A Couple That Volunteers Together, Stays Together

By Sarah Newman

The Meijer State Games of Michigan would not be possible without help from our volunteer Tournament Directors. We greatly value their commitment to the athletes and to the Games. It is important to acknowledge the hard work they do. We are proudly putting Tournament Directors of Wrestling, Steve and Wendi Gross, in our spotlight.

Steve and Wendi have an extensive background in the sport of wrestling. Steve has been involved in the sport for over 45 years as a wrestler, coach, parent, and official. After graduating college, Steve went back to Ferris State University to compete in an alumni meet. Wendi went to support him and was fully invested in the sport ever since. They currently serve on the executive board at MYWAY Wrestling and have been helping with the Meijer State Games for the past few years. 

 
Wrestling - Winter Games 2017 by Allan Rowe
Photo by Allan Rowe

What made Steve and Wendi want to be Tournament Directors for wrestling, and why do they continue?
Steve and Wendi love to help adolescents in any way they can. They both thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. With their background in wrestling, they know all the ins and outs of the sport and love to be around it. Being Tournament Directors seemed like the perfect job for them.

They continue to volunteer because they thoroughly enjoy watching kids grow through the wonderful sport that they both love. When asked how long they will volunteer Steve responded, “We will continue as long as we can make a difference in their lives.”


When did they first start volunteering?
Steve and Wendi started volunteering almost 20 years ago. It started when Steve was coaching their youngest son, Jordan, at MYWAY Wrestling in Ionia. There was a tournament where help was needed, so Wendi stepped up. She ended up loving to help out with the sport instead of just watching from the sidelines.

 
                                                                        (Photo by MYWAY Wrestling)
What is their favorite thing about doing this together?
The bottom line is that they love to spend time together. Helping the youth and being around the sport that they love are added bonuses. This role also gives them an opportunity to spend time with their friends, as well as making new ones.
 
                                                                                                                          
They both agree that besides spending time together, their other favorite thing about volunteering is the joy that kids have when they wrestle. “The smile on the faces of the kids after they get off the mat is amazing,” Wendi says.
 

Photo by Allan Rowe

What is their most memorable experience from an event?
Wendi described a time that she holds close to her heart. When she and Steve used to do mat side pairing, Wendi would always have the youngest kids. A young boy from Allendale was always on her mat. He never failed to say “hello” to her in the mornings, and “goodbye” before he left. Around Christmas time, several years after the boy had moved on, Wendi received a card from him and his family. The card contained a collage of his wrestling. The boy is in high school now; Wendi says she still thinks about him often, and still checks the paper for his name every week. It means a lot to both Steve and Wendi to be able to make an impact in young children’s lives.
 
 

For information about volunteering, click here.
To Nominate a Volunteer of the Year, click here.
For information about the 2017 State Games of America, click here.
 
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Lake Michigan Credit Union proudly supports volunteers. 

In August 2017, the Meijer State Games of Michigan will play host to the
2017 State Games of America.
 
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.
 
Interested in our Summer Games?
www.StateGamesofMichigan.com/summergames

Interested in our Winter Games?
www.StateGamesofMichigan.com/wintergames