ARLINGTON, Texas - The United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame Committee has elected five new members to the USBC Hall of Fame - two in Outstanding USBC Performance, two in Meritorious Service and one Pioneer.
Wheelchair bowler Al Uttecht of Anaheim, Calif., was elected in the Pioneer category, multiple-time USBC Open Championships winners Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., and Gary Daroszewski of Franklin, Wis., were selected in the Outstanding USBC Performance category and Joan Feinblum of Santa Rosa, Calif., and the late Kerm Helmer of Utica, N.Y., were honored for Meritorious Service.
The induction ceremony will take place April 26 at the USBC Convention in Arlington and will include those elected from the national Superior Performance ballots. On the men's ballot are Tom Baker, King, N.C.; Steve Cook, Granite Bay, Calif.; Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla.; David Husted, Milwaukie, Ore.; Amleto Monacelli, Barquisimeto, Venezuela; and David Ozio, Beaumont, Texas. The women's ballot has one name - Dede Davidson, Buellton, Calif.
Uttecht, the first person chosen in the Pioneer category since 2008, blazed a trail for wheelchair bowlers everywhere and is regarded as the most accomplished such bowler in the sport's history. He was confined to a wheelchair after sustaining injuries in Vietnam in 1970 and began bowling later that same year.
He has won the American Wheelchair Bowling Association Tournament of Champions 13 times, is a 12-time AWBA National Scratch champion and a seven-time AWBA National All-Events champion.
"I am totally blown away at this honor, and I have no words to describe how I feel," said Uttecht, who was inducted into the AWBA Hall of Fame in 1985. "This is from someone who when I was first asked to join a bowling league, I said you cannot bowl from a wheelchair."
A three-time winner at the USBC Open Championships - all of which came with fellow electee Daroszewski - Boresch also has won dozens of local and state titles in Wisconsin. He won the 2000 Team All-Events title and the Team and Team All-Events titles in 2009 at the Open Championships.
"I'm very honored, but it took me by surprise a little bit," said Boresch, who currently ranks fifth on the lifetime average list at the Open Championships with 215.43. "I thought I might have a chance to get into the Hall of Fame one day, but you never think it will happen. It's quite an honor, especially with my teammate Gary going in as well."
In addition to the three Open Championships titles with Boresch, Daroszewski also won Open titles three other times. He won the 1982 Team All-Events, 1983 Team All-Events and 1989 Regular Doubles with Gus Yannaras. He is a member of the Wisconsin Bowling Association Hall of Fame and has been a bowling center proprietor since 1982.
"I don't think any bowler ever steps foot in their first tournament with the thought of making it into the Hall of Fame, so this is an unbelievably, outstanding thing to have happen to me," said Daroszewski, who has bowled in the Open Championships with Boresch since 1992. "It's really overwhelming. It hasn't kicked in yet how big an accomplishment this is."
Feinblum has devoted nearly five decades of service to bowling at the national, state and local levels, including four years of work on the committees and task forces that helped develop USBC. She also served on the Women's International Bowling Congress Board of Directors for more than a decade and most recently served as the chairperson of the USBC Nominating Committee and the USBC Hall of Fame Committee.
"I was shocked, and I thought maybe I was dreaming because I had just gotten out of bed when I got the phone call with the news I had been selected," said Feinblum, who was recently featured in a segment on The Learning Channel focusing on how her bowling family helped her in her battle with breast cancer. "I just feel very humbled because having been on the USBC Hall of Fame Committee, I know how difficult it is to make it because of all the worthy candidates."
A physical education teacher for more than 35 years, Helmer dedicated his life to the growth and development of youth and collegiate bowling until his passing in 2002.
He initiated the men's and women's bowling programs at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y., and led the Kats to 16 National Junior College Athletic Association men's titles and 21 women's titles. His men's and women's teams each claimed a pair of national titles as well.
Helmer was active in the bowling industry, serving on the Board of Directors for the American Bowling Congress and the Young American Bowling Alliance. He served as YABA President from 1999-2001.
For more information on the USBC Hall of Fame, visit BOWL.com/hof.