Pickleball tournament in Las Cruces honors son, veteran while raising funds

Las Cruces News

Aaron Gifford loved playing the unique sport of pickleball.

It was a refuge for the U.S. Army veteran who had served in the first invasion of Iraq and was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sadly, Gifford took his own life in January 2018.

Months later his family held the first “Aaron Gifford Pickleball Tournament” in his honor. It was not only a fundraising success, but it was also a fitting tribute for his family and friends. 

On April 6 and 7 they will do it again.

“My husband Ken and I introduced Pickleball to Aaron and his twin sister Kiley, approximately 3 years ago,” said his mother CeCe Hunter in a letter. “Aaron grew to love playing PB and played in tournaments throughout the state of New Mexico where he won many medals. PB became a passion for Aaron and he built a wonderful community and made many friends.”

The tournament will be held a the New Mexico State University Tennis Complex, 1815 Wells St. All proceeds would be divided among the Mesilla Community of Hope Homeless Veteran’s Program and Mission 22, an organization that is trying to prevent veteran suicide. 

The tournament will include men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The deadline to register is March 31 at pickleballtournaments.com. The fee is $45 with an addition $10 for referees. 

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