Gering Tennis Club loses sleep for a good cause
     2015-07-30      By Josephine Chang-Olenick    josephine@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen - Willis Hernandez joins other tennis players for the 24-hour marathon. Last season, he played on both the varsity and junior varsity teams for Gering High School, and that’s his focus for this year. Hernandez lasted the entire 24 hours. 
Gering Tennis Club members pulled an all-nighter this past Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, playing tennis and holding matches with each other and other community members during a 24-hour long fundraiser at the Gering High School tennis courts to raise awareness and money for diabetes.

“The kids love getting involved and doing this every year,” said Gering Tennis Club coordinator Matt Palomo, who has helped put together 24-hour long tournaments with the Tennis Club for the past six years.

Palomo was given 18 months to raise $3,000 years ago, when the current tennis courts needed to be built.

The idea of a 24-hour tournament that would allow the club members to play and interact with the community came to mind, and Palomo saw that the success of the event was two-fold: not only was the money quickly raised, but student and adult club members were able to play and bond with the public. Students within the tennis club voiced their desire to hold another similar tournament in the future, and the annual tradition was born. Since then, the Gering Tennis Club has dedicated their time and raised awareness for Red Cross, Special Olympics, cancer patients, and the Scottsbluff Humane Society. This year, club members chose to support diabetes.

“Diabetes is something you manage and live with,” said Palomo. “It’s something that you never beat or win or get over, but with support and awareness, you can stay on top of it.” Palomo, who has Type II diabetes himself, was moved by this year’s community response to support both the cause and the tennis club.

Over 40 participants participated in the tournament and $300 was donated during Friday and Saturday alone. To keep the games going, Palomo made sure that club members and public participants played in shifts. Nine student club members also chose to stay up for the entire 24-hour period, playing tennis and rallying morale.

“It’s nice to have people support this event,” said Palomo. “I am looking forward to seeing what the kids (from the Club) decide to do next year.”

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