HOLYOKE - PeoplesBank affirms its commitment to the IVHF with $5,000 donation to support local programming.
Since the founding of the Hall of Fame in 1978, PeoplesBank has taken a strong position of leadership regarding the Hall and its programs including sponsorship of major events and its officers' serving on the Hall's board of directors In 2003, PeoplesBank was awarded the IVHF William G. Morgan Award for its service to the community and the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
"We are very thankful for the continued support from PeoplesBank," IVHF Executive Director George Mulry said. "Their generous donation will support our on-going youth programming in Western Massachusetts that includes boys and girls all-star games and tournaments as well as the IVHF's annual Induction Celebration."
The grant was made as part of the bank's Community Care charitable giving program which, in 2022, included $2.3 million in grants and sponsorships to thousands of non-profits in Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut.
"PeoplesBank has a natural connection with the International Volleyball Hall of Fame – we both share Holyoke as our birthplace," said Matthew Bannister, PeoplesBank Senior Vice President for Marketing & Corporate Responsibility. "Past and present co-exist for the IVHF – preserving and honoring the history of volleyball, even as they are fostering the love of the sport in the next generation. We’re proud to support the sport and the City, and to welcome the players and visitors coming from around the region and globe to Holyoke."
PeoplesBank is a leader in innovation, corporate responsibility, sustainability, and employee engagement. As the largest community bank in the market, we have a unique ability to help the communities we serve through volunteer efforts and millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes. Our associates devote an average of 10,000 hours to volunteer work each year, and 74 of the bank’s associates have served on the boards of directors and committees of 54 nonprofit organizations in the area. PeoplesBank is a mutual bank and therefore responsible to our depositors, employees, and the community. This organizational structure allows us to focus on the long-term viability of the bank and the best interests of our customers who are served through our 20 banking centers located in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
About International Volleyball Hall of Fame
Located in Holyoke, Massachusetts - the birthplace of volleyball - the International Volleyball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving, honoring and promoting the sport of volleyball at every level - men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, in the United States and internationally. The IVHF Museum is home to more than 160 inductees from 25 countries and over 5,000 square feet of volleyball history. Thousands of people from around the USA and the world visit the museum each year to learn about the game and experience the exhibits. Best known globally for the annual Induction Celebration honoring the sport’s elite, the IVHF also supports and operates more than a dozen youth, high school and collegiate competitions and programs annually in the New England area.
Pedro "Pete" Velasco died at home in Pahoa, Hawaii USA on March 21, 2023. A 1997 Hall of Fame Inductee, Pete was a starting player on the U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball team in Tokyo in 1964, serving as team captain, and again in Mexico City in 1968.
Pete first appeared on the national volleyball scene at the United States Volleyball Championships in Seattle in 1956, his freshman year at the University of Denver, as a member of the Denver YMCA team. He returned to his Hawaiian Island home the following year, hooking up briefly with the Central Hawaii YMCA team, before a long and glorious relationship with the Outrigger Canoe Club.
As part of the Outrigger team, Pete took the mainland by storm, beginning a ten-year run of first team All-American Team honors in 1962, and was also named the National Tournament “Most Valuable Player” in 1965.
Not content with just winning over the country, Pete joined the United States National team and represented Uncle Sam in the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil and again in 1967, when the U.S. Team won the Gold Medal at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada.
When the XVIII Olympiad opened in Tokyo, Japan in 1964, volleyball was officially presented to the world, and leading the U.S. Olympic Volleyball team onto the floor was its team captain, Pete Velasco. He returned to the Olympic forum in Mexico City four years later as a member of the 1968 US Olympic Team, which scored a tremendous victory in the early going, upsetting the highly favored Soviet team in pool play.
After the ’68 Olympics, Pete decided to return to school, but still teamed up with John Lowell, the assistant Olympic coach in Mexico, playing the 1969 and ’70 seasons at Church College in Hawaii. The honors also followed Pete home, as he earned collegiate All-American status in both years, and was named the Outstanding College Athlete of America Award recipient in 1970.
The year 1970 was doubly rewarding to Pete as the USVBA named him an “All-Time Great Player” award recipient as well, in recognition of his many achievements over the years.
While Pete retired from national competition following the 1972 Nationals in Salt Lake City, the honors still continued. In 1978, he was the first volleyball player elected to the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Pete was appointed AAU Junior Olympic Volleyball Development Chairman in 1979, and was named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame in 1980.
The IVHF exists to honor the legends, recognize the greats, and preserve the history of volleyball.