Ocean Pines Platform Tennis Holds Fundraiser for Veterans

Men L to R: Finalists Evan Niemkiewicz/Doug Raihall Winners Brian Phoebus/Reed Hagman

Women L to R: Finalists Gayle Connelly/Kym Kochis Winners Kylie Kochis/Karin Kochis

September 30, 2019
Ocean Pines, MD

By June Freeman
66 players competed for the cause

Ocean Pines Platform Tennis raised $4,105 on Saturday, September 28 for the Ocean Pines Coastal Hospice–We Honor Veterans program.

Michael Petito and Sue Walter co-chaired this successful tournament. Petito said, “Being able to help veterans will always have a special place in my heart.” Last year, the platform tennis group hosted a tournament for the home-grown Catch A Lift Program. Their two newest courts are dedicated to veterans. The members have a designated area that honors veterans—an engraved bench surrounded by five flags representing the five branches of the service, along with the American flag.

Sue Walter explained, “When Michael and I were contemplating holding another platform tennis tournament, we both came to the table with ideas. We already had decided on giving to a local veteran’s group. I had personal experience with hospice care for my mother, and my father was a veteran. The fact that Coastal Hospice was preparing to open their home in Ocean Pines was another factor.”

The tournament was an all-day affair from 8AM until 5PM. The weather was warm and sunny for the 66 competitors. This event attracted talented and high-level players from five different states. The volleys, screen shots, drives, serves, and returns were astonishing. Brian Phoebus and Reed Hagman from Baltimore won the men’s division over Doug Raihall and Evan Niemkiewicz from West Chester, PA. The mother/daughter team of Karin and Kylie Kochis were the women’s winners versus Gayle Connelly and Kym Kochis, all from Exton, PA.

Putting the tournament fundraiser together required a lot of time, work and care by many people. Petito commented, “The rewarding part for me was that the hard work by our committee and volunteers was successful, and also seeing all the happy faces.” Walter said, “We could not have accomplished this without the support of the Chick-fil-A in West Ocean City, Dunes Manor Hotel, the Holiday Inn on 17th Street, the Grand Hotel, the members of Ocean Pines platform tennis, and the many players from the area. We thank them and the many others who donated to this cause.”


Tracey Horan, Vice President of Clinical Services, explained that the ‘We Honor Veterans’ program was originally developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in conjunction with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Coastal Hospice provides special care to vets who are facing life-limiting illnesses, and often addresses specific needs related to a veteran’s military service. The program honors vets who require hospice services for their service to this great nation. A ceremony is performed for every veteran that includes the presentation of a certificate of appreciation for their service, a warm blanket in the patriotic colors of our nation, and a military salute in honor of, and with appreciation for, their service and sacrifice. Each service is performed by a dedicated volunteer.

Horan said, “We were delighted that Ocean Pines platform tennis selected us for their fundraising event. We opened in May of this year and the setting provides a warm, serene, and therapeutic environment. We have a comprehensive program that includes physical, spiritual, bereavement, and palliative care, along with social services and volunteers. Eighty-five percent of our patients are cared for in their homes.”

Copyright © 2010 - 2021 American Platform Tennis Association