Service Award: Ted Sottong

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This weeks Southwest Florida Service Award winner is Ted Sottong. Sottong is the founder of Fort Myers based, “Pickup the Ball,” which goes to the courts where young adults play to connect them with mentors, teach them life skills, and inspire them to own the transformation of their communities. “They’re really good kids, they’re staying off the streets, they’re not doing drugs. They just need some other things in their life” said Sottong who makes the young adult members of Pickup the Ball sign a contract saying they want to make improvements in their personal lives, their relationships and their community.

Sottong is hosting an event on Saturday afternoon at Dunbar High School called Badges and Buckets. Members of the Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Sheriffs Department will team up with members of Pickup the Ball for a four team tournament starting at 1 p.m. “We’re going to play basketball together, so the teams will be mixed teams, it won’t just be kids against police” said Sottong. This is the second year Sottong has hosted the event, Lee County Sheriffs Deputy Jeff Pierot says last years event helped build important relationships between law enforcement and community. “We really started to bond and we’ve made some great strides and I’ve learned so much from them” said Pierot. “You get to talk and mingle, not during a traffic stop, not during some adversarial situation” said Fort Myers Police Captain, Dennis Eads.

The coaches for Saturday’s event are former NFL players Earnest Graham and Michah Rucker as well as FSW basketball coach Marty Richter and WINK Sports Director Bill Halter. There will also be musical performances at the event.

To visit the Pickup the Ball website click here

If you have someone to nominate for the Southwest Florida Service Award email it to

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