In 2011, District 17 established a Goodwill Committee and Charter to recognize D17 members in good standing who exemplify congeniality and ethical behavior.
Committee members subscribe to the ACBL Goodwill slogan, “It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.”
2023 D17 Goodwill Ambassadors
Maria’s ongoing dedication to teaching new players is invaluable to the future of bridge. Maria was born and raised in Queens, New York. After graduating from Queens College, Maria went on to Yeshiva University where she earned a PhD in molecular biology.
Her spouse, Stuart Davis, was in the Air Force during their early married life, which led to time spent in northern Maine and Syracuse, New York. Then they resided for 10 years in New Jersey before moving to Arizona in 2009. At some earlier point, Maria and her husband Stuart had taken an introductory bridge class. That’s where the seed was planted for Maria, although Stuart was not taken!
In Sun Lakes, AZ Maria began bridge in earnest. She soon discovered Nancy Espy’s novice class and the 99er game, and then was off and running. After assisting Gordon Markham, founder, Fun-Da-Mental Bridge, she began teaching bridge herself and became an ACBL-accredited teacher. She also qualified to be a bridge director. On October 6, 2016, Maria, together with special friend and longtime bridge partner Anne Newman, volunteered to run and direct the Thursday morning 99er coaching game for new players, despite receiving meager director compensation. Here, players have access to personalized instruction, enjoy a weekly mini-lesson and often play hands generated by Maria to reinforce the lesson. New players are made to feel welcome and comfortable.
“Behind that reserved demeanor is a charming, loyal and dedicated woman with a keen sense of humor,” says Anne Newman. “She has a variety of interests and never does anything halfway.””
Carol is an outgoing, cheerful player and volunteer. She is a Unit 354 board member recently elected to a second term. Carol, our Unit Secretary, is organized and efficient and makes clear and insightful comments at our Board meetings. A willing helper, she organizes our food supplies before and during our tournaments.
Carol was the Chair of the Information Desk at the 2022 Phoenix Fall NABC, working daily with a smile.
At the height of Covid, Jackie recognized the need for someone to lead the Sedona Bridge Club. She accepted the role of club president, organized and co-directed online games, kept the club financially strong and eventually re-established face- to-face bridge. She began offering, and continues to offer, online bridge lessons under the auspices of Yavapai Community College.
Despite great personal hardship created by her husband’s long illness and eventual passing, Jackie still worked hard to support and encourage the club. Her current focus is to continue her teaching, to encourage club members to return to bridge and to recruit and teach new bridge players.
Doug is the Tucson Unit 356 Partnership Chair and a newly elected unit board member. He is a proactive, kind and dedicated volunteer. As Partnership Chair, Doug promptly acknowledges all requests and works with a team of volunteers to fill requests before each tournament. Afterward, Doug sends thank you emails to all those who have been matched with partners and invites each to play in the next unit scheduled event. Doug then produces reports for the Unit 356 Board that illustrate how Partnerships increase table count.
Doug is the reason why Tucson has a new tournament location. During Tucson tournaments, Doug arrives well before the players to make the coffee and to set up the beverage counter.
Linda has served on the Unit 360 board for six years as treasurer. Her financial skills provided a sound financial foundation for the unit during a major IRS audit and the COVID-19 epidemic. She has helped turn a profit for unit sectionals. Linda has been a strong supporter of the unit’s mentor program and assists with kitchen and hosting duties for special unit and club games. Linda and her husband are survivors of COVID-19, but despite this setback, Linda returned to the table and advanced to Ruby Life Master. She is known for her bubbly smile and friendly approach at the table.
When D17 resumed face-to-face regionals the fall of 2021, Julie not only came to play – she came to volunteer – and to support other unit boards within D17. Julie is a leader. She understands the problems facing the unit, the district and the league. She works effectively with her unit board to seek solutions to keep her unit viable and moving forward. She is a good listener, she is steady and she is always fair.
Julie Clark has been an ACBL member for over 30 years, recently becoming a gold life master. Raised in a family committed not only to the game itself, but also to the support of the game (her father was the Denver unit’s legal counsel), Julie has served on the Denver Unit Board since 2018 and is currently the president. She is a mentor to a local player and has high hopes of getting her brother to come back to the game.
Brian was introduced to bridge by Toby McEvoy and Chris Hahn in March of 2019. Three months later, Brian played in the NABC in Las Vegas. Outside of bridge (as if there is such a thing), Brian is a Senior Accountant for Penn Entertainment and has a portfolio of private tax clients. He has also been a professional musician since 1999, and still regularly performs with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Smith Center Broadway Series and multiple theatrical and musical organizations throughout the Las Vegas Valley. He enjoys pizza, red wine and spreading the joys of bridge.
John is a director at Duke City Bridge Club, Albuquerque, and is dedicated to keeping bridge alive! John, a strong presence at the bridge table, with his 6’4″ frame, is actually a soft spoken, pleasant guy. He was born in Oklahoma, but moved to Farmington when he was young, and spent his school years there. After high school, he spent three years in the Army, with one year in Vietnam. After that, he attended NMSU receiving his BA in Information Systems. He then joined the Air Force, where he spent the next 18 years traveling and working in information systems and communications. He also attained a Masters in Finance at this time.
After retirement, he settled in Albuquerque and worked as Chief Technical officer at Kirtland Federal and 10 years as a statistical economist for the state of New Mexico.
John’s first introduction to bridge was at an adult education class in California, while he was stationed there. As a total novice, he played in a tournament with an 80-year old party bridge player (no master points) and they came in first. But after that, work and life got in the way and he didn’t play again until he retired. After taking beginner classes in Albuquerque, he started playing in the Wednesday night group and has done that for many years. He’d like to play more when time allows – he has started playing Monday afternoons with Alan Goldman as his partner/mentor.
John has two daughters and he’s raising two grandchildren – ages 13 and 15. He’s a busy man, but likes it that way and enjoys teaching the beginners because they’re interested and enthused about the game. With the help of Rick Weigle, he plans to keep the beginner classes going and hopes to help them “graduate” to Duke City play.
2022 D17 Goodwill Ambassadors
Congratulations D17 Goodwill Ambassadors 2021
Jim Utter has served as the president of the Sun Lakes Duplicate Bridge Club since 2011. During his first four years as president, club membership grew from about 300 to about 440 and the annual number of game entry fees collected increased by 25%.
Jim was instrumental in acquiring an electronic scoring system, an automatic dealing machine, special cards and additional equipment needed for operation.
He has also improved club communications. Jim led the initiative to create the new Sun Lakes Duplicate Bridge Club website, and reports club news to membership as needed four to five times a month.
Motivated to help others improve their games, Jim wants all players to enjoy bridge as much as he does.
Jim is very dedicated and cares for all board and club members. He will make a great goodwill ambassador and is someone to emulate.
Gary has single-handedly operated the Flagstaff Duplicate Bridge Club for many years. He does it all: arranges for a venue, sets up and takes down the tables and chairs, directs the game, serves as a liaison with the ACBL, provides bridge supplies, keeps in touch with players and attends to everything involved in operating a bridge club.
His work is a valuable service to the Flagstaff community. He keeps the game running during the winter to give the town residents an opportunity to continue playing duplicate. In the summer, the participation expands because of the influx of people who spend their summers in Flagstaff, which makes running the games quite a challenge.
Gary is also a talented dancer. He contributes to the community by offering tango lessons and serving as a judge at dance contests.
Barry Abrahams had the typical start in bridge. He was first exposed to it in 1963 but work interfered and it wasn’t until he retired in 1999 that it resumed its true place in his life.
While in Tucson, Barry started playing at the Adobe and Las Candelas clubs and then became involved with ACBL Unit 356 where he served as tournament chair and then as unit president. Barry did a marvelous job making being on the board a fun productive experience for everyone lucky enough to serve with him.
After leaving the unit board, Barry helped merge the Las Candelas Bridge Club with the Adobe Bridge Club and worked to purchase the former Las Candelas Banquet Hall and associated property. This is now the permanent home for the Adobe Bridge Center.
Subsequently, Barry was elected to the Adode Board and was instrumental in creating a financially sound business plan. He then took on the daunting task of having the club granted 501(c)(3) status as a tax exempt entity which required an unbelievable amount of paperwork and research.
His selfless dedication and untold hours of volunteer work has made the bridge scene in Tucson what it is today. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for all of his hard work on our behalf.
After taking beginner bridge lessons, Dr. Barbara Starrett and colleague Dr. Joyce Honorof realized a need for organized duplicate bridge games for new players living north of Tucson, AZ. Barbara borrowed equipment, became an ACBL director and started Small Slams Club, an ACBL sanctioned invitational club for 749ers located in SaddleBrooke, AZ. Barbara orchestrated and financed the equipment for Small Slams and became a director before she had earned 10 masterpoints!
“A visionary and caring individual, Barbara is willing to do what it takes to make the club successful and continue to grow,” said Carl Travor, friend and Unit 356 member.
Barbara also supports the Northwest Tucson Bridge Club (NWTC) serving as a face-to- face and virtual club director.
“During COVID, Barbara volunteered to be trained as an online director for our virtual club,” said Bonnie Hertzog, NWTC director and Unit 356 board member. “She has made herself available to direct weekly, and cheerfully assists other directors. She attends Virtual Club Roundtable meetings and brings new information about BBO/ACBL changes to our attention.
She provides clear and insightful comments at our director meetings, and she sends helpful emails. Her persistence in solving problems and her humor have helped all of us survive and thrive during this crazy year.”
Since retirement, Barbara has tirelessly served her community as president of the SaddleBrooke Freethinkers and as a member of the Gays, Lesbians and Allies at SaddleBrooke. Barbara also conducts compression-only CPR classes and is the chairperson of the Safety Recreation Committee for HOA 1 in SaddleBrooke.
Barbara credits her mother-in-law Syrile Ellison for encouraging her and wife Jo Ann Ellison to learn the game of bridge.
Chris is an inspirational bridge advocate! His passion is for bridge and creating a fun learning environment. Chris has taught classes for Maggie’s Bridge Club since completing the TAP course in 2015. Since covid, he has taken the courses online and reached dozens of new bridge players. The courses he has promoted with his wife, Brenda Alberico, and Bob Hinderholtz are extremely well received. Chris seeks feedback and constantly improves the delivery, scope and content. He has promoted games for the newer players and fostered partnerships and camaraderie among the players. All of his time is voluntary and class proceeds benefit Summit County Seniors.
Chris’s philosophy is simple, MAKE IT FUN! People come to bridge classes for many reasons, but a key is social interaction and meeting new people. Chris wants students to be a better BRIDGE PLAYERS regardless of their prior bridge knowledge.
Maggie’s Bridge Club in Summit County is smack in the middle of Skiers Heaven. He has created a series of classes with a skiing theme: Bunny Slope, Green Slope, Blue Slope and Black Slope. Players can quickly gauge the class level that is appropriate for them.
A recent student wrote, “The game of bridge is a fun time that I hope to enjoy well into my 90’s if at all possible. You have given me a great gift!”
District 17 is fortunate to have Chris in our midst. We can all learn from his actions!
Some units in District 17 own facilities and for these units a key position is building manager. Ed Texel has been the “facility guy” for more than a decade in Colorado Springs. It’s a lot of fun climbing ladders, moving office equipment, supervising construction, finding plumbers and electricians, building tournament stanchions and answering lots of player questions. In Colorado Springs, with a 44-year-old building, I think building manager is a bigger job than any other administrative post. I used to be the building manager in the Springs and I talked Ed into taking over when I was elected to the Unit 360 board. Ed has done an admirable job.
Ed has been a bridge player for decades and a fixture on the tournament trail.
He is a wonderful ambassador for our game with a smooth temperament and dry sense of humor. You want Ed on your team! Bridge is more fun with Ed at the table.
Ed Yosses learned about a game called bridge from his parents at a very early age. While in college during the late 1960s, he and Barb, girlfriend and wife, learned the basics of the game from friends. They started playing duplicate in the early 1970s and became ACBL members in the mid-1970s.
Ed continued playing duplicate in Toledo, OH, and then in Fort Collins when he moved to Colorado in 1999.
He was active in the Fort Collins Unit 363, holding both treasurer and president offices until moving to Denver in 2014. Additionally, Ed has served as District 17 treasurer and is currently treasurer of Unit 361.
He has actively mentored many novice bridge players over the years and was teaching weekly beginner bridge classes to a group in his neighborhood until COVID interfered last March.
Bridge has been a lifelong passion for Ed. He reads on a daily basis and has a very large collection of bridge books. He is a Gold Life Master.
Chris is one of those people, that when your paths cross, there is always a smile involved. He has a natural charm and a passion for bridge that combined make everyone at ease whether you are playing as his partner, team-mate or opponent. Chris has served as the treasurer of Unit 373 and as the treasurer of the 2019 Las Vegas NABC. He was also a key member of the team who staffed the I/N Partnership & Help Desk in 2019. He has already volunteered to be part of the team in 2024!
Chris is a certified ACBL teacher. He completed TAP and the Best Practices Workshop. He is committed to providing an excellent learning experience for his students. Chris teaches with his partner Toby McEvoy and together, they are building a strong foundation of players who will help Las Vegas rebuild when face-to-face bridge takes off again in our area. Chris donates his time to his students; not just during scheduled lessons but he makes himself available as a partner in club games and tournaments. His students never feel unsupported after the class is over and that makes their transition to competitive duplicate bridge competitions smoother.
Chris is a man of many talents. He manages to fit all these bridge activities in while still working full-time as a pharmacy technician, specializing in procurement. He is a classically trained singer and performs in many local productions around town. Las Vegas is extremely fortunate to have him in our bridge community.
D17 Goodwill Ambassadors 2020
Anne Marie Harrington
Joe has been a bridge player for many years, partnering with accomplished players and making his way to Silver Life Master through successful tournament and club play. Several years ago, he and his wife relocated from Flagstaff to Sedona, AZ. He now plays in nearly every session at the Sedona Bridge Center. Since that move he has devoted himself to partnering with less experienced players, serving as a gentle mentor and helping many individuals earn masterpoints. He is a treasured member of the Sedona Bridge Center who brings much joy and pleasure to all.
Four years ago, Joyce retired from her professional practice as an internist. She discovered bridge which excited and captivated her. After some beginner lessons, Joyce and her colleague, Barbara Starrett, realized the need for organized duplicate bridge games for new players living north of Tucson. They borrowed equipment, practiced ACBLscore, became ACBL directors and started the Small Slams Bridge Club, an ACBL sanctioned invitational club for 749’ers in SaddleBrooke, AZ. Joyce, although a new player herself, became an ACBL Certified Bridge Teacher and focused on teaching beginners.
After the Bridge Center of Greater Tucson closed, Joyce joined a steering committee to continue playing options in north Tucson and the Northwest Tucson Bridge Club was born.
Joyce remains an active volunteer director in both Small Slams Bridge Club and the Northwest Tucson Bridge Club, and is now a Virtual BBO director as well. Most importantly, she continues to be an avid player and ambassador of encouragement for anyone wanting to share in this invigorating experience we call bridge. Joyce is enthusiastic, positive and dedicated to bringing people to the game. “Joyce is the glue of the bridge community in Tucson,” stated a local player. “She is an outstanding ambassador for bridge.”
I have nominated Elly because she has done so much for our Denver bridge community. Elly is supportive of newer players and supports the unit by hosting numerous events.
Since the stay at home orders began, Elly is running online games for local clubs.
She has bent over backwards to accommodate all the requests for help in using BBO and has adjusted her schedule based on requests from members.
Elly began playing bridge in college but got hooked on duplicate after a friend asked her to try it and they won five MPs.
After taking over a failing club in 2017, she revived the club with a zero-tolerance policy.
Elly considers running the bridge club a hobby, not work.
In her limited free time, Elly spends it with her husband, Eric, and in-town granddaughter. She is a great cook and is generous in giving out her recipes.
Toby is playing a key role in building the foundation for the future of duplicate bridge in Las Vegas and deserves recognition for his outstanding efforts.
Toby McEvoy is a certified ACBL teacher having completed TAP and the Best Practices programs. He is a member of the ABTA and planned to take the ACBL director’s course at the Spring 2020 NABC which was canceled due to COVID-19. He plans to do so at the first possible opportunity. He will be an excellent director.
The 2019 NABC was held in Las Vegas Nevada and Toby served on the tournament committee for three years. He attended meetings with the hotel and assisted with many other tournament decisions. His key role was as the I/N chair. He put together an outstanding team of volunteers to make sure the I/N Help Desk and Partnership Desk were friendly services that helped newer players enjoy the tournament. Player feedback was excellent. Toby took personal leave from his full time job in the IT industry to be present at the tournament each day.
Toby and his partner Christopher Hahn have established a teaching program for local I/N players. They offer classes at no cost to students and organize duplicate games with other unit players on the weekends. This gets their students comfortable at the bridge table and well prepared to play in local club games and tournaments. Many have become ACBL members.
Toby is also a talented musician and musical director. He has directed critically acclaimed shows at Spring Mountain Ranch, The Vegas Little Theatre and Faith Lutheran High School.