The Vernon Pickleball Association is shining its spotlight on one special volunteer ahead of National Volunteer Week (April 18-24).
This year’s theme, the Value of One, the Power of Many, is an appropriate one the association said of its VPA member — the driver behind the Okanagan Wealth Advisors (OWA) Pickleball Complex at Marshall Field.
“Don Friesen’s dream of a 12-court enclosed pickleball facility in Vernon began five years ago and now, under his volunteer management, expertise and direction is an amazing reality,” said VPA president Patricia Andrews. “The building is nothing short of impressive, spectacular and breath-taking when you enter.”
The project was made possible by the teamwork of many VPA volunteers, coordinated by Friesen, who brought their relevant skills, expertise and financial support.
Friesen has lived and worked in Vernon since 1986 as a lumber mill owner. Since retiring, he began playing pickleball eight years ago and along with a few other local pickleball pioneers, he believed the sport was about to take off.
He was right.
Now it’s one of the fastest-growing sports in North America. The VPA alone has more than 500 members.
When asked what he gets out of his volunteer efforts and endless dedication, Friesen said he’s a man who sees things through.
“If I start something, I’m going to finish it, and I knew five years ago when the idea began that the design and intention was to have a covered facility,” he said. “For me, the best days are when I see the courts full and everyone is happy and playing pickleball.”
The opening date of the OWA Pickleball Complex has yet to be announced.