Thank You!

Words cannot express the gratitude we feel towards our volunteers here at First Tee — Triangle and the measurable impact that our volunteers have on us and our participants. We are fortunate enough to have community members willing to dedicate their time to delivering our mission. Our volunteers are the anchor of our chapter.

Volunteer of the Month 2023
October 2023: Allison Cooney

About Allison: I started playing golf at 8 years old. I learned the game through my Dad, who quickly became my favorite golf partner. I started playing competitive golf in middle school and high school. I earned a Division I college golf scholarship to Western Illinois University. I played competitively for four years at WIU and had the opportunity to travel around the United States playing the game I love. Throughout high school and college I taught multiple SNAG golf programs and gave golf lessons to kids in the community. This is where my passion for growing the game started. Once I graduated college I started my career in the Supply Management Development Program at John Deere and became the Assistant Girl Golf Coach at my alma mater, Geneseo High School. In my seven years as the assistant golf coach I had the opportunity to coach nearly 100 girls. I’m still an avid golfer today and enjoy spending my free time on the golf course and traveling with my husband Robert and dog Mia.

I relocated to the Raleigh area in May 2023 for a job within John Deere’s golf division. At this time, I had to give up coaching high school golf in Illinois. I knew I wanted to continue to give back to the game that has given me so much. My values aligned with those of The First Tee so it was a natural fit. I’ve since completed multiple programs for 7-11 year olds at Knights Play. My favorite part of coaching through The First Tee is seeing the growth in confidence each kid gains as the program progresses. As their confidence grows, so does their love for the game. It is incredibly rewarding to see the kids develop their skills on and off the course and know we are helping build the future of golf.

I’ve worked for John Deere for the last 8 years in various Supply Management, Operations and Marketing roles. I’m currently the Golf Market Development Management for John Deere Golf. I have responsibility for market development for John Deere Golf products in areas outside of the US, Canada and Europe. I heavily focus on our Asian, South African and Caribbean markets. I work to strengthen John Deere Golf’s brand and develop strategic relationships within the market. My job allows me to work with our customers, channel partners, and John Deere employees globally.

I’m honored to have been chosen for the volunteer of the month and look forward to continuing to support The First Tee in 2024.

September 2023: Nicholas Stewart
About Nicholas: I earned my undergraduate degree from NC State and I am currently completing the NC State Jenkins MBA program. I work at Credit Suisse and run the CS Sports and Social Golf Division. As a Class A PGA member, I have always been passionate about growing the game of golf and the First Tee is the perfect opportunity to do so. I believe in First Tee’s mission to use golf’s traditions of integrity and teamwork to empower young golfers. At the same time, I am inspired by the way children approach challenges on and off the course with enthusiasm and strength.  I am privileged to coach Monday Night Prestonwood classes, We Make Four and be on the Game Changers Council. I love going to golf tournaments and have attended all 4 majors, the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup.
August 2023: Daniel Legge
About Daniel: I live in Cary and originally am from Buffalo. I have a passion for positively impacting youth. Being positively impacted at a young age by coaches really helped shape me into the person I am today. I hope to pass that on to our future through the First Tee! When not volunteering, I have a passion for walking 9 holes and both types of football. Glad I can help grow the First Tee program and instill passion for the kids!!
Daniel Legge - August Volunteer of the Month.jpeg
Daniel volunteers with our Ages 5-6 at Falls Village and does such a great job teaching golf and making it fun for our youngest golfers! Thanks, Daniel, for all you do for our program and kids!

July 2023: Terressa Zimmerman

Terresa moved to the Raleigh/Durham area from southern California about 7 years ago and now can’t imagine living anywhere else. She is a member of the Country Club of Wakefield, a McConnell golf property, where she not only took up golfing, but became the first female starting announcer for the Korn Ferry Tour at the Rex Open. She is actively working on improving her golf game, though work does get in the way. She founded, and still runs, a men’s apparel business 11 years ago. She is an award winning author, is involved in multiple start-ups, and jumps in wherever she can to support, advise and mentor entrepreneurs. Terresa and husband, David, live in the region with their two Aussies, Whizkey and Tequila..
Terresa Zimmerman - July Volunteer of Month.jpg

June 2023: Daniel Brown

About Daniel:
I am a student who has become a teacher. I was introduced to golf through First Tee as a child and I have been playing for over 20 years now. This being my first year coaching has been a great experience for me. Golf is my passion and I enjoy making our games competitive with the kids’ different skill sets. This experience has been rewarding and I hope my two year old child will love the game as much as I do one day so I have a golf partner for life.
Daniel has been an amazing addition to our First Tee volunteer team. He is great with the kids and provides fun and engaging learning opportunities for them during class. Thank you, Daniel, for all you do to support our kids!
June Volunteer of Month - Daniel Brown.jpeg


May 2023: Ann Mykins

Ann took up golf during Covid and her interest quickly took her to the ladies clinic with Coaches Dave Hinton and Rick Hengstenberg at Tri Golf/First Tee. Watching them work with the First Tee kids inspired her to get involved and every week it’s a joy to watch our kids grow in character and golf!
Ann hardly ever misses a class, is always early, and brings name tags each week to help us learn the kids’ names! We are so grateful to have Ann on our team – thank you Ann for all you do to inspire our kids!
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April 2023: Chris Koss

Chris is the General Manager of Chick-fil-A South Square in Durham, where he spends a lot of time developing young leaders in what is usually their first job. His goal is to become the owner operator of his own Chick-fil-A. He enjoys playing golf and introducing his two boys to the game. That’s how he became involved with First Tee. As a parent first, he loved the program and the life lessons that First Tee is trying to teach while also having fun playing a game that has no age limit or restriction. He is excited to continue to participate as a coach!
Chris volunteered at two different locations in Session 1- Knights Play and River Ridge. We are so thankful that Chris has been willing to give of his time and support and teach our participants! We are very proud to have Chris as a coach and a parent of our First Tee programs.


March 2023: Kathryn Vardzel

Kathryn Vardzel is from Charleston and has a nursing degree from the University of South Carolina. Kathryn was a RN in a Pediatric Emergency Department for 5 years and recently finished her Masters in Leadership. She now works in hospital administration and has been spending her free time Volunteering with First Tee – Triangle.

Because of her busy schedule, Kathryn jumps in each week as a floating coach always willing to support whichever facility needs the most assistance. Over the last several weeks, she has worked with participants at River Ridge and Falls Village. Kathryn is a natural leader, takes initiative, and First Tee kids have already been tremendously impacted because of her involvement.

Adult Volunteer of the Year

2023 – Nicholas Stewart

2022 – Weezie Duckett, Ebony Dill, & Bob Nowoc

2021 – Elyssa Nastalski & John Bok

2020 – Kim Shope

2019 – Dan Sawyer & Hyla Wooldridge

2018 – Bill Alfano & John McDonald

2017 – Peter Pront & Sam Hodges

2016 – Chris Abbate & Wayne House

2015 – Anthony Laffoley & Bill Nave

2014 – Dan Moore & Ben Spiker

2013 – Staci Creech & Doug Samson

2012 – Terry Fleitz

2011 – John Mitchell

2010 – James Gerhart

Junior Volunteer of the Year

2023 – Parisa Majumdar

2022 – Tyler Spriggs

2021 – Aubrey Littrell

2020 – Jiya Patel

2019 – Tyla McAffity

2018 – Jiya Patel

2017 – Laurenz Gonzales

2016 – Jared Cross

2015 – Kelsey Selna

2014 – Andrew Minshew

2013 – Jonathan Paulson

Parent Volunteer of the Year

2023 – Christopher Koss

2022 – Jeffrey Stelmach

2021 – Dana Frazier & Heather Rand

2020 – Jimmy Conder

2019 – Roger Dattilo

2018 – Ben Ceranowski

2017 – Phil Vivongsy

2016 – Geri Lyn Cross