Cheney Free Press -

By Lee Hughes
Staff Reporter 

Lemaster named senior volunteer of the year

Community is still a common sense value to Kiwanis volunteer

 

February 14, 2019

Lee Hughes

Leroy Lemaster poses with his family after receiving the Kiwanis Senior Volunteer of the Year award. From left are, Jay Lemaster, award recipient Leroy Lemaster, Sharon Lemaster, Dallon Bogart, Amanda Swenson and Tressa Bogart.

Longtime Medical Lake High School tennis coach Leroy Lemaster was named this year's Kiwanis senior citizen volunteer of the year Saturday at St. Anne's Parrish Hall in front of nearly 80 of the area's fellow seniors.

Lemaster was recognized for his years of work in the tennis community, and his efforts at the Department of Social and Health Services' College In Residence Volunteer program at Lakeland Village, where he supervised over 40 college students who provided enhanced social interactions with Lakeland's intellectually disabled residents.

"He's just a good, common sense person," Duane "Tweet" Wolfe, a longtime club member and the event master of ceremonies, said.

Lemaster's common sense is seasoned with an ingrained desire to help others. Wolfe noted that Lemaster had just shoveled snow from seven driveways in his neighborhood.

"He didn't do mine," Wolfe later quipped.

Asked why he shoveled the driveways, Lemaster, who is 81 years old, noted without irony that many of his neighbors were elderly. One is hospitalized, and some neighbors are elderly ladies, "and we don't want them out there." Another neighbor is 84 years old.

"I just try to help out those I know," he said.

"We should be proud to live in a community where everybody cares about each other," Lemaster told attendees when he accepted the award, a hinged frame with a plaque on one side and a clock on the other.

Lemaster said the award was a surprise, the second such surprise he'd received in less than a year. In July about 100 of his former tennis players came together to honor him in with a picnic, some coming from as far away as Georgia and Texas.

"I've had a lot of kids over the years," he said.

Lee Hughes

Leroy Lemaster says a few words Saturday to the assembled crowd after receiving the Kiwanis Senior Volunteer of the Year award Saturday at St. Anne's Parrish Hall during the Kiwanis senior citizen Valentine's Day dinner.

Lemaster coached tennis at MLHS during three different periods between 1965 and 2012, for a total of 21 years, winning two state championships and numerous league and district titles.

Lemaster started what is now Medical Lakes annual Tennis-A-Thon 21 years ago. The charity event raises money for equipment for local tennis teams, the local food bank and other charities. The event also offers free tennis lessons for kids ages five to 14 years old.

"I just love watching those little kids get free lessons and learn the sport," Lemaster said.

Lemaster grew up in Twisp, Wash., where he said he was raised to help neighbors and respect the community's elders.

"That's just the way it was," he said.

Kiwanis members spent the morning cooking a Valentines Day turkey dinner for their guests.

Music for the event was provided by Gonzaga University's a cappella group Big Bang Theory.

Lee Hughes can be reached at lee@cheneyfreepress.com

 

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