Fellowship Award Winners and Call for Nominees
At the most recent IGBO Annual event in San Antonio, we were honored the newest recipients of the Fellowship Award: Greg Edenfield from Charlotte, NC and Gabe Him from Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Although he shies away from recognition, Greg Edenfield demonstrates through every day of his life how one person can positively impact the lives of countless others.
For the past 25 years, Greg spends two weeks every year volunteering, including:
- An LGBTQ Tennis league
- City ambassador for the Junior Olympics
- Team captain and on the city and district rules committee for the US Tennis Association
- World T.E.A.M. Sports, an organization that empowers the lives of disabled men, women and children through sports
Additionally, he gives his time and resources to local community charitable work, including:
- AIDS Walk
- Charlotte Pride
- Hospice volunteer outreach
- PBS fundraising
- Working with organizations that help homeless single women access permanent, affordable housing
- Working with organizations that promote health and hope for adolescent mothers and their children
As for specific IGBO activities, Greg has been an IGBO bowler for over 30 years. In 1991 he relocated to NC and had a hard time finding a gay league, so he contacted the local gay community hotline and found that his new city did, in fact, have one gay league. After he joined, Greg became an officer, had the league join IGBO, and was instrumental in growing the league from 6 bowlers to over 88 IGBO members. Greg played a key role starting a new tournament in 2017.
Through all of that, Greg’s ongoing commitment to community service did not waiver; in fact, he became more involved in IGBO, including serving as a representative beginning in 1993, then as a board member from 2002-2013. During that time, Greg served many board positions, including committee chair, regional director, and President. As if that weren’t enough, he has also served as a committee member on rules, by-laws, audit and federal compliance committees, not just for IGBO, but for many of the charitable and sports organizations mentioned earlier.
Greg’s life has been one of service. He has dedicated his life to ensuring others—many of whom he may never meet—are able to live better, healthier, and happier lives. How he finds the time to do what he does is anyone’s guess, but we’re go glad he does it. It is our distinct honor to recognize such a selfless, giving spirit. Thanks, Greg, for all you do! May we all strive to be so generous with our time and skills.
Gabe is living proof that nice guys finish first. Throughout his life he has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments and years of service to others. For example, Gabe has volunteered and/or supported multiple charities in Florida, including:
- ALS Foundation
- Children cancer centers
- Council for gay teens for suicide prevention
- Homeless shelters
- S.H.A.R.E. (local German Shepard help and rescue effort)
- Scholarships for youth bowlers
Years ago, Gabe made it his mission to increase the visibility (and attendance) for bowling in South Florida, and over the past decade, that work has paid off. Today, his league boasts an integrated community of gay and straight bowlers that is large and growing, proof that through commitment, hard work, and collaboration, barriers can be broken down and diversity can become the norm, not the exception.
As for IGBO, he’s practically done it all. Gabe has bowled for over 20 years; during that time, he served as an IGBO Representative, and has held virtually every IGBO committee position imaginable, ranging from volunteer to Director of his local IGBO tournament. Years ago, Gabe had an idea of supporting other tournaments by ensuring that bowlers who wanted to attend, but could not afford to go, were in fact able to attend. This idea has grown for the past three years and now stretches across the country, with tournament directors collaborating on other innovative ways to increase attendance and ensure that those who want to bowl can do so. In other words, Gabe’s work exemplifies Fellowship, Unity and Communication at the highest levels.
Ask anyone who knows Gabe, and you’ll soon pick up on common themes. He is dependable, responsible, honest and courteous. He is a huge asset to any organization. He has a strong work ethic. He is a leader. Every word, it seems, about Gabe is a positive one.
Oh, by the way, he has a full-time job too; in fact, as a pilot, Gabe works very demanding, stressful, and long days, and yet he still finds the time to help others.
On top of all we’ve described, Gabe helps plan the annual National Gay Pilot Organization in P-town. He has also received The Broward County Hall of Fame service community award, he serves on the USBC board, and has maintained a committed relationship for over 15 years. We’re not sure when he finds time to sleep, but we’re so grateful to know and celebrate him with the Fellowship Award. If the world has a few more people like Gabe, we’d all be better off.
Congratulations, Greg and Gabe!
We Need You! (Call for Fellowship nominations)
So you’ve read about this year’s recipients, and you think, “I know someone who should also be recognized.” That’s great—we want to hear from you!
The IGBO Fellowship Award is IGBO's highest honor. Since 1984, this prestigious award has been presented to fellow bowlers across our organization who embody the IGBO ideals of Unity, Fellowship and Communication.
We know that there are many out there who should be considered for this award; however, without your help, we don’t yet know who they are. Take a look around your league. Who goes the extra mile? Who demonstrates leadership? Who is actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community? Who goes out of their way to ensure others are welcomed, cared for and supported? That’s who we want to hear about. That’s who we want to honor next year in Seattle.
To nominate a fellow bowler from your local community, please complete the Fellowship Nomination form located on the IGBO website at www.IGBO.org. See the Forms section at the bottom of the homepage.
Thanks for your time. We hope to hear from you soon. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Todd Denmark and Earl Haney
Co-Chairs, Fellowship Committee