To track Kari and Burt Kostelecky’s involvement with Spokane Hoopfest, head back to its second year of operation. Burt started playing in its second year, and since then he’s played 24 straight years, while they’ve helped out with everything from handing out packets, to taping courts, to player registration, to the Committee Chair of the Sponsor Garden — a position Kari now proudly holds.
The Kosteleckys, who celebrated their 30th anniversary this past week, admittedly spend most of their time finding volunteer opportunities for each other outside of the office — Burt works in the fleet department at Avista Utilities and Kari is the Enterprise Quality Manager for PAML Laboratory — and they share a common love for volunteering.
“It’s somewhat cliché to say that we do this as “best friends” but anyone who knows us would probably say the same thing, we are best friends who enjoy spending time together, giving back to Hoopfest — an organization who has brought so much enjoyment to our family.”
Married for 30 years, the Kosteleckys were both raised in Spokane; Kari attended Shadle Park High School and Burt went to Rogers. They have three kids, Breann (27), Blake (24) and Kyle (18).
The list of things they have done at Hoopfest is long. But Kari’s reasoning for being so involved is simple.
“Who wouldn’t want to be down there?,” Kari quipped. “The anticipation of this weekend is like Christmas to many of the people in our house.”
Volunteering has been a staple in the Kostelecky household. To them, being a true volunteer means giving of your time and expecting nothing in return. But with Hoopfest, they say the return has been plentiful.
“Hoopfest has given our family so many years of fun and enjoyment; it was our turn to give back and help families do the same,” Kari said.
The Kosteleckys take volunteering seriously. On top of Hoopfest, they have spent the last 14 years volunteering with the Mead High School band and give time to charities and help in the Spokane community as often as they can.
“We are flattered to be chosen to be part of the travel team for Hoopfest’s outside events, when Hoopfest has so many volunteers to choose from,” Kari said. “We love the time we spend with this group of people and to be able to contribute to the community and the mission of Hoopfest. We truly feel that we are helping our friends when we volunteer with the staff.”
Burt found over the last several years that helping set up Hoopfest and playing in it was even more gratifying than solely playing. And being a part of the amazing teardown in just a few hours is something he brags about to his co-workers every year.
Asked to conjure up their favorite memory with Hoopfest, there were simply too many to pull from.
“It was harder than I thought to sum up why we help at Hoopfest,” Kari said. “There are so many memories it was hard to pick. We are truly very lucky to be a part of the Hoopfest family.”
We are grateful for all of our amazing volunteers, ones such as Burt and Kari. Want to become a volunteer? Sign up here today!