The ACBL Goodwill Committee was created in 1955 and renamed after its longest-tenured chair, Aileen Osofsky, after her death in 2010. She served as chair for 25 years and entered the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame as the 2009 recipient of the Blackwood Award – for long service to the game without necessarily being a world-class player.
The Aileen Osofsky Goodwill Committee convenes on the first Monday of every NABC so that the members can strengthen their resolve to spread goodwill beyond the committee. The goal: making bridge fun for everyone at all times.
When Robert Harman, ACBL’s chief executive, was called upon by Goodwill Chair Sandy DeMartino to address the crowd, he said, “Of all the events I speak at, this is my favorite. You are friends of the game and great ambassadors. Thanks for all you do.”
After welcoming everyone, DeMartino announced that Eddie Kantar was selected by the ACBL Board of Directors as the Honorary Member of the Year. “We couldn’t believe he didn’t already have the award,” she said, “and we found that he does an incredible amount of work in his district.” Kantar, who lives in Santa Monica CA (District 23).
At the Fall NABC, it’s customary to honor volunteers, the lifeblood of the organization. ACBL President Phyllis Harlan did the honors for the Volunteer of the Year – Mike Carmen of the St. Louis area. Among his many contributions to the game was his chairmanship of the 2013 Spring NABC in his home town.
Harlan said the list of suggested winners was long and impressive, but Carmen was a standout. Although Carmen was not present, Harlan sent him a message: “Thank you for all the goodwill you spread.” To the assembled Goodwill Committee members, she added, “You are the best ACBL has to offer.”
Richard DeMartino represents District 25, the host district for the NABC. He was called upon to name the top volunteer for his district. He also noted that the list of candidates was large and impressive, but he decided on NABC Co-Chair Joe Brouillard for the honor.
Said Brouillard, “I volunteer because I enjoy the game and I wanted to contribute to make it better.” Brouillard had the crowd laughing when he noted that in the two years he spent preparing for the Fall NABC, “I had two good trainers – Captain Morgan and Jack Daniels.”
DeMartino said credit and thanks are due to the NABC committee members for the effort that goes into putting on such a big tournament.
One of Sandy DeMartino’s final duties was announcing the Goodwill Member of the Year, presented each year to the member who has exhibited unselfish dedication to the causes of good conduct, worthy participation and ethical behavior.
The 2014 winner is James Flesher of Salt Lake City UT. DeMartino quoted from the nomination form for Flesher: “For more than 35 years, he has given his time and talents to Utah bridge. He is welcoming, courteous and ethical. He demonstrates by example the intangibles of bridge: active ethics, courtesy and enthusiasm.”
The Volunteer of the Year and Goodwill Member of the Year awards will be presented to the winner at the 2015 Spring NABC in New Orleans.
DeMartino closed the meeting with a familiar entreaty: “Please proudly wear your Goodwill pin, support goodwill in your districts and units and remind others we can be competitive and still be friendly, caring and ethical. Remember – enjoy!”