USPTA Donates $5,000 to ThanksUSA

September 27, 2013

ORLANDO — The United States Professional Tennis Association donated $5,000 to the ThanksUSA organization as a part of the Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign. The USPTA presented the check to ThanksUSA CEO Bob Okun during the USPTA World Conference on Sept. 27 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.

ThanksUSA provides need-based, post-secondary scholarships to the children and spouses of active-duty personnel across all the Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves, as well as to families of the fallen and wounded.

“Global combat operations are ending but the mission of our troops — to protect our nation and our freedoms — persists, as does our responsibility to continue supporting them,” Okun said. “We are proud to partner with the USPTA to thank our armed forces and their families for their daily sacrifices through the gift of education.”

ThanksUSA selected Eric Witt of Springfield, Ohio, to be this year’s recipient of the USPTA/ThanksUSA Scholarship.

Eric Witt persevered despite the loss of his father, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel J. Witt. With the assistance of the $3,000 scholarship, Eric is able to continue his biology studies at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

Eric’s father served as an Air Force pilot for 20 years before he was killed in a tragic plane accident in 2008. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, LTC Witt received numerous awards, and though his service record is extensive, his children remember him as a loving father, an avid distance runner, and a fisherman who enjoyed grilling and cooking.

Witt, who inherited his father’s athleticism, began playing for the Otterbein University men’s tennis team during his freshman year. Although Witt loves the sport, he is quick to point out that he is a student first and athlete second; he stepped down from the team to focus on his studies this year.

“Playing tennis in college gave me a greater appreciation for the skills and focus of time-management,” Witt said. “I am truly honored by the financial assistance of the USPTA and ThanksUSA. Thank you for supporting military families and enabling me to have such a great academic opportunity!”

Witt said he plans to first earn his B.S. in biology and then pursue graduate studies with a concentration in marine biology.

For more information on the Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign, visit the Tennis Thanks the Troops webpage.