25 Couples play at Cottonwood Tennis Club – meet two of them

Jeff and Tina Carr
and Helene and Al Mein are two of the 25 couples
who participate in activities offered by the Cottonwood Tennis Club.

Penny Petersen

Cottonwood Tennis Club is a great organization for making friends. It is especially rewarding for the 25 couples who both play. Each year, we feature two couples who enjoy the competition and work together on club projects. Couples may play together if they are the same rating level. If not, the one playing always knows there’ll be someone supportive watching. Featured are Al and Helene Mein of White Rock, British Columbia, and Jeff and Tina Carr of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Al and Helene have been Sun Lakers since March 2011. Due to Canadian policies, they can only stay five and a half months. Al is originally from the Netherlands. Helene is originally from Montreal. They met on an airplane where both were passengers. They have four children (three girls and one boy), 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Both Al and Helene have played tennis for 20 years. Because they are both rated at 3.5 (Green Division), they can play together in Mixed Doubles events. They’ve won two major trophies. Also, Helene and Lil Bailey won the clay tournament, and Helene won the Oakwood charity event with Karen Kechyre.

In addition to tennis, they play golf and pickleball. They enjoy visiting family and traveling: England, Hong Kong, Peru, Hawaii, Vietnam, Mexico, Canary Islands, Turkey, Croatia, Greece, Gibraltar and throughout Europe.

Before retiring, Al was in real estate development. Helene works part time in her business, making jewelry from real leaves. She’s done that for 35 years.

Jeff and Tina Carr became snowbirds in Cottonwood in May 2013. Tina is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin; Jeff from Niagara Falls, New York. They met on a blind date set up by Jeff’s co-worker who eventually married Tina’s sister. They have two grown children in Chicago. Prior to retirement, Tina was vice president/human resources at Regional Bank. Jeff was Deputy Sheriff for Brown County.

Tina played tennis as a kid, but didn’t play while busy with career and family. After moving to Cottonwood, they took advantage of the free lessons. Since Tina is in the Blue rating group and Jeff is a Silver, they can’t compete together. Both were hesitant to enter the Mixed Doubles tournament, but they did, with one cheering from the sidelines. Both came home with a trophy.

Jeff enjoys riding his Harley and car shows. Tina enjoys shopping, cheering for the Green Bay Packers and visiting family. They have traveled to London, Ireland, Scotland, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Caribbean and most states.