Helga Williams stood knee-high in rainwater wearing white rubber boots. She shook her head disapprovingly as her husband, Hank, called over his shoulder and asked her to plug the sump pump into an outlet in the maintenance shed.
The husband and wife were desperately trying to remove excess water from the Siesta Key Public Tennis Courts, which became flooded after a heavy rain. Even with a torn rotator cuff and tear in his bicep, Hank Williams was determined to vacuum up the hundreds of gallons of water that had turned the court into a mini swimming pool.
The sixth annual Relay for Life tennis benefit, which benefits the American Cancer Society every year, was scheduled for the following morning, Saturday, March 13.
“People left us messages saying the court’s under water,” said Williams, co-founder of the tennis benefit. “I thought that as long as I’m physically capable, I’d just do it myself. I pumped for three hours.”
The couple’s hard work paid off, and the tournament went on under the sunshine with more than 50 people swinging their rackets on the court and an even larger crowd that bonded over pizza afterward.
First- and second-place tennis prizes were awarded to Chuck Hacker and Wayne Dickson. The benefit raised approximately $3,500, with all proceeds directly benefiting the American Cancer Society.
“It is heartwarming that the people we play tennis with rally together for a good cause and that the local businesses support us by donating goods and services for fabulous prizes,” said Williams. “We truly believe that all our efforts will score a small, but important, part in creating a future without cancer someday.”
Contact Loren Mayo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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