Charles Gill – 2011 Nadine Wood Volunteer Member of the Year
Each year the ACBL President honors a Member with the title of Nadine Wood Volunteer Member of the Year. The title is given to a Member who exhibits the effort and selfless giving that makes ACBL Volunteers the best in the world. This year’s honor recipient is the very deserving Charles Gill of St. Petersburg, FL.
Hailing from Toronto, ON, his work took him to St. Petersburg in 1999 and shortly after he became serious about playing bridge.
“I always had an interest in reading the bridge column in the local newspaper, but only played once in a London, Ontario club before I moved to Florida,” said Gill. “When I moved someone told me I could play online. I printed off the Standard American Yellow Card, laid it across my desk, and attempted to bid properly online. Discovering I could play online was a great thing.”
Gill transitioned from online play to club play and within a few years, he became the president and club manager of the St. Petersburg Bridge Club. At the time, the club had approximately 250 members and he has since grown that number to 500.
“We have a program that appeals to a lot of people and I think seeing that success makes me want to contribute even more.”
ACBL 2011 President, Craig Robinson decided to select Charles for the honor after visiting his club on his “100 Clubs in 100 Days” tour last year. Not only is Gill the club’s president and manager, he runs the partnership desk, directs when needed, is on the National Board of Governors and the Unit 128 Board of Directors. However, what really impressed Robinson was the way Gill goes above and beyond with regard to Member communication.
“Each week he sends out these great emails to his Members with the game schedule and anything special that may be going on at the club,” said Robinson. “It really keeps the Members interested and informed.”
One of Robinson’s favorite emails centered on the Columbus Day activities at the club. Along with a schedule of events, Gill created this clever poem:
Columbus was sent by Isabella the queen,
Because of a book that she had seen,
Five Weeks to Winnng Bridge was it,
She wanted to play or she'd have a fit,
She'd know more with The Rodwell Files,
And so she had Columbus sail for miles,
Lucky for you, St. Petersburg is near,
Come to the club this week, you hear!
“I truly feel honored to have been given this award,” Gill gushed. “I have a wonderful life as a result of playing bridge and it’s a joy to be able to give back to bridge what it has given to me.”