Vern Tessier is the founding father of this competition. His passion and enthusiasm is evident is every aspect of the competition. Over the years, he has attracted and mentored many volunteers, each of whom have benefited from their involvement and experience. The competition has been recognised as providing a unique offer world wide and has been a model for many subsequent successful competitions, especially in Victoria. Vern has been recognised for his commitment and passion, basketball knowledge and his ability to make a difference. Many of his volunteer group have also been given amazing opportunities and recognition over the years. Here’s a list of some of these achievements:
- At many separate Australian Championships our members have received national awards from Basketball Australia for their ongoing involvement, contribution and evolution of Intellectually Disabled basketball. These follow recognition at the state level from Basketball Victoria.
- Vern Tessier is a Sport and Recreation Volunteer award winner and the Department of Human Services – Celebration of Ability award winner for Volunteerism. Vern also carried the Olympic torch during the Torch Relay prior to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
- Sally Duncan has won Basketball Australia’s National Volunteer award twice for her efforts with Intellectually Disabled Basketball through her role as Manager of the Australian Pearls, and also was awarded the Australian Sport Commission 2006 Volunteer of the Year award.
- Both Vern and Sally have been inducted into the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame for their contribution to the extension of basketball (Volunteer Award).
- The competition has been recognised as Australia’s biggest sporting activity for the intellectual disabled community and awarded by Basketball Australia for its unique and long term success.
- In April 2014, Vern was recognised by Basketball Victoria, winning the 2013 Volunteer of the Year for Disability Programs.
- We are also very proud of the long term commit shown by many of our Volunteers – David McFarlane, Maurice Brodie and David Straghair (all Board members) were awarded 15 year long service recognition certificates by Basketball Victoria in 2017. Peter and Sally Duncan received the same recognition in 2018.
All of our volunteers give their time and their passion to help the competition, not because they need to, but because they want to – and that’s what makes this environment, this competition so much fun to be a part of. Vern continues to be a driving force, always available to provide guidance, wisdom , challenge and opportunity.
If you’d like to join this group, please have a chat to us. We have big roles and we have small roles but every role is valued and needed.