McKenzie Volleyball Tourney
Fundraiser and tribute to McKenzie Hartwig
by Shelly McAdams
March 16, 2005
Saturday, March 12, 2005, the McKenzie Hartwig Meningitis Foundation Annual Volleyball Tournament was held at the Pinedale Middle School. The tournament attracted teams from central and western Wyoming, and one very special team from South Dakota. This was not just a team in a tournament. These were the teammates of McKenzie Hartwig from the University of South Dakota, where McKenzie went to college on a volleyball scholarship, playing in honor of their lost teammate.
In August 2001, McKenzie died of a disease called Meningococcal Meningitis. One year after McKenzie’s death, the McKenzie Meningitis Foundation was started. The objective of the foundation is "to give the meningitis vaccination to every graduating/college-bound high school senior in Wyoming, optional and free of charge."
The volleyball tournament, as well as other benefits throughout the year, aim to help achieve the goal of the foundation and to increase the awareness of the disease. The volleyball tournament was started by Jennifer Proud and Heidi Gay in 2002.
This year, a formal committee, made of volunteers, got together to handle the organization of the tournament and keep it going. The committee consisted of Janel Scurlock, Shelly McAdams, Pauline Schuette, and Ruth Schultz. The fundraiser was a success. There were nine teams to sign up and compete. T-shirts were donated by the The Cowboy Shop to sell to the public with the proceeds to go to the foundation. Several local businesses and individuals made cash and prize donations. Money was also raised through a 50/50 raffle at the tournament. Lastly, a few extra dollars were brought in through concession sales at the front door.
There was a feeling of purpose all around. The teammates of McKenzie played with heart, but they also played with laughter and with joy. The tournament ended like a fairytale when the winning game ball, subscribed "2005 McKenzie Hartwig Meningitis Foundation Volleyball Tournament Champions" was presented to the University of South Dakota team, better known as the Coyotes. The team players were Jennifer Britton, Emily Britton, Alexis Terwilliger, Lindsay Soukup, Lacy Ross, and Laura Marske.
On Monday, March 14, 2005, Ken and Laurie Hartwig were presented with a check for $1300 for the Meningitis Foundation. There is talk among the committee to do a two day tournament next year and include co-ed team competition. To learn more about Meningitis and who is at risk you can go to the following website: www.themckenziefoundation.org.
Photos courtesy Ken Hartwig and Shelly McAdams