2004 Texas Star Recipients

Arlene Weingarten - Unit 174

Unit 174 has moved rapidly into the 21st century on the wings of our 2004 Texas Star Award recipient. No one has done more to enhance the bridge experience of Houston area players in recent years than Arlene Weingarten. She has created two newsletters, one for Unit 174 in general and the other for bridge at the community centers, which have had increasingly wide distribution via email. She also maintains a website which updates the results from 13 area bridge clubs and has links to two others. Both the newsletters and the website are informative, accurate, user-friendly, and very professional.

Arlene is extremely knowledgeable about computer usage, and uses her publications to enlighten all of her subscribers on how to enhance their computer experience.

As if this wasn't enough, Arlene serves as Chair of the Unit's Nomination Committee. She has to recruit a committee, and then find candidates to run for the Unit Board of Directors. Arlene and her committee have consistently come up with a slate of candidates who are qualified to serve on the board.

Dorsey Shaw Hensel - Unit 176

Many times we hear the phase "Everyone loves Dorsey." Dorsey's contribution to bridge started in a small Wyoming town where, at the tender age of 25, she gave her first bridge lesson. They loved her the and, here many year's later, she still has a devoted following. And why not? Each year she continues to take an active role in whatever is called for to further this marvelous game that she loves. Her list of involvement for the betterment of bridge goes on and on

Over the past 15 years, she has been the featured speaker at Sectional and Regional tournaments where the primary focus was the novice player. She has served, many times, at the Partnership Desk. At three Dallas Regional tournaments she has been the Hospitality Chairperson where she prepared and served food for some 200-250 persons per day. She has served as Unit Education Coordinator. She has coordinated the novice players' activities at many tournaments. Her Unit participation covers service on Ethics and Nomination Committees. Perhaps one of her greatest challenges and accomplishments took place at the 1997 Dallas National Tournament. As Hospitality Chairperson, she personally prepared and served food for some 50 volunteers, and this was for 10 consecutive days. Over the years, Dorsey has served on Unit Boards and is currently the Unit 176 Board Vice-President. At each Unit games, this little lady may be seen scurrying about filling coffee pots and doing whatever is necessary for all players to feel welcome and to have a pleasant evening of bridge. In 2002, Dorsey was elected to the National Goodwill Committee and wears her pin proudly. She is a "can-do" person as evidenced by one occasion where, at the last minute, she was told that four more candidates were needed for the slate of officers. This occurred at a Unit game and in 15 minutes she had four worthy members who agreed to run. Currently she authors an Ethics column for the Unit's monthly newsletter. Yes, bridge continues to be her number one priority. She is known by all for her infectious smile, her cheery "How are you doing?" and nine times out ten, she will call you by name. At far-away tournaments she is known as "that nice lady from Dallas." She has been and continues to be a wonderful ambassador for bridge.

Steve Shirey - Unit 183

Steve has been instrumental in helping our unit foster and encourage a large group of new players. He directs three games per week, two of which are 199er games at which he give a free short lesson each week as well as he fields all questions during the game. He is always helping new players with their games, rulings and partnerships. He spends many hours a day on the phone and/or the internet answering questions.

Steve is our Unit Coordinator for the NAOP and GNT events. He schedules the games and works with the other directors. He sets up the unit finals and works with the District 16 NAOP and GNT directors. Our NAOP has grown from having the event in one day to having to hold them even on three separate days (this separation encourages the Flight C players to come out and play and results in Unit 183 having more tables in Flight C competition than some units have for all their flights!) Unit 183 recently held its first 299er tournament and Steve was the director and did such a great job, the players begged for two a year! He also directs and plays/coordinates the Unit Pro-Am Games and sets up Club Appreciation team games for the unit. He prepares flyers for tournaments and special events and gets them distributed appropriately. He gets information on the internet for current events and works closely with our web masters.

As a diamond life master with almost 11,000 points, Steve is recognized nationally. He has had articles published in the Bridge World and has been playing professionally and teaching private and group lessons for the past 20 years. He is presently serving his second term on our Board of Directors and is currently President of the Board.

Steve grew up in a musical family - his father is a professor of music and is Choral Director at TCU while his mother is teacher of higher mathematics. Not surprisingly, Steve is trained in music and has concert qualifications in several instruments. Although he was New Mexico State Chess Champion at one time, he now enjoys his work in bridge, sports, his dog (No Trump), reading, and he will indulge in a little casino gambling at tournaments. His wife, Darlene, is a wonderful help-mate and he is a devoted husband.

Martha DeCou - Unit 187

There is much to say about Martha. She is a past president of the Unit, has been either chairman or co-chairman of the last three regionals - she volunteered for this last one. Her name has been proposed for the Texas Star several times but as she was chairman of our awards committee she absolutely refused to be the nominee. She has now taken over the as Tournament Coordinator for Unit 187 so finally we can nominate her whether she likes it or not!!! She also has been the Special games chairman trying to encourage attendance for Unit games on Tuesday nights - we have so many in the older group that the unit games have been difficult to keep going.

Martha has been the backbone of our Unit for years. She cheerfully takes on tasks. She has scheduled special games for the unit for several years and has turned the corner on the money bleed from our Unit games. This accomplishment is spectacular, since our Unit games were losing over $2,000 per year.

In addition she has taken over the tournament chairman's job. Don't need to tell you how much our Unit needs to honor her for doing this!!

Martha is always cheerful and complimentary to all players and has a great table presence. We should all strive to have the disposition and insight as to what makes bridge fun as well as a competitive sport that Martha displays.

As you see Martha is a very valuable asset to our Unit - only wish there were a 100 more like her!!!

Rose Terry - Unit 197

Rose has been a member of our Unit for over 40 years and has served us in many capacities. She a past president of the Unit and has chaired several tournaments for us. She has directed many, many games for us at little or no compensation. She is nice to everyone and always tries to accommodate all our requests and peculiarities. She has taken the time to learn the new computer scoring program and is always there to help anyone who may need help with the program and scoring. She also helped with serving food during our last Sectional Tournament. She has also taught several beginning Bridge classes and has brought several new members into our Unit.

Rose has also volunteered to be partnership chairman for our April Regional. Rose said "Why not - I get partners for people almost every game." She is sure to do an excellent job in that capacity. We are so lucky to have Rose.

Marilou Powell - Unit 207

Originally from Plainview, she met her husband (Colonel Bill) at Texas Tech, where she received two post graduate degrees to match his two. After a 26-year career as an architect with the U. S. Army, the Powells moved to Round Rock in 1978 and though she and Bill are both avid golfers and skiers, Marilou found time for another hobby, duplicate bridge. As usual, she approached the game with great competence and dedication, and is now a Diamond Life Master.

Marilou was elected to a 3-year term on our unit board, and served as president during these years. She ushered our unit into the computer age, single-handedly entering the names and addresses into disks of all 700 of us. This really facilitated the production of our annual directory as well as the processing of other documents. Another huge responsibility she took upon herself was moving our unit storage facility from an unsatisfactory location to better, more convenient quarters. Marilou was also co-chairman of our 1995 Regional, and her hard work and efficiency was a major factor in establishing our unit's solvency.

Even after the expiration of her term on the board, Marilou continues in her service to our unit. Currently she is our Recorder. Annually she chairs the committee to nominate the slate of prospective board members. Moreover, she will chair the hospitality committee for our next Regional. In short, she cheerfully volunteers to help us out wherever she is needed.

One final point. Marilou's table presence and behavior during bridge sessions is absolutely impeccable. She is never unkind to her partners nor to her opponents regardless of the provocation. She is a fine lady.

Teri Tedford - Unit 209

She hasn't played very long but has been a rising star in the bridge world as she became a life master this past November, 2003 at the Corpus Christ Regional.

Terri has taught bridge lessons and directed in Odessa, as well as direct on several bridge cruises. She formed a novice bridge group that meets every Friday, which she directs, whereby a novice plays with a life master. She has brought several new players into ACBL through these efforts. She is a member of ACBL. At this particular time, she is serving her second year as president of Unit 209.

All of the above and a lot of things she does above and beyond the call of duty. She is a good partner to have at the bridge table as well.

Dottie Pirkle - Unit 225

Dottie Pirkle cut her "bridge teeth" playing as a young girl at her step-mother's studio in Dennison, Texas. She got her first boost in bridge teaching from Harry Weiss in 1965. He was teaching beginning bridge at Sanger-Harris and asked Dottie to teach the intermediate class at Valley View Studio which he and his wife, Claire, owned.

This started a 40 year career of teaching bridge that crossed Dallas and East Texas that has touched over 6100 lives of players.

In addition to Valley View Classes, Dottie taught basic bridge at Highland Park Methodist Church for 10 years; Highland Park Presbyterian Church for 5 years; The Jewish Community Center for 5 years; The Dallas Women's Club for 7 years; the Dallas County Club for 5 years; Northwood Hills County Club for 5 years and Richland Jr. College in addition to numerous private lessons.

When Bud Creed took over Valley View Studio in Dallas, Dottie started a novice game of 9 to 23 tables for him and continued giving lesson sometimes in 3 to 4 places a week.

In 1990 she moved to East Texas (Athens) and rented the studio she still runs and has continued teaching classes. It is remarkable that a small town of 10,000 has its own studio. She treats her beginning students to the first 5 lessons free. She has taught over 1100 students in the area including classes at the Athens Country Club, St Jude's Church and the Cedar Creek County Club.

She is beloved by her students - every year is feted with a very well attended birthday party; this year there were 10 1/2 tables. She has the reputation of being a fair by-the-book director as well. In July, 1990, Dottie was presented a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Contribution to the Novice Program by ACBL.

The Novices are her first love. She holds a limited game for them weekly prior to which she holds a question and answer session for half an hour helping reinforce bridge rules, convention applications, understanding of the play of the game, bidding procedures and a number of other bridge actions and reactions.

On June 30, 1993 Dottie was recognized by ACBL as a Registered Bridge Teacher. She reached Silver Life Master in November, 1997. She is considered a very capable player in her own right.

As a teacher, she is excellent; easily holding the attention of her students and encouraging them to continue increasing their skills at the bridge table.

Dottie has inspired many people to take up this marvelous game we are so addicted to with a book to back up every lesson. She will probably be remembered for her request at the beginning of each game by saying "Let's all play good bridge."

David Pennington - Unit 233

As executive director of the Cultural Activities Center in Temple, David made room rent rates affordable for three weekly sanctioned duplicate bridge clubs beginning with the 300 Bridge Club 10 years ago, and he has actively supported bridge in Central Texas since.

He was elected to Unit board of directors in 1997 for a three-year term and was elected by the board as lst vice president from 1997 to 1998 and president from 1998 to 1999. He was again elected to the board for a three-year term in 2001 and again elected by the board as president from 2001-2002 when he resigned from the board to become club manager/director of the 500 Bridge Club on December 23, 2002. He has also been conducting bridge classes since that time, resulting in recruitment of a number of new ACBL members.

As Unit president he effectively proposed an amendment to the by-laws to provide for more equitable representation of the board of directors from the three major areas in the Unit. The amendment also provided for absentee voting by unit members who were not planning to attend the annual Christmas party and election of new members of the board. The proposed amendment passed unanimously and is now in place for our annual elections.

David and Jo Ann Satterthwaite organized the first 299er tournament in the Unit which was held October 16 and 17, 1999, and has been held each year since. At each of these very popular successful tournaments, David served as tournament chairman.

In December 2001, David exposed us to his outstanding talent at the Unit Christmas party by decorating the playing area with bridge cards in various Christmas arrangements containing club directors' names and a white Christmas tree decorated with playing cards containing bridge members' names.

In December 2002, he served as hospitality chairman for the annual Unit Christmas party. The many hours of hard work, arranging for the caterer, purchasing desserts, preparing hors of 'oeuvres, as well as decorating the playing area made our party enjoyable and special for over 100 members and guests. He was co-chairman for the December 7, 2003, Unit Christmas party.

He served as hospitality chairman for the Heart of Texas sectional tournament April 4-6, 2003, again receiving many compliments for the continuous snacks, evening refreshments, and catered meal which were provided. He also took winning players' pictures to be sent to SCORECARD.

When David retired as CAC's executive director, he made arrangement with the staff for a key to keep the building open for special Unit bridge games and duplicate club games on week-ends or when the CAC is closed, as he had in the past.

In addition to his employment as the CAC's executive director, David had an outstanding career as a high school band director and continues to serve as a judge of bands in various states.

Our Unit is fortunate to have a person with his talent and energy. As a Unit volunteer he has worked steadfastly at the Unit level to promote bridge and to further Unit activities.

Susan Brower- Unit 353

Susan and her husband Col. Larry Brower came to Wichita Falls with the military. During their tenure here they opened an antique shop which helped in their decision to stay in Wichita Falls after Col. Brower retired. Susan and Larry are sought after not only in Texas, but in Oklahoma as well as very knowledgeable antique appraisers for large estates.

Susan has been an asset to our Wichita Falls Bridge Unit 353. Susan only started bridge lessons in 1995, and from that time on she has been an avid bridge player. She has completed the Teacher Accreditation Program (TAP) Easy Bridge Accreditation, A.C.B.L. Director's Certification and is a Bronze Life Master.

For several years she has written our articles for the Scorecard, in 2003 Susan was the Chairperson for our local tournament, and she has also been directing our Unit games. Susan is always willing to help out with our local clubs when they need someone to run their games, and is a vital asset to our unit.