Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Tennis raises money to feed children

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Mark and Virgie Hunter were present at the tournament, but wanted to give Jay Daehler the credit for setting up this tournament in honor of his friend and the Hunter’s son Steven, who passed away too soon. PORTSMOUTH — Lady Saturday, the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund held their annual Tennis Tournament with some beautiful weather to accommodate the players for the day. This year was their 15th year of the tournament. All profits will go to the Steven A. Hunter Power Pack program that helps feed hungry kids all over our area.

Jay Daehler said, “We’re only in this a couple of weeks, Mark and Virgie do it year-round.“The tournament went off very well, we made over $31,000.” They had four different flights with a winner and a runner-up.

Mark Hunter said that both Jay and his dad Jim were the co-chairmen, but that Jay was basically at the helm of it and that they had originally thought up this tournament at the onset because they both were so close to Steven. Hunter said the Daehler’s are the tennis players and they could not have done this tournament without them. He said that even though the Hunter’s do a lot of the fundraising, this year Jay had been working that side also.

Hunter said the tournament is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

The monies that come in, come from sponsors and they do get some donations. The sponsors Hunter said he knows are not doing it for the advertising, that they are doing it for the kids. Daehler says about the tournament, “It’s awesome, I look forward to doing it every year, I’ve played in it and did this year, but mainly just running it. It is just an awesome tournament, it was an awesome day. You can just tell from the people that are there, there is such positivity, happiness and joy. The legacy in Steven’s name and that legacy helping the kids out and my friendship with Steven means so much more.”

Hunter spoke about how this tournament was a reflection of the friendship of the boys (Jay and Steven), the Hunters and Daehlers. Hunter said that the tournament is here to stay and there are people who didn’t play this year, who are planning on doing so next year and they would love to see more people come out to play. Daehler added that he plans on putting on this tournament for as long as he is here and he plans on making a way to ramp it up to get more people involved in the tournament.

Both Hunter and Daehler say that they would like people to know that this is just a fun tournament and even if you haven’t played for years, just come out and play to have fun for a good cause. They said to remember it is every year on the first weekend after Labor Day and they would love to see you there.

That money was used to purchase almost 82,000 power packs and provided over 328,000 meals. Hunter says, “It is a big deal and we are just so blessed by a community that has rallied behind us and recognized a real problem. Virgie was the one behind feeding these children all those years ago. God has just blessed us and we are able to help so many children, we are just very grateful to everyone who have been so supportive.”

Hunter then spoke about a couple of important numbers that are pretty amazing. He said that technically they were unable to have the tournament last year, because of COVID, but even then they sent letters out explaining they would not have the tournament and asked them if they were in a position to give, to help but if they were not they did not question that due to the circumstances. They received donations of over $15,000 last year and how amazing that that was. Hunter said that the total from 2007 through this year’s tournament is approximately $245,660.99.

Visit the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund on Facebook for more information and learn how you can contribute.

One of the competitors at the Hunter Tennis Tournament

Another competitior at the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund tournament.

Left to right: Mark and Virgie Hunter with Jay Daehler and Jim Daehler at the 2021 Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Tennis Tournament.

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

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