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It takes a village -- Thank you, Volunteers!

Here is an excerpt from the remarks Tracy had prepared to deliver at this year's banquet.

As the season comes to a close, wanted to provide a special thanks to the following people:

Christine Mehrtash who stepped up to do virtually anything I needed over the past year. And ran concessions like a champ! Diane Benavento, although I was bummed not to have your swim expertise on deck (she’s S&T certified), thank you also for all your help with concessions. This efforts is hugely important to fund our operations. And Christine was ‘on it’ from day 1. Although our concessions crew may have fluxuated a bit over the season, special shout out to Chris Shilling who not only signed up to bring pizza to our home Wednesday night meets, he also spent hours cooking burgers over the grill for hours to feed our crowds, always with a smile on his face and his swimmer wasn't always even in the water! (now that's above and beyond :) 

Abbie Achatz (although their fam was on vacay a lot this summer, Abbie was the main reason we all had suits, our lawn signs, and all our fabulous swag). She graciously did this big job always with a smile and a can do attitude. Thanks also to Michelle Shea and Amy Sethi for the big assists as well.

Let me spend a moment on kudos for Amy Sethi...first of all, her daughter has the most fabulous hairdo I’ve ever seen, but I digress. Amy went from making nametags and folders last year to helping this year with spirit wear the meet table and ribbons. She and Missy Hurley were so on top of ribbons (which cost us money from the league to buy btw) that we knew up to the minute how many of each we had and that we’d run out before the season because our fantastic swimmers were earning such a sea of green ribbons. Thank you!

OK, nametags...at first we had a few people signed up for this task that I started years ago to make sure we could meet each other. Resist the urge to stop doing them. Always remember newer parents need to know who you are. All other teams want our nametags. Anyway...when the Sonias (Sonya Raikar and Sonia Sethi) put their minds to something, it gets done! And Sonia Sethi even figured out how to automate it for future. She did such a good job with that, I thought it best to convince her to be in charge of registration. Can’t wait!

Now, I’m not going to go through every volunteer...we don’t have all night. I just need to thank a few parents who have stepped up big time to help ease Gina into meet operations. Our two main clerks of course 1) Donut queen, Loriann Baily and 2) Carley Maltese; head timers, Andina Nagler, Beth Olibah, and Mike Baily.  The most willing Heather Palazzo (runner, card distribution and back to back Winter Swim Program Rep). And our new age group social leads Erin Sartori, Megan Soyster Heinz, Carley Fisher Maltese, Melanie Aydin, and Rita Bills). Hope we’ve started a new tradition.

Thanks to each event lead Lindsey Ryan Rootbeer, Sika Fulmer Pancake Bfast, Beth Olibah Pasta night, Lisa Ali Ice Cream social; Pep rally team lead Jennifer Sullivan. Thank you to web site coordinator, Sam Kulkarni, Slide show creator, Natalie Zhou and trophy coordinators, Min Han and Erin Schneider.

Thank you to all our stroke and turn officials, Brad Mason lead official and referee, Eric Shea starter, Kee Lee, Kuan Sagaow, Diane Benavento, Rich McLeish, Zhihong Li, Yali Kong, and Raia Kaouk Toubaji. I encourage more of you to do this job to learn the sport, help your children and help our team. We need to supply officials for all league activities and need some new volunteers to become trained in this pipeline. I really encourage you to try it.

I’d have to say, one of my favorite parts of the season was checking out our posts on social media. Katie Rosenbaum did an amazing job at capturing our team’s vibe and accomplishments.

My other season social highlight is usually this wonderful banquet. A huge thank you to Emili Veslind and Kate Magri, Ashrita, Christina, Ed, Jieun, and Sumi for planning and executing this wonderful celebration

To Adina Adler, from Treasurer, to Announcer, to Photographer, you’ve always been there to do whatever our team needed. Thank you for always doing the right things right and doing them well.

And to our announcers, Jamie Maltese and Adam Rosenbaum, thanks for keeping folks informed and trivia’ed out.  And speaking of Jamie. Thanks for stepping up to become our team’s new President. I’ll be working with Jamie during the off season to help him better understand the workings of our team and our HCRA requirements. Super excited he’s stepped into this role.

And speaking of our board (I will be thanking them at a special dinner later on once I’m well).

Gotta start with Gina Comottor, my on deck partner in crime. She is so amazing...crammed what took me 8 years to learn, she did in less than 4 months! I knew she was the right person for the job when I saw her fabulous clipboard and the fact that she was even more organized than I was at recruiting volunteers :) In her you have a star.

Grace Byers, who fearlessly stepped up to help with communications. I have not has as much time to work with her yet, even for the past few months, she is fantastic. And, I’m hoping she can teach me how to be as busy as she is yet always look fantastically effortless on deck. I personally believe she personifies the phrase Grace under pressure...because now matter how many balls she’s juggling, she never breaks a sweat.

Taye (and Dave) Kelley for all you do that this team will never know about (their job takes more hours in the season and they are soooo good at it. Very detail oriented, the best ambassadors to the other teams that we could ask for). Thank you for being the truly behind the scenes engines of our team.

Meredith Malarkey, you were one of the first leadership volunteers I recruited for the board. We’ve spent many summers together and you’ll do whatever job this team needs, whether it was running concessions, countless conversations reviewing legal documents or now becoming our VP Treasurer, I am so thankful to have your perspective on all things important.

Heather McLeish, a few years ago when I said, hey...do you wanna be our team’s treasurer? Did you ever think you’d be wearing a sharks suit and agreeing to be our next team rep? I am so thankful you have stepped into this role. You’ve seen a lot of what happens behind the scenes of this team and now many more people will get to know what I already do, that you are a smart, funny, kind person who cares a ton about our community and knows exactly how to help athletic kids reach their full potential. (A thank you in advance to Rich, Ryan, and Liam for sharing Heather’s time with our team).

And thank to all parents for being a part of this organization. I said at the beginning of the season that it takes a village and now you all know why.

~Tracy

Tracy Mason
703-229-2030
@traymay5