Shonie Aki has a long history in Table Tennis as both a star player and a dedicated volunteer. Shonie began his successful playing career in 1959, and was among the top-ranked U.S. players. He was the California State Champion three times, and was the founder and organizer of the Table tennis Association and many of the events sponsored by the USTAA.
He received the prestigious Barna Award for his contributions to the sport in 1963, and has since contributed his time and talents in coordinating the California Open, the U.S. Open and has staffed al lof the major tournaments for the sport for the last 30 plus years.
Shonie’s love of the sport continued with his service of teaching 300 or more eight to 15 year-old junior athletes the sport at the University of California Berkeley Sports Complex. He became one of the first inductees in the California Table Tennis Hall of Fame for his dedication to the sport, and he has continued his service to this day.
He continues to play competitively, and has competed in the Huntsman World Senior Games. Originally, he attended as an athlete participant, where he was a force to be reckoned with. At the 1996 Games, eh came in first in the singles and doubles. Shonie now service as a co-director of the sport and still continues to compete at the Games.
Lil has been a volunteer for the Huntsman World Senior Games for 12 years. Her first assignment was to oversee the softball social. She did a great job in that capacity, and made the softball social the most “fun” ever!
When the person who was over the socials for the Games retired, we asked Lil to step into the position. To our great delight, she accepted the challenge and did a fantastic job coordinating the food and entertainment for all of the socials of the Games. She served in that capacity for nine years.
When our Western Dinner Dance director retired, we asked Lil to fill that position. Once again she graciously accepted, and kept serving as the organizer of the softball and volleyball socials, which are the largest socials the Games sponsors. Lil has a great spirit about her, and this is evident with the success of the programs she has organized. We are grateful for her continued service and dedication to the Games.
Don and Jenny Custer
Don and Jenny have been co-chairs for the registration area since 2000. They have also overseen the welcome bag assembly process. Don and Jenny are a team. Where this one, then the other will be nearby! Many hours of work at home prior to the Games are spent preparing files, records, supplies and volunteer schedules for the opening day of registration.
That has created the smooth operation that we see in place today. Volunteers enjoy working in registration because of the teamwork foundation put in place by both Don and Jenny. The family atmosphere they provide can be felt not only by the volunteers, but by the athletes as well. The first impression participants receive of the Huntsman World Senior Games is the one left by the volunteers in registration.
Collectively, they represent not only the Games, but the friends and families that work together to make the World Senior Games experience a memorable one. Don and Jenny have been one the cornerstones of the Games and they continue to be a great asset.
The Dixie Center
The Dixie Center has been the headquarters of the Huntsman World Senior Games for the last 10 years. As the heart of the registration process, as well as a venue for many events, the Dixie Center has become central to the success of the Games. The Staff has been very accommodation, bending rules when necessary to help us achieve our goals. The discounted rate they provide allows the Games to use the Dixie Center as our hub. This enhances the overall experience for the athletes and participants.
Stan has been a volunteer for many years, both at the Huntsman World Senior Games and the Volleyball Nationals. Since 2000, Stan has been at the Games organizing and setting up the volleyball courts. With his knowledge and expertise, the process has been smooth and always finished on time.
As a player, he has been on several gold medal teams. He excels as both a player and an organizer for the Games.
Tom has been a volunteer at the Huntsman World Senior Games for almost 10 years. His knowledge as a player in volleyball gives him insight into the games, and he is always willing to answer the many questions that come up at the championship desk.
He has been a player on several gold medal teams, and is willing to do anything he can to make volleyball an enjoyable team sport. His personality and wit are also legendary. Tome has seen the sport grow from 40 to 150 teams, and he has been instrumental in creating the growth. We salute Tome for his enthusiasm and dedication.
Lex is a truly dedicated participant in the Huntsman World Senior Games. He has been involved since 1988 and has made an exceptional contribution in athletic achievement and promotion of the Games. Registered in track and field every year, Lex is proud of his commemorative 15-year ring and 20-year watch.
Lex is an enthusiastic promoter of the Games, and goes out of his way to inform and involve others, encouraging participation in the Games. Several athletes for the Wasatch Front attend the Games due to his efforts. His love of the Games extend to his family and friends, who serve as a cheering section.
Lex is an all-around track and field athlete, competing in running, javelin, discus and shot-put. He excels in the high jump and long jump. His accomplishments include 21 gold, 35 silver and 25 bronze medals. Les embodies the vision and spirit of the Games.
Linn is one of the greatest tennis players in Utah history. He was ranked #1 for 14 years, and has been a top contender in the sport since 1943. He won the national championship three times, and during his sixty years of tennis, he has won more titles that he can remember.
His love of the sport has kept him competing to this day. Sport writers have affectionately called him “The Bionic Man”. He has continued to compete in spite of having numerous hip and knee replacements, and has played in four national senior doubles finals.
Linn is a true competitor, and has been the recipient of titles in table tennis and boxing as well. Linn loves the spirit of the Games, and exemplifies the mission of fostering world-wide peace, friendship and health.
Gaile loves riding in the mountains, fishing, cycling, golf and softball. This busy lady has volunteered for the Games for 17 years. When she started, she was in charge of distributing refreshments for all of the sports. After a few years, she narrowed her involvement to the softball teams, and became known as “The Fruit Lady” s she made beautiful fruit baskets and delivered them to all of the teams.
The “Fruit Lady” soon became a signature figure in the softball tournaments. When women’s softball was added, Gaile’s athletic abilities soon outshone her notoriety as the fruit lady. Since then, she has been responsible for recruiting many women’s teams to the Games. Gaile is a perfect example of the best qualities in both our volunteer efforts and the caliber of athletes found at the Games.
John has shown exceptional dedication to the Huntsman World Senior Games for 23 years, bringing many other cyclists to the Games. He is living proof that you can’t keep a good guy down! In 2007, while cycling down Snow Canyon, he had a flat tire and crashed and burned at over 35 miles per hour.
After surgery, and months of rehabilitation, he was back in the saddle and training again and competed in the next year’s Games. John is also a competitor in lawn bowls at the Games, and has enlisted many players for both sports. John is a model of sportsmanship and leadership, and possesses the qualities that exemplify the Hall of Fame.
Frank began participating in the Huntsman World Senior Games in 1987. Frank has been an outspoken supporter of the Games, and has acted as an ambassador in recruiting new athletes. He continuously encourages others to attend and goes above and beyond with his assistance and encouragement.
Frank has been an outstanding athlete, competing in road races, track and field, and bowling. He has been a representative of the Games at the National Senior Games. Frank has created a family legacy at the Huntsman World Senior Games with his daughter, becoming the first father-daughter mix doubles team at the Games.