By: George Courtney

I would like to thank all the teams, coaches, players, parents, and community for their unwavering support. Over the last 7 months has been a journey for me. I apologize for being distant as I have been dealing a lot in my personal life. In January of 2023, my health took a downward spiral and I had to make changes to take back control. 

While I took time away, I realized one of the imbalances in my life is making time for myself and more time with my family. The two times of the year that are extremely busy for myself include the Winter Basketball Season and the entire month of June. On my birthday, my 96 year old grandmother called me to wish me a happy birthday. We had a brief conversation and my gut told me that something was wrong and I needed to go home. 

I booked a trip for the month of July for my kids and myself to surprise visit my grandmother, parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nieces. I only told my brother-in-law that we were coming and he told no one. To our delight, we were able to go home and surprise everyone. 

The house was filled with happiness and joy as my kids and I were reunited with our family. That was only the second time that my grandmother got to spend significant time with my children. Little did I know, it was the last time that my children and I would get to spend time with her.

On October 9, my Dad called me early in the morning to let me know that he and my Mom were up all night. He said that he did not like the way she was breathing. Approximately five hours after that call, he called me again to let me know that she passed away. My heart sank, an emptiness knocked me off of my feet. My hero, inspiration, and grandma went home to the Lord. 

I have come to realize that time never waits for anyone. My grandmother taught me so much as I grew up. She had a huge impact in shaping me into the person I am today. Mildred Quintal Courtney was born on March 29, 1927 in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was raised on a farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. 

Her grit and work ethic led her to have a storied career with the Outrigger Hotels where she served 61 years. She rose through the ranks from starting out as a switchboard operator to Military Liaison. Besides work, she always put family first, and took pride in serving people with her philanthropist efforts in sending care packages to deployed members of various military branches and founding the Honolulu City Lights Christmas Display. 

Growing up, she used to make the long hour drive from downtown to the countryside where we lived. I remember having breakfast on Sundays with her, she used to slide me a slice of coffee cake and the comic section from the newspaper. Those Sunday morning talks were valuable to me because she encouraged and inspired me to go after my dreams. 

My Grandma was my superhero growing up because she always had strong problem solving skills. It seemed like there was nothing she could not figure out. Her leadership and willingness to help and support is what really stuck to me. She is a prime example of the power of women. My Grandma is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about helping female student athletes achieve their goals! She nurtured and influenced me to be great.

I am forever grateful for all that she has done for me and will miss her dearly. 

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