In “Rally for Powless,” we hope to honor John Powless, who has done so much for all of us, including inspiring us with his amazingly long and successful career in tennis. The John Powless Tennis Center in Madison Wisconsin suffered heart-breaking damage in the devastating flood that hit the westside of Madison Monday night. John turned 86 on August 24. Let’s show our support for him and this wonderful family and help repair our beloved courts and facility. The JPTC has done so much for all of us…and now we are asking how we can return the love and support? This is how. Thank you so much.
Update: My name is Susan McDonald and I am not an employee of the JPTC or related to anyone who works there, just an avid tennis player who learned to play (and laugh and lose and get up and try again) at Powless. I'm a 64-year old retired attorney, living in Madison Wisconsin, who found joy with a tennis racket in my hand at a very advanced age. The wonderful thing about John, Jason and everyone at this club, is that they treat each player with respect, now matter who they are, where they come from or how terrible their backhand stroke. Each person is treated like a professional athlete....from the college stars who come for John's lessons to the old duffers who lose every ball over the fence.
Like everyone who has ever met the Powless family (and I mean 'family' in the broadest sense to include everyone who works at the club), I have an enduring appreciation and respect for the haven they have created at JPTC.
The unprecedented storm and resulting floods of August 20, 2018 did a huge amount of physical damage to the facility, uninsured due to the vagaries of flood insurance rules. The estimates for repair are overwhelming to this small family-run business.
Funds will be used to rebuild the building, repair courts and reopen for business....nothing fancy. Because the sewer system was overwhelmed in the storm, the water that inundated the building was filthy; dry wall needed to be removed throughout so that the studs of the building could dry, to prevent mold. All flooring has to be replaced throughout the building. There may have been damage to the electrical, as the water reached the level of the outlets. Phone service was lost. Furniture on the first floor was ruined. There was water on all eight indoor courts. All outdoor courts, including the clay courts, were damaged.
The goal is simply to make the space safe, habitable and functional once again. It's not the Ritz, and never will be. It's a blue collar bare bones space where tennis players are interested in one thing only: tennis.
Since I am not affiliated with the club, I am not making the decision how the money will be used. The need is great, and our donations, while wonderful and very much appreciated, are still a drop in the bucket of what is required. Repair estimates are several hundred thousand dollars at this point, and may rise to more as the crews are still demolishing the damage before a true assessment can be made.
I intend to withdraw the money and bring a check to JPTC of all the funds. I intend to personally donate additionally to reimburse the credit card fees so that 100% of each donation reaches the family. No money will be retained for later use.....everything will come to the JPTC (John or Sheree Powless or Jason Powless) and put at their disposal for their most immediate needs.