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Posts Tagged ‘Tennis Thanks the Troops’

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THANKSUSA MARKS $9 MILLION MILESTONE

More than 3,000 children and spouses of U.S. troops awarded the gift of education

Mclean, VA – August 29, 2013 – ThanksUSA today announced that it has awarded more than $9 million to date in post-secondary school scholarships for the children and spouses of U.S. troops. This milestone includes approximately 300 new scholarships awarded over the past week, totaling nearly $1 million in funds.

Since its founding in 2005 by sisters Rachel and Kelsi Okun, ThanksUSA has awarded over 3,000 scholarships to military families in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“We were just girls – I was 10 and Kelsi was eight – when we started looking for a way to thank our troops for all they sacrifice in keeping us safe,” said Rachel Okun, now 17. “Over the past eight years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who feel the same and who want to help support military families through ThanksUSA.”

“We understood the importance of a good education and wanted to share our blessings with the families of our service men and women,” added Kelsi Okun, now 14. “The gift of education is the perfect way to do so.”

The Okun sisters travel the country speaking with ThanksUSA scholarship recipients in order to introduce them to Americans through video profiles and speeches. ThanksUSA’s new videos will be released at the organization’s annual gala at Washington DC’s Newseum on September 25, 2013, hosted by Lara Logan of CBS News. Tom Brokaw will be honored at the gala as will Col. Lanier Ward, survivor of a critical battle in Iraq and inspiration for ThanksUSA. Senator Roy Blunt, who represents 74 Missouri scholarship recipients, will also be honored. Senator Blunt took a personal interest in ThanksUSA as a House Member discussing the program with the troops in Iraq during the formative years of the program.

Among this year’s award recipients is Donnice Roberts, proud widow of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Casey Roberts. Donnice is pursuing dual degrees in Education and Rehabilitation Services with the end goal of working within the military community.

“I am truly grateful to ThanksUSA for this generous scholarship. I want to honor my husband’s legacy by using my education to help fellow military families. My children are learning that even through tragedy, we can overcome and succeed. With your support, I will make a difference and I will succeed.”

ThanksUSA also announced today a continuing partnership with the world-record holding doubles tennis twins Bob and Mike Bryan. The organization has established a nationwide Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign – a partnership with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) involving tennis pros, fans and local communities, and presents an online challenge called the “ ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt,” sponsored since 2008 by the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, which explore the nation’s history, culture and values.

As the battle in Iraq ends and the conflict in Afghanistan winds down, ThanksUSA plans to step up efforts to support the families of military personnel who are re-integrating into the workplace. Helping service members’ children and spouses advance their education and achieve successful careers will relieve the new pressures that challenge those who have returned home.

“Our troops and their families deserve our respect and our thanks for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 12 years,” said General George Casey, former Army Chief of Staff and ThanksUSA board member. “They have borne significant burdens to protect this country, and we cannot allow their contributions to be quickly forgotten. Their mission of defending us is, unfortunately, not over.”

About ThanksUSA
ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States armed forces. The organization provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships for the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel. For more information, visit www.thanksusa.org.
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2013 TTTT Flyer-Update 6.3.13

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USPTA

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2013

A Win for Military Families as ThanksUSA and U.S. Professional Tennis Association Partner to Provide Scholarships

Champions Lisa Raymond and Bob and Mike Bryan Join the Team

McLean, VA, 17 May 2013 – ThanksUSA and the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) are gearing up for their second annual Tennis Thanks the Troops fundraising campaign to support scholarships for the children and spouses of U.S. service men and women. With May recognized nationally as Military Appreciation Month, the two organizations will be recruiting the country’s USPTA Professionals, clubs, players and tennis fans in organizing tournaments and other special events to raise funds throughout Memorial Day weekend.

Tennis stars Lisa Raymond and Mike and Bob Bryan have returned for a second year to support the effort by participating in public service announcements promoting Tennis Thanks the Troops.

“Global combat operations are ending but the mission of our troops – to protect our nation and our freedoms – persists. As does our responsibility to continue supporting them,”said Bob Okun, chairman and CEO of ThanksUSA. “We are proud to thank our armed forces and their families for their daily sacrifices through the gift of education.”

ThanksUSA provides need-based, post-secondary scholarships to the children and spouses of active-duty personnel across all the Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves, as well as families of the fallen and wounded.

“Clubs with USPTA pros are developing creative events that will help ThanksUSA award 500 scholarships worth $1.5 million this year, helping make U.S. military families the real winners,” said Michele Stork, executive director of ThanksUSA.

Throughout Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, participating USPTA Professionals at various facilities will collect a minimum voluntary donation of $5 from tennis players, professionals, members, guests and fans to support ThanksUSA. Facilities will have flexibility on their donation-collection options, including choosing among tournaments/contests, lessons and silent auctions, and can also hold fundraising events on other weekends throughout the year.

“There’s certainly a lot of attention on supporting those initiatives that help our troops of late and rightfully so,” said USPTA CEO John Embree. “As an association, we intend to do our part using pros who are community-minded and want to show their dedication to the military by making a valuable contribution to those efforts.”

Leading the charge are the San Diego District Tennis Association through its annual Tennis Fest and the Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Ga., with a Tennis Thanks the Troops Memorial Day Mixer. All participating facilities will be competing to raise the most money for the campaign, with the winner able to send their pro and one guest to the US Open in New York on Aug. 30.

For more information on the Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign, visit the Tennis Thanks the Troops webpage. Join the team and show your gratitude to our military men and women and their families!

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About the USPTA: Founded in 1927, USPTA strives to raise the standards of the tennis profession while promoting greater awareness of the sport. USPTA offers nearly 70 professional benefits to its more than 15,000 members worldwide, including certification and professional development. With more than 300 days of educational opportunities throughout the year, USPTA offers the most comprehensive continuing education program in the tennis industry. For more information, call 800-877-8248 or visit www.uspta.com.

About ThanksUSA: ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States armed forces. The organization provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships for the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel. For more information, visit www.thanksusa.org.

CONTACT:
Poornima Rimm, Director of Public Relations
USPTA
713-978-7782, ext. 125
Poornima.Rimm@USPTA.org

Michele Stork, Executive Director
ThanksUSA
703-855-4108
MicheleStork@ThanksUSA.org

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San Diego Tennis Fest

To help ThanksUSA and the USPTA kick off “Tennis Thanks the Troops,” the San Diego District Tennis Association (SDDTA) will hold it’s annual Tennis Fest on Sunday, May 5th.

Holly & SGT Lam Le, USMC

Holly & SGT Lam Le, USMC

In 2012, USPTA clubs around the country hosted events and collected donations for ThanksUSA scholarships during Tennis Thanks the Troops. Since SDDTA raised the most ($3,350), they were awarded two tickets to the U.S. Open. Always supportive of our military heroes, SDDTA presented the tickets to Wounded Warrior U.S. Marine Corps SGT Lam Le and his wife, Holly.

If you’re in the San Diego area, you can help SDDTA compete for those 2013 U.S. Open tickets! The first 800 pre-registered participants will receive a 2013 Tennis Fest T-shirt and a welcome bag, so register today at www.sandiegotennis.com and help SDDTA win those Tennis Thanks the Troops U.S. Open tickets! Click the flyer below for more info:

2013 Tennis Fest Flyer

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ThanksUSA Scholarship Application Season Opens for 2013: Hundreds to be Awarded 

Children and spouses of U.S. troops are invited to apply for ThanksUSA scholarships beginning April 1, 2013.  The organization’s eighth annual application season helps military families pursue a university, college or post-secondary vocational education.

“These scholarships reflect Americans’ gratitude for the commitment and sacrifices of our military men and women and their families,” said ThanksUSA CEO and Chairman Bob Okun.  “The gift of education is our way of saying thanks for their service.”

ThanksUSA provides need-based scholarships to the children and spouses of active-duty personnel across all the Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves, as well as families of the fallen and wounded.  Applications will be accepted through May 15, 2013 online at www.ThanksUSA.org.

ThanksUSA has awarded 2,800 scholarships so far and expects to exceed 3,000 scholarships by the end of 2013.

“In past years, we’ve received thousands of requests during the six-week application period –  a clear indication of the support our military families need,” said ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork.  “We expect an equally strong response in 2013. Our aim is to benefit 500 new recipients who most need and deserve the opportunity to transform their lives, but lack the resources to do so.”

The 500 ThanksUSA scholarships are valued at $1.5 million in total and are made possible by continuing campaigns and events.

  • Tennis Thanks the Troops – The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is championing this campaign for a second year, calling on its members, pros and tennis enthusiasts to participate in tournaments, raffles and other activities to benefit ThanksUSA starting Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year.
  • Stevens Commemorative Scholarships – 2013 marks the third year of scholarships in honor of the late Senator Ted Stevens.  An additional 40 scholarships are expected to be announced at a special event honoring the late Senator and other Congressional World War II veterans.
  • Kaplan University Support – Also entering its third year as a ThanksUSA partner is Washington-based Kaplan University. Kaplan University provides a full scholarship to attend the school as well as a number of partial scholarships to cover 55 percent of tuition costs.  “Kaplan University is once again pleased to participate with ThanksUSA and to offer scholarship opportunities to our military families,” said Scott Kilgore, senior vice president of military affairs, Kaplan University.
  • Jackson Casey Scholarship Fund –In partnership with ThanksUSA, the Fund, whose mission is to keep the memory and spirit of Jackson Casey alive throughout the community, was created to provide need-based scholarships to the children of active-duty military from Virginia with an emphasis on Northern Virginia. Through donations and the annual Jackson Casey Memorial Golf Tournament, the Fund raised more than $200,000 in 2012. For the 2012-2013 school year, 15 scholarships totaling $45,000 were awarded in Jackson Casey’s name.

Support for ThanksUSA’s education goals also comes from donors including Altria, Apex, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, ESA Foundation, Folds of Honor Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Intelligent Decisions, Lockheed Martin, No Greater Sacrifice Foundation, Paladin Capital Group, Pershing Square Foundation and others.

ThanksUSA was the idea of two Virginia sisters, Rachel and Kelsi Okun, who were compelled to thank our troops for defending our nation and its freedoms.  Since 2006, the 501(c)(3) non-profit has provided nearly $8.5 million in academic scholarship assistance to US military families throughout all 50 states, and all branches of service, with particular attention given to those whose loved one was killed or wounded in action.

For more information, eligibility requirements and to apply, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

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About ThanksUSA

Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information, please visit http://www.ThanksUSA.org.

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Our sincerest thanks to the Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Georgia, for raising their racquets in support of Tennis Thanks the Troops! The club hosted a tennis mixer/round robin and silent auction raising $2,500 for ThanksUSA scholarships! We encourage all USPTA pros to register their club as an official Tennis Thanks the Troops host facility. If you’re an avid player or fan, be sure to tell your club’s pro or director about Tennis Thanks the Troops today. The club raising the most money for Tennis Thanks the Troops will be able to send their pro and one guest to New York for the US Open, on August 30, 2013.

The Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA) Net News magazine featured the Berkeley Hills event in their September/October 2012 edition:

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Thank the Troops by Giving the Gift of Education

As part of Tennis Thanks the Troops, the United States Professional Tennis Association and ThanksUSA have teamed up to encourage USPTA professionals to fund scholarships for the families of military men and women.

Holly & Lam Le

During Tennis Thanks the Troops, Veterans Day, November 11, the tennis community nationwide is asked to donate a minimum of $5 to the ThanksUSA organization, which provides need-based post-secondary scholarships for college, technical and vocational school, to the children and spouses of active-duty military men and women. Since its inception in 2006, ThanksUSA has awarded 2,800 scholarships totaling nearly $8.5 million.

Many USTA clubs have already hosted tournaments in support of Tennis Thanks the Troops. Earlier this year, the San Diego District Tennis Association, a member of USTA Southern California, made Tennis Thanks the Troops a part of their Annual Tennis Fest. As a reward for raising the most funds for ThanksUSA during the first half of the year, SDDTA received two tickets to the 2012 U.S. Open. Dedicated to our military heroes, SDDTA passed the tickets on to Wounded Warrior, SGT Lam Le, USMC, and spouse, Holly.

Raise your racquets in support of our troops and their families by providing the gift of education. Register your club today!

SDDTA recently presented Marine Corps spouse, Kara Andryushina, with the $3,000 San Diego District Tennis Association/ThanksUSA Scholarship. Pictured above are M.A. Hillier, SDDTA Board Member, Steve Kappes, SDDTA President, Geoff Griffin, SDDTA Board Member and Tennis Director at Balboa Tennis Club, Colonel Aleksandr Andryushina, USMC, Kara’s mother Barbara, Kara, Kara’s step-father Richard, and Aleksandr & Kara’s daughter Madison

Kara is currently completing her Respiratory Therapy studies at Grossmont College. When she graduates next May, this dedicated wife and mother plans to pursue a career as a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist at a VA hospital.

Kara’s educational journey has not been easy. In 2010, while completing pre-requisites for the respiratory therapy program, she received notice that her husband, Corporal Aleksandr Andryushina, had been injured while serving in Afghanistan.

Aleksandr had been medically evacuated to Germany for evaluation. Not only did a CT scan confirm a brain injury, the scan also revealed a brain tumor. Kara put her studies on hold to be with her husband. The young family, including daughter Madison, spent the next year focusing on Aleksandr’s health.

Currently, Aleksandr is assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion West as he continues with his recovery. Kara resumed her respiratory therapy studies and is looking forward to graduating with honors. Even young Madison has an update…she will soon be a big sister.

“I cannot express how grateful my family and I are to have this gift of education. My husband has been a great example of what tenacity means and what it takes to remain positive in the face of adversity. You have given us more than just a monetary gift, you have given us peace of mind in a time of uncertainty.”
– Kara Andryushina

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