LEE, MA RESIDENT SELECTED FOR HIGHEST USTA NEW ENGLAND HONOR
May 12, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: James Maimonis
Communications and Engagement Coordinator
508-366-3450 ext. 112
USTA NEW ENGLAND TO PRESENT BUNNIE LAHEY WITH GARDNER WARD CHASE MEMORIAL AWARD
LEE, MA- USTA (United States Tennis Association) New England is proud to announce it has selected Lee, MA resident Clare “Bunnie” Lahey as its 2016 Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award winner. Lahey, will be recognized at the 2017 New England Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on June 10 in Newport, RI alongside the Class of 2017.
The Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award is the highest honor an individual can receive from USTA New England and is given to an individual who has made outstanding lifetime contributions to tennis in New England.
Lahey has been an advocate for equality in tennis and growing the game at a grassroots level her entire life. ADVERTISEMENT From her early days in Virginia fighting for women’s rights to use the same courts as men to her no-cut high school team she coached for 10 years, Lahey has always been at the forefront of new and innovative programming to elevate the game.
“Our award winners exemplify the very best of tennis in New England,” said Scott Steinberg, President and CEO, USTA New England. “Bunnie has made such an enormous impact on tennis not just in Berkshire County, but everywhere she’s lived, and she’s truly deserving of our lifetime achievement award.”
In 1985, Lahey founded the Lee CTA, an organization that serves more than 100 kids and 200 adults each year throughout Berkshire County. She serves as the Executive Director of the CTA and NJTL chapter that provide children the opportunity they might not otherwise have had to enhance both their tennis and education.
She has served on either USTA New England or USTA Western Massachusetts (WMA) Boards since 1991 and was elected the second ever WMA president, holding the position for four years.
Two of the lifetime achievements Lahey considers her most memorable are: working with the USTA and raising a total of $87,000 for improvements to the six Lee High School courts, and participating in USTA National initiatives to develop a guide for forming CTAs and training volunteers. She also helped develop an interactive training program to further cultural diversity within tennis communities.
“As I read the description of the award, I cannot believe that I'm receiving this. I’ve always believed in tennis and getting so many kids and families involved because it’s a really great and healthy lifetime sport,” Lahey said. “I’m not out there with some career like a rocket scientist or a teacher, I’m not anything except a recreational tennis director, so this award is confirmation and makes me feel even better about being so involved in tennis for so long.”
In 1992, Lahey received one of her most meaningful awards to date, the National Eve Kraft Community Service Award. Kraft, the visionary who fought to spread tennis to communities in the 1950s and not just in clubs and on college campuses, served as Lahey’s mentor for community development.
Lahey was also honored with a 25 Year Service Award at USTA New England’s 2015 Awards Ceremony.
“At first you look back and think, am I supposed to be retired to win this lifetime achievement award? And then I thought, no, maybe I just have some experience that can help for the future, and I’m honored to be recognized for that.”
About USTA New England
USTA New England, one of 17 regional sections across the country that comprise the United States Tennis Association (USTA), is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting and developing the growth of tennis and increasing participation in the sport in New England by offering quality recreational and competitive programs for people of all ages and abilities. For more information, visit www.usta.com