Lynn Swan, Lora Webster, Lisa Webster

Local Paralympian Honored
Prestigious Award

Lora Webster, a senior at Cactus Shadows High School, received the Gene Autry Courage Award Monday, March 1st, at the Wyndham Buttes Resort in Tempe.

Gene Autry Award

Lora Webster

Named after the legendary cowboy, sportsman and owner of the Anaheim Angels, the Gene Autry Courage Award is given to former or current athletes who have overcome disabilities or hardships. These awards are given to help provide inspirational role models to young people nationwide. All proceeds from the night went into various scholarships and grants that are used to fund education expenses for minority students in Arizona at the three major universities in Arizona, along with some of the local community colleges

When she was only 11, Webster was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in her left tibia. The bone was removed by a procedure called rotationplasty. After removing the cancerous bone, the doctors rotated the lower half of her leg 180-degrees and connected it to the remnants of the femur. The operations allowed her full control of movements, allowing her to continue playing volleyball. In October of 1998, Webster was fitted with a prosthesis which allowed her to walk again.

"Everyone used to say how sorry they were for me," Webster said during her acceptance speech. "But I'm thinking, how can I be sorry? I'm going to the Olympics because of this!"

Webster is a member of the first USA Women's National Sitting team, which is competing in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece, in September. She also helps coach the Arizona Thunder 15-1 juniors volleyball team with her sister, Lisa, who presented the award to her.

Others honored that night were former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, and NASCAR racecar driver Kelly Sutton. Former NFL great Lynn Swan was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.

For more information about the Gene Autry Awards or to see past recipients, click here

Posted 3/16/04

Commissioner Harold Cranswick and Emily Toone

2003 Jr Referee Program Participants



Junior Referee Development Program

The Junior Referee Development Program of Arizona Region Volleyball celebrated Emily Toone, giving her the award for Top Outstanding Official at the January 4th annual meeting.

Emily has been officiating with the region for 2 years, and has been a certified referee for 5 years. She has been playing volleyball since she was young and is currently the setter for the Arrowhead 18s club team. She is a junior at Peoria High School.

Others awarded were Juli Nuttall, Jim Feickert, and Jerry Moews for achieving their Junior National Referee rating, Ernest Vasquez II for most waves and clinics worked for the 2002-03 season, David Williams for achieving his National Referee rating, Bob Tang for achieving his National Scorekeeper rating and the late Rocky Nissan for achieving his Junior National Scorekeeper rating.

The Junior Referee Development program started in 2003 with 12 kids, and has grown to 28 active participants this year. Every club player is required to attend the officiating clinic at the beginning of each club season, and those involved with the Development Program attend the more extensive annual meeting in January as well. The Junior Development officials primarily officiate for the 12s and 14s club teams, based on individual experience. After the first two or three officiating assignments, each official goes through a rating process.

“If you have a passion for volleyball, this is great to do,” said Starling 18s club player Tiana Beetso. “I love it. I get to be around the sport I love, and make a little extra money at the same time.” Tiana also said that it is convenient because she officiates once or twice a month and is able to work around her current playing schedule.

For more information, contact the region office or go to the website.

Posted 3/23/04



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