November 8, 2011
"TAR HEEL OF THE WEEK"
RALEIGH -- Two years out of the U.S. Navy, retired Lt. Cmdr. Steven Harper is still on a mission to help service members.
Instead of a submarine or an aircraft carrier, he spends most of his days between the battleship-gray walls of the South Wilmington Street Center coaching homeless veterans to find jobs. In his spare time, he helps wounded warriors rebuild their strength and their psyches through the game of racquetball.
Harper's love for his military brothers gives him the passion for both types of work, and 20 years in uniform give him the credibility.[ Read more ]
September 16, 2010
A MEET & GREET WITH THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF
President Barack Obama
During a recent MRF racquetball tournament that took place in our nation's capital, MRF's Executive Director, Steven Harper had the rare and unique opportunity to meet our Commander-In-Chief, President Barack Obama!
August 13, 2010
A DAY AT WALTER REED WITH SOME WOUNDED WARRIORS
Walter Reed MRF Demonstration
WALTER REED, Washington DC; August 11th, 2010 - WOW! What an amazing day we had at WALTER REED Army Medical Center; the greatest opportunity to play some racquetball with some very special and talented Wounded Warriors.
[ full story ]
Apr 24, 2010
Over the Last 4 months….. MRF is Moving Forward!!
Over the last 4 months, MRF has definitely exploded on the racquetball scene. Many exciting things have taken place within MRF since January.
From hosting another Outdoor Racquetball demonstration in North Carolina where members of the TUSKEGEE AIRMEN; COL Chet Beverly (USAF Ret) and MSgt Leonard "Hawk" Hunter (USAF Ret) made a guest appearance at the event to promote the sport of racquetball. This event would not have been possible without the support of WOR, Racquet World, Ektelon, E-Force, and Mike Augustin of 40by20.com web-site. Many special thanks go to The Church of Clayton Crossings and the city of Clayton. THANKS to all those who supported this event!!
MRF was able to sanction and support three international and one local tournament within this short four month period, which included: the BPC Gym at Al Udeid Qatar, the Air Force Fitness Center in Aviano, Italy, and Kelly Fitness Center in Stuttgart, Germany. Along with sanctioning a tournament that took place at Joint Force McGuire Dix.
MRF formed a partnership with the USA Racquetball, by working together to promote & grow military racquetball. The agreement is highlighted by; No charge USAR recreational memberships for all MRF players, maximum coverage in Racquetball Magazine, and MRF co-sanctioning & logo exposure at USAR Nationals.
MRF was also able to join forces with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) on a newly developed racquetball program for wounded warriors – those service members injured in combat. It is one of our priorities at the MRF to provide a portion of our rehabilitative services to these wounded warriors and offer them the opportunity to learn and ultimately compete in the sport of the racquetball.
To date, over 34,000 members of our nation’s armed forces have been physically wounded at war and studies estimate that more than 300,000 will suffer from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. In this year, MRF’s aim to start rehabilitative programs on several military bases to teach wounded warriors the fundamentals of racquetball, which in hopes will speed up their recovery rehabilitative efforts. We have had several conversations with key personnel in this matter and hopefully within this year ending, we will be given the approval and funding to launch these new programs. Please see some attached supporting letters for more details of our progress…
Here are a few great testimonials and endorsement letters supporting our venture:
We are making tremendous strides in military racquetball and definitely hitting our target goals for this year, but still much more work is required. If you are interested in joining our team on some special upcoming projects, please contact us via e-mail to see how you are able to get involved. Stay tuned for more exciting news to follow.
It is a complete honor to be the Executive Director of this organization and I look forward to seeing you on the courts somewhere in the near future!
Military Racquetball Federation
Feb 19, 2010
A chance meeting with the former Secretary of State!
Steve Harper with Dr. Condoleezza Rice
(former Secretary of State)
Two weeks ago while I was at Oklahoma State University (OSU) attending a Veteran Enteruenership Program, I had opportunity to speak with Dr. Condoleezza Rice (Former -Sec of State).
Coin of Glory
It was an amazing time, a moment that I will never forget.... She spoke on fully supporting the troops in both of the wars, while our Nation's efforts are definitely valued and a worthy cause!
Fort Benning, GA
(Steven Harper – Executive Director of MRF at Fort Benning, GA)
During the Holiday Season I had a chance to reflect on what MRF had accomplished in 2009, and it really amazed me on the achievements thus far! It was an extremely exciting year for military racquetball.
- MRF met with the Armed Forces Sports Council Working Group in June to gain their support on bringing back the Armed Forces Racquetball Championships for Active Duty personnel.
- MRF partnered with the San Diego USO to host an outdoor racquetball demonstration at Marine Corps Depot Recruit Base in July where service members and their families joined our outdoor festivities.
- MRF sanctioned two regional tournaments:
- Randolph AFB (San Antonio, TX – April). This was MRF’s first time visiting Texas and it was a sold out, first rate tournament. Players loved this area and tournament so much, that Randolph AFB has already scheduled a follow-up tournament in 2010.
- Fort Myer Army Base (Washington DC – September). This was MRF’s first time in the DC area as well. The hospitality and support at this event was overwhelming and for the first time in military racquetball history, MRF was recognized as the military racquetball organization presenting a wreath at the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Rhonda Rajsich & Steven Harper at the 1st Military Racquetball Clinic
held at Naval Base San Diego, CA
- MRF also assisted in several One-day Shootouts on military bases
- Hurlburt Field AFB (Fort Walton Beach, FL), NAS Whidbey Island (Whidbey Island, WA), Fort Hood (Killeen, TX), Fort Stewart (Hinesville, GA), Joint Base Balad (Iraq)
- MRF conducted an 8-week beginner racquetball course at Naval Base San Diego which included Rhonda Rajsich as a guest speaker
- MRF partnered with Balboa Naval Hospital (San Diego) to work directly with Wounded Warriors injured in combat as a pilot for our Wounded Warrior Project initiative.
- Our momentum has definitely increased with the partnership of several other recognized racquetball organizations throughout the year:- USA Racquetball (USAR)
- World Outdoor Racquetball (WOR)
- National Masters Racquetball Association (NMRA)
- Classic Professional Racquetball Tour (CPRT)
- American European Racquetball Association (AERA)
- European Racquetball Federation (ERF)
- E-Force, Ektelon continued sponsorship for 2010
- 40By20.com Racquetball Forum
- MRF’s following has been strong and our number of supporters has increased exponentially.
Jack Hughes, Hank Marcus, and Peggine Tellez,
with the U.S. Flag presentation
We wrapped the year up with our National Military Racquetball Championships on two military installations (Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Recruit Depot).
Along with a highly successful tournament, one moment that made the event special was the presenting of Jack Hughes, Peggine Tellez, and Hank Marcus with US Flags that were flown onboard the USS RONALD REAGAN and the guest speaker, a trailblazer of military racquetball in the San Diego area, CDR (Ret) Dean Buck.
2010 is definitely going to be another EXCITING Year! MRF has sanctioned and will be supporting our troops in Kuwait for their tournament taking place in January at Camp Arifjan, Army Central Command, Kuwait. In March, there will be the Northeastern Regional Open taking place at Joint Base Fort Dix, New Jersey. MRF is in the planning stages for three outdoor demonstrations at military bases and launching more instructional clinics for service members and their families. 2010 will be a Great Year for military racquetball!! See you on the courts….
Military Racquetball Federation (MRF)