Tony Wells is the PebbleCreek Pickleball (PCPB) volunteer of the month. Tony grew up in Prince Edward Island, in the Maritimes region of eastern Canada. He graduated with degrees in psychology and english from the University of Calgary, located in the western Canadian province of Alberta. While attending college, Tony played on the Dinos Men’s Volleyball Team 1982-85.
Tony started his career as a youth counselor for juveniles living in lockup facilities. When the city of Calgary moved from city-employed counselors to private contractors, Tony switched careers and became a firefighter for 27 years, beginning as a driver and serving the last five years as Captain.
Tony commented, “I loved being a firefighter. This was a high intensity job, mixed in with down time. There was a rush of adrenalin when calls came in. We put out big fires in cities, including office buildings, apartments, and homes, and helping people is very rewarding. A memorable call was when we had to retrieve a decomposing body from an abandoned fridge. As the rookie, I had to mask up and enter the basement. To my relief, I discovered it was an old turkey left for six months after Thanksgiving. The job was shift work, which was great for raising my kids and flexibility for my hobbies.”
During his career as a firefighter, Tony fulfilled his passion for volleyball. He and another player founded the Canada West Volleyball Club in 1997. While coaching teenagers, he wrote the Ultimate Beach Volleyball Training Manual, focusing on practice and drilling. Twice, Tony and different partners won the Canadian Nationals in 2-man beach volleyball. His indoor six player volleyball team also won seven Canadian championships. A few years later, Tony was part of a group that built Rally Pointe, a first class volleyball complex in Calgary, with eight hard courts and six outdoor beach courts.
A few years ago, Tony’s wife Reese had an opportunity to transfer to Arizona, and they relocated to Goodyear. Tony was retired and had started playing occasional pickleball in Surprise. Tony said, “When I saw the pickleball courts in PebbleCreek, we moved here as quickly as we could.” Tony plays pickleball six times a week and practices as much as he can. “I play with a group of men who are like built-in-coaches.”
When asked to lead the Club’s fundraising commitment towards new pickleball courts in PebbleCreek, Tony said “I have a hard time saying ‘no.’” Tony drew from his volleyball business experience, sifting through ideas and focusing on efforts that would bring in the most money for the least amount of time and effort. To date, PCPB Club has raised $300,000 towards our $500,000 commitment. Tony is the captain of Men’s Ladder and co-chair of Ratings with Maggie Charlton. When Tony is not on the pickleball courts, he is practicing piano and ukulele. His dream is to have a blues band in PebbleCreek and reach the Club’s $500,000 goal!