Table tennis tournament raises funds for local charities

When Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” she could have been foreshadowing the work of the All American Air Charitable Foundation (AAACF).

For nine years, this determined group of women has helped change the world of St. Augustine through fundraising efforts and the All American Air Table Tennis Classic. Since its inception in 2009, the foundation has donated more than $500,000 to local nonprofits. The 2017 Table Tennis Classic alone raised $100,000.

The current board is comprised of nine women, all of whom volunteer their time, but commitment to the work of AAACF extends far beyond its Board of Directors.

“We are amazed each year when our generous community supports us beyond even our wildest imaginations,” said Christine Chapman, president of AAACF. “Our area has suffered greatly in the past two years at the hands of Mother Nature, and we remain amazed and grateful for the generosity of our friends and neighbors who, even though they may be suffering, find it in their hearts to continue to give to others less fortunate.”


Searle wins 3rd annual table tennis classic

Forty-eight players in three divisions battled for more than five hours Jan. 28 in front of 300 guests, with Dr. Thomas Searle, OB/GYN of Flagler Hospital, eventually capturing honors in The Third Annual All American Air Table Tennis Classic staged at The River House.

“Open Your Heart for the Arts” hosted by the All American Air Charitable Foundation provided participants and guests the opportunity to support three chosen local arts organizations: Children’s Museum of St. Johns, Limelight Theatre, and the St. Johns County Center for the Arts at St. Augustine High School.

This year’s recipients each received a check for $8,000 to fund their programs, as the tournament raised nearly $25,000.

Table tennis event is hospice benefit

Steve and Christine Chapman’s St. Augustine Beach was transformed into a classic Valentine setting earlier this month to help raise funds for Northeast Florida Community Hospice and the Bailey Center for Caring on the Flagler Hospital campus.

Celebrating the turn-of-the-century parlor game of table tennis, a full, competitive tournament, the Second Annual All American Air Table Tennis Classic, was hosted by the Chapmans and their new All American Air Charitable Foundation. The tournament is organized and run by Derek May, former publisher of The St. Augustine Record, and his father, Pete May, both of whom have impressive table tennis credentials. Derek is a former U.S. National Table Tennis team member and past alternate for the U.S. Olympic team for this popular sport. His father, Pete, is a seven-time Georgia state table tennis champion in the sport, which, in some circles, is known as ‘ping-pong.’

Table tennis event aids junior Services League

Christine Chapman silently thanked her house guests Saturday night.
Chapman and her husband, Steve Chapman, hosted throngs of people Saturday at their Crescent Beach home for the All American Air Table Tennis Classic, benefiting the Junior Service League of St. Augustine.

Christine Chapman, struck silent by laryngitis, carried calligraphic cards explaining her condition and thanking those in attendance.

“It’s incredible,” Steve Chapman said. “We’re really pleased to have all these people here.
“We’ve had a lot of charitable events here. But this one is competitive.”

St. Augustine Record Publisher Derek May, a former alternate on the U.S. Olympic Table Tennis Team, played an exhibition match against his father, Pete, an erstwhile Georgia ping-pong champion.

“I just know Steve and Christine are great people, and anything I can do for them, I’ll try to do,” said Jason Jahnel, who lost an early tournament match cheered on by girlfriend Laura Duke. “I just wish I was a little better of a player.”.