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Double-faults and unforced errors won’t be anything to worry about during the second week of November, because all shots – good and bad – will be part of helping a great cause.
For the fifth straight year, the Haines City Parks & Recreation Department will host “Tennis Thanks the Troops”. The two-day event helps raise funds to provide scholarships to military dependents. This year’s co-title sponsors are Oak Ridge Funeral Care and Killswitch Cyber.
“To be able to host this event every year and help out military families is one of the most rewarding parts of this job,” said Jeff McCardle, Haines City’s USPTA certified Tennis Professional. “Giving back to families of men and women who put themselves in harm’s way for our freedom is the least we could do.”
Tennis Thanks the Troops is an affiliate program of the nonprofit, ThanksUSA.org. ThanksUSA provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships and pathways to meaningful employment for children and spouses of U.S. military personnel.
According to its website, the nonprofit has awarded more than 5,000 scholarships totaling nearly $16.5 million since 2006. In 2019, more than $7,500 was raised by Haines City, making it the top fundraising event in the nation, and the five-year total will top $25,000.
This year’s event will be held on Nov. 12 and 13. The coed doubles “Junior Event” held on Friday, Nov. 12 will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The cost is $10 per entry. It will feature three different age divisions:
On Saturday, Nov. 13, after the 8 a.m. opening ceremony, the tournament will consist of men’s and women’s doubles from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and mixed doubles from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $40 per team. There are three different divisions:
To enter, contact the Haines City Tennis Pro Shop at 863-419-3347 or text McCardle at 863-651-7408. Entry deadline is Nov. 9.
“When it comes to supporting military families, the pleasure really is all ours,” said Terrell Griffin, Parks & Recreation Director. “We’re fortunate to have these great facilities and when you combine that with Jeff’s passion, that’s really what makes this such a wonderful annual event.”