans, and their families, including the Wounded Warrior Tennis Program. The Wounded Warrior Tennis Program uses tennis as a means of rehabilitation for service members and veterans who have become wounded, ill, or injured. It is aligned with Naval Medical Center San Diego’s Wounded, Ill, and Injured Wellness Program, which is, “designed to meet the physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs of injured troops.” Participants in the program range in age from 20 to 91 and hail from all across the country.
“What the Wounded Warrior Tennis Program in San Diego has done for these veterans is inspiring,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “We are so proud of this group for giving these heroes a meaningful tennis experience and are honored to acknowledge their efforts with this award.”
The Wounded Warrior Tennis Program is run in collaboration with two principal partners—Naval Medical Center San Diego (one of the largest military medical centers in the country), and the Balboa Tennis Club (the largest public tennis facility in San Diego). The program is run by an experienced team of certified tennis professionals, certified therapeutic recreation specialists, military veterans, adaptive sports experts, and dozens of dedicated supporters from the San Diego tennis and business communities and includes free weekly tennis clinics and annual national tennis camps. Participation in activities provides the tools needed to reintegrate participants back into the community, enhance their quality of life, and promote living a fit and healthy lifestyle.
“I have watched the program grow from its earliest days serving a handful of patients from Naval Medical Center San Diego to a first-class operation that has served more than 600 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from every USTA section,” said Bill Kellogg, president of the Southern California Tennis Association, who nominated the group for the award. “It was the first program of its kind when it began in 2009, and has become the USTA’s model for similar adaptive tennis programs at other military medical centers and Warrior Transition Units across the country.”
The USTA Adaptive Tennis National Community Service Award was established in 2003. To qualify for a program award, the program must have been in existence for a minimum of three consecutive years and be either a registered USTA Adaptive Tennis program or have a USTA Adaptive Tennis affiliation. To qualify for an individual award, the recipient must have worked with an Adaptive Tennis program for a minimum of three consecutive years.