Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina
April 9, 2016

We say “Lay-June,” but the locals say “La-Jerne….” interesting. This event was our first foray onto a Marine base. Although the courts are set up against a beautiful river, at the Paradise Point Courts, we were forced inside because of the high winds. The day was sunny, dry and not too hot at all, but because the winds picked up over night, we decided to bring the event indoors to the Wallace Creek Fitness Center (an absolutely spectacular building!).

Note: Paradise Point hosted Ivan Lendl many years ago and we were honored to bring our clinics there behind such a legend.

We were also very lucky to have the entire Charlotte Mafia there to help as well: Mark Wirth, Jeff Cato, Mike Farley and Gordon and Tica Lowman. Rodney Bailey, Randy Bridgman, Julia High, Mary Hoveland and of course, JoAnne Russell were the legendary pros who tirelessly helped on court. Lauren Ramos was super helpful at the registration desk. Wynn Hildreth was a Go-To man for the base. Ironically, when we first toured the base in September with Wynn, we experienced torrential downpours….we never thought that we would be indoors on a sunny day!

We were especially honored to have the help of a few good men and women Marines: CWO2 Neal McGaughey, CPL. Oscar Perez, CPL Sharone Lewis, CPL. Tarrez Germaine, CPL Cory Farraghergnadt, LCPL Julia Carrol, LCPL. Alisa Quigley, LCPL Melanie Gonzalez, LCPL Zachary Flygare, LCPL Christopher Hickman and LCPL Paige Woolly.

The gym walls are covered in what looks like giant, vertical peg boards. I took it all in, without giving a second thought as to what they were, until I saw a Marine jump up, grab hold of a peg, place it in a hole above his head and repeat the process, until he reached the top. Can you say, HOLY COW! Talk about strength an balance. Gordon Lowman was impressive as he tried it and got up a few pegs. I’m weak enough and smart enough to know enough that I didn’t even make an attempt!

Thank you to Tica and Lauren for working the registration desk with me. You chicas made it easy and fun.

Our adopted baseball Matt Solter is from that area in NC and we were so lucky to visit with him for dinner that evening, along with the volunteer staff at the Outback. After staying with us for a few months during the early spring while trying out for the minors, we felt as if he was one of ours. We are thrilled to report that he got a minor league contract with the Giants! Go Matt!

The total number of participants for Lejeune was 80. Here are a few testimonials from some of the participants:

“Great experience!! The coaches were awesome, Staff was friendly and the kids loved it.”

“The coaches and staff were amazing. They not only took their time, but also had the heart to actually talk to the kids on their level. Thank you so much for what you do.”

Semper fi!