(Originally appeared on VA Medical Center of Northport) Tennis programming for US veterans is underway at the VA Medical Center in Northport thanks to a partnership between private and government resources including help from the USTA Long Island Region, United Way of Long Island and Bethpage Park Tennis Center.
The program is twofold. Several veterans are enjoying free tennis lessons at Bethpage Park Tennis Center, with transportation provided by the Veterans Administration. In addition, a USTA grant will renovate two tennis courts on the campus of the Northport VA Medical Center, next to the Wee Luv 'Em Day Care Center. The grant will provide for resurfacing, lines, new net posts, nets, fence fabric, wind screens, a wheelchair ramp connecting the courts to a walkway, and a wheelchair access gate.
"We are extremely excited about this project because it will put veterans in a place where they not only can play tennis but can interact with other veterans with similar injuries (some physical and some invisible - PTSD, TBI) which will help them get back to a normal life," said Craig Fligstein, Vice President, Grant Development & Strategic Program Initiatives, United Way of Long Island, and a member of the USTA LI Region Executive Board. "Over the course of a few years we will be able to touch hundreds of service members, as well as their families and children, through tennis, helping them with their rehabilitation, both physical and emotional, and their community reintegration efforts."
Higlights of the tennis program will include: becoming a host site for the Wheel Chair Games and the Paralympics and tennis camp for children attending the day care center. See coverage of this project in Long Island Tennis Magazine
Pictured above L to R: Chris Regan (Veteran), Helena Vasquez (Veteran), Patrick Campbell (CTRS, Asst. Chief, Recreation Therapy Service), Hannah Camhi (top Long Island female tennis player), Steve Kaplan (Bethpage Tennis Club, Serve & Return Foundation), Alan Gentry (Veteran), Susan Pisano (MS, CTRS Chief, Recreation Therapy Service), Philip Moschitta (Director), Craig Fligstein (United Way of Long Island), Holly Guercio (CTRS, Health Tech, Recreation Therapy Service), Mike Wall (Veteran), Earnest Salley (Veteran)
On November 7, United Way of Long Island was proud to help officially open the renovated tennis courts at the Northport VA Medical Center, made possible through grants from the USTA, USTA Eastern and USTA Long Island.