Community leaders visit those who guard our nation

Civic leaders from South Florida visited Florida National Guard training at Camp Blanding, Florida, recently as part of a Department of Defense program coordinated by Florida Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The group, who flew to Camp Blanding out of Opa Locka on a Coastguard C-130 aircraft, had an opportunity to meet with the approximately 4,300 Guardsmen and women, all members of the 53rd Infantry Brigade, who were training there prior to being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those who witnessed firing of rifles and machine guns, combat training and enjoyed lunch with the soldiers were Martin Rosen, Vice President of Wells Fargo, Securities: Florida Guardsman Sgt. Jose Oliva, from South Dade; and Major Michael Mills of the South Miami Police Dept.

South Miami Rotarians continue their donation of hundreds of dictionaries and atlases to area schools, including most recently Avocado Elementary, Robert Morgan Adult Education, Ponce de Leon Middle School, JRE Lee Alternative School and Golden Glades Elementary.

The Club, which meets every Tuesday, will be canceling meetings on December 22 and 29. For more information on this Club, go online to

GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club delivered dozens of food baskets to needy families before Thanksgiving. They also have party plans for the children they serve in the Club’s free dental clinic. Dental Clinic Director, Dr. Iris Torres, is most grateful to members and community supporters like Joan Reitsma, of The Giving Tree, for ongoing donations of food and gifts. In fact, Reitsma’s donation of bags of yarn assisted the Club in participating in the Red Scarf project that gives scarves to young people graduating out of the foster care system.

Congratulations to Richard “Rick” Tonkinson, a Certified Financial Planner with Rick Tonkinson and Associates in Coral Gables. Tonkinson has been named as a Trustee of the Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency.

Philanthropist, businessman and civic leader, Rick Tonkinson and his wife, Margarita, have very quietly provided substantial support for a broad range of charitable institutions over the years as trustees of the Rick Tonkinson and Family Charitable Fund.

With the economy in a slump and the chances of finding a job being slim, most people would probably be home drowning in their sorrows, but not Chris Coffey – This Guy Needs AJob! Who, you ask, is this guy? Well, he is former Rotary Group Study Exchange team member, Chris Coffey, a proud “Gator” holding a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering and a master’s degree in business administration. Unemployed since October 19, 2009, he thought of a most creative way to not only post his resume, but to also target potential employers with a Web site that highlights his qualities. Check out

The South Dade Health Fair, which will be held Sunday, Dec. 13, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., at Redland Market Village Bargain Town, 24400 Packinghouse Rd., in Homestead and is worth the trip south for those without health insurance, or with limited health insurance. They can get free health care services thanks to sponsorship of the UM Medical School. For more information, please call: 305-243-3838 Until next week, keep making each day count.

Gloria Burns is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Pinecrest, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization, as well as a columnist for Community Newspapers. Keeping abreast of community activities is a challenge. If you would like to submit information for this column, send your news via e-mail to

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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