Well, I finally got my arm out of a sling for a while and decided I better write a column before my boss decides to replace me.

As many of you know, I underwent rotator cuff surgery, and I have to say nothing I ever experienced hurt me as much. I had open-heart surgery and wasn’t in the pain I had for a shoulder injury. I have a fairly good tolerance for pain, but it took some powerful drugs to keep me from crying.

I spent a week with my daughter and family with two grown grandsons sleeping beside me to make sure I didn’t do something stupid while under the influence.

For the past five weeks I have been sleeping in a recliner and still can’t lie in bed. I watch the Herald newspaper being delivered daily, and early.

As a person who is right-handed, learning to use my left was a bit of a challenge. Where was my buddy Larry O’Keeffe providing lessons on how to put on socks, tie shoes, and a few other things?

My only disappointment is not being able to bowl. Several friends of mine suggested bowling lefty. I can’t scratch my head with my left hand, as I learned during this stint. However I am scheduled to bowl Nationals in June and may not be able to make it due to physical therapy.

Not being able to drive the past month has put a damper on most things, but I am free to drive now and I plan to make my rounds to all the centers right after New Year’s.

The Greater Killeen-Fort Hood USBC Association held its annual awards banquet and the following individuals were recognized for their outstanding support:

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR, Kristie Duerre: Duerre has always bowled with the Killeen Cove Hood Unified League as the partner of Wendy Dillon. She has helped guide Wendy and other Special Olympians into improving her skills and not to get upset when missing the pins. She is always there for the Special Olympians. She reminds them that it is not all about winning but to have good sportsmanship and, most of all, FUN.

COACH OF THE YEAR, Bernie Gill: Bernie gives his time freely, coaching youth bowlers both at Phantom Warrior Lanes and the Copperas Cove High School bowling team. He is a Bronze Level Coach and has used all level of skills to help with the youngest to the oldest youth bowlers. He has used his knowledge to assist other coaches, providing advice to them to assist a bowler. He arrives early and stays late, assisting youth with the basic knowledge of bowling skills. Youth bowlers look for Gill on aweekly basis to continue to improve their skills.

BOWLER OF THE YEAR, Karin Ciesiolka: Ciesiolka’s performance speaks for itself. This season she has rolled three 800 series, three 300 games, one 299 game, 12 700 series, 14 650 series, and three 11-in-a-rows. Her sportsmanship is outstanding. Watching her in action she is one tough competitor. She is definitely a team player. She would be a role model for anyone to follow. She coaches at Hallmark Lanes and is the Ellison High School bowling coach.

SENIOR BOWLER OF THE YEAR, John Haynes: Haynes has regularly brought two to four bowlers to league play that do not have other forms of transportation. Without transportation these bowlers would not be able to participate. When he is not available to bring the bowlers, he ensures that each bowler has transportation. Haynes currently bowls in three leagues — one at each of the local bowling centers. He sets a wonderful example for others to follow. His sportsmanship is above reproach. He is constantly striving for the ultimate 300 game but regardless of the score he does his best each week and is constantly encouraging the other senior bowlers.

MERIT AWARD, Charles McIntosh: McIntosh served as tournament director and worked closely with the board, the bowlers, and the local proprietors. He ensured the best interest of the bowlers was addressed by the board. He worked each tournament as well as participating in the tournaments. He donated items to raise money for the BVL Fund. He is currently working with the Temple VA Hospital to organize a wheelchair bowling league in the area with hopes of having this league in the next few years.

Unfortunately, our association lost many close friends during the year. Those folks are Marty Wolfe (January), Cherry McIntosh (February), Freddie Dewald and Glenn Bock (March), Jim Hopper (June), Edna Dawson, Hall of Famer Chuck Davis and Marty Thornberry (July), Stacy Cannon (September), Millie Brown and Joe Boehm (October) and John Bunch and Michelle Orr (November).

From the Wright House to yours: May you have a happy and healthy New Year and I’ll see you on the lanes.

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