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Volunteers work 'for love of the game'

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Tina Foltz sometimes got a hug on Friday in return for wrapping an ankle or handing out an ice bag for a tender muscle.

Foltz, a nurse at Hays Medical Center most days, was volunteering in the first aid room at Gross Memorial Coliseum for the Special Olympics Basketball and Cheerleading Tournament.

First aid staff members don't give medications or take blood pressures. They have certain standards and procedures to follow, treating minor injuries such as sprains or scratches.

Foltz said she goes through a lot of Ace wraps and ice packs at the tournament.

"I work in ICU (at HaysMed), here when I wrap somebody's ankle, they give me a hug," she said.

The athletes are "great with each other -- coming to the first aid room to check on each other."

Foltz has volunteered for several years because "we should give back more than we get."

Volunteers also help make the games go smoothly.

About 10 members of the Hays Luth-terian Youth Group, middle and high school students from the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, spent Friday afternoon keeping score for the games in one of the auxiliary gyms.

They also helped with one of the Hays team practices earlier this month, said Megan Hopp, the youth leader.

This is Hopp's first year leading the group, and she's "trying to get them out into the community."

Lane Clark, a Hays High junior and basketball player, and Jon Beeson, a Fort Hays State University student, were volunteer referees for the game between the Air Capital flyers and the JCPRD rangers.

Beeson said he volunteers "for love of the game."

Crystal Katz, Lawrence, has been volunteering at the Hays tournament since her sister started competing about 15 years ago.

"We do it as a family," Katz said.

Katz does whatever is needed; Friday afternoon, she was taking down signs as the tournament concluded. Her mother works checking in the volunteers.

Besides Gross Memorial Coliseum and its auxiliary gyms, tournament activities were scheduled at Hays High School, Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, Hays Recreation Commission and the old HHS gym in the Rockwell Administration Center building.

All facilities were needed to accommodate the nearly 1,200 athletes from 37 organizations attending the annual tournament. The tournament concluded Friday due to winter weather.