Golf Ball Drop raises more than $75,000 for Rotary Foundation

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Dozens of District 6990 Rotarians gathered for the Rotary Foundation Chris Morrison Memorial Golf Ball Drop on Feb. 1 at the Biltmore Hotel. This annual event was renamed to honor Chris Morrison, a beloved Coral Gables Rotarian who coordinated this event with all the district clubs for years.

Picking up the mantle this year was his good friend and Coral Gables Rotary past president Yolanda Woodbridge who was ably assisted by Carol Alexander. Kudos to all who participated, helping raise more than $75,000 for the Rotary Foundation’s Annual Giving Campaign.

During a lunch preceding the golf ball drop at The Biltmore Hotel’s 19th Hole were several Rotary 6990 officers including District Governor Alan Cohn; Past District Governor Lee Phares, Foundation chair, and Elihu Phares, District Chief of Staff. Also attending the event were Debbie Morrison, Chris Morrison’s widow, along with Rotarians from all over Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The crowd walked out to the golf course for a better view as the helicopter dropped numbered balls near a designated hole on the course.

Each ball represented a chance at prizes for each person who donated $25 per ball to support the fundraiser.

In more good news, A Safe Haven for Newborns recently added four more babies saved from abandonment in the past month or so. Nick Silverio, founder of the organization that counts saving more than 274 babies in the past 10 years, works night and day in his unpaid position as head of this nonprofit. Safe Haven’s volunteers are many and help Nick with funding with several fundraisers during the year.

Up next will be the annual 5K Walk at Amelia Earhart Park, on Mar. 10. Registration is only $20. To register visit

Lots of great people are involved in this non profit including Norris Perez, Marti Bueso, Gina Perez, Charlie Smith and Rosa Albert.

The Junior Orange Bowl Committee conducted elections on Feb. 15 at the beautiful new (as of December 2017) Capital One Cafe on Miracle Mile, across from Tarpon Bend. Members enjoyed a Sushi Maki buffet in one of the cafe’s community rooms, as well as presentation by president Michelle Benitez Bermudez after the election of the 2018-19 officers: president, Frandley DeFilie; president-elect, Isa Goenaga; vice president, Steven Gonzalez; vice president, Luis Quiñones; secretary, Ana Rivera; and treasurer, Aldo Castañeda.

The new board will work closely with executive director Alex Markel to continue the organization’s mission of showcasing our youth in every area from athletics to creative and cultural arts. That same evening, the JOBC members also voted in several new members: Roberta Fliss, Mike Gorman, Hugh Quinn, Nelson Rodriguez, Grant Souviron and Nathaniel Wilkins.

Philip Wang, a Coral Gables Rotarian who is the Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami, recently held an informative lunch at Tropical Chinese inviting some representatives from his Rotary Club’s International Committee and visitors from the Caribbean to access needs and get an update on the aftermath of the past hurricane season. Philip recently visited Puerto Rico and also has been to other islands that have received aide from Taiwan to help with the recovery efforts. Among those attending were TECO Senior Consular Officer Claire Chen, visiting Rotarian from Puerto Rico Telin Fernandez, and others from the islands who provided insight on the current situation in their respective areas for the guests.

Finally, members of Profit Inc., one of Miami-Dade County’s oldest business groups, enjoyed an open house event recently hosted by Mike Sutta of Super Swipe at Fritz & Franz in Coral Gables. This group has lots of fun and actually had an annual picnic at Tropical Park on Feb. 18. Profit Inc. meets for lunch the first and third Thursday of every month. For more information on this group, visit

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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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. Active in many non profits, she received numerous awards across the community. 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 she sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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