By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – In observance of National Senior Health and Fitness Day, a luncheon was served May 28 at Wayside Racquet and Swim Club with awards presented to deserving guests. The highlight was the announcement of the 18th annual George Fortin Fit for Life Award and the second annual Effie Ann Thompkins Community Service Award. Each of the award's namesake was in attendance.
As is the custom, that morning began with the Al Kursonis Memorial Tennis Tournament. This year, three winners were recognized by Darren McLaughlin, general manager of Wayside.
“Al Kursonis was a big tennis advocate in Hudson and Marlborough for many years, and later at Wayside,” he explained. “We still have a weekly program of women's doubles on Sunday afternoons during the indoor season known as “Al's Gals,” which Al started way back in the “80s.”
This year's winner in the women's division was Carol Murray, an original member of “Al's Gals.” Co-winners in the men's division were Eric Siwko and John Rosala.
The Community Service Award was introduced last year and named after its first honoree, Effie Ann Thompkins. She has volunteered for over 50 years for the American Red Cross.
McLaughlin announced this year's recipient, Ann Addeo.
“She's described by her friends at the Marlborough Senior Center as a sparkling light,” he relayed. “I's told that no subject is off limits, which is good because sometimes people are dealing with things that are difficult to talk about.”
Addeo acknowledged that she's a two-time cancer survivor and will proudly turn 80 in July. She has volunteered for the Hudson-Marlborough Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.
“Ann is always willing to lend a hand or encouragement,” McLaughlin added.
The first Fit for Life Award was presented to George Fortin the day he participated in a triathlon at age 80. The plaque states: “In recognition of your lifelong commitment to exercise and physical fitness, which has served as an inspiration to those whose lives you have touched.”
McLaughlin presented this year's honor to a 94-year-old Army veteran of World War II, Frank “Cannonball” Hill.
“He has been a member of the Sudbury River Tennis Club since 1947 and joined Wayside in 2002,” he said. “He was an active tournament player throughout New England and Florida, and in 1993 was ranked number 12 in the senior division.”
Hill brought along a group of tennis players to Wayside and organizes their weekly play schedule, McLaughlin noted.
“Frank is a ringleader,” he said. “He's the driving force behind this group of senior men. They love it.”
In addition to Fortin, past Fit for Life honorees in attendance were Vic Rimkus, 2004; Helen Harding, 2008; Sr. Gaetana Cincotta, SSA, 2010; James Bush, 2011; and Theresa Vezina, 2012.