Charles (Charlie) DeLucca Jr., affectionately known as the “godfather of South Florida junior golf” and a long-time champion of people with disabilities including Special Olympics, will receive the Keith Tribble Community Service Excellence Award at the annual Orange Bowl Food & Wine Celebration presented by Florida Blue, on Friday, May 11, 2018 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center at 6:30 p.m.
The Keith Tribble Community Service Excellence Award is awarded to an individual(s) who has made extraordinary efforts to promote and enhance social conditions around them in uncharted ways, and whose contributions have been outstanding, unique and significantly impacted the South Florida Community.
“Charlie DeLucca Jr.’s contributions to junior golf and enhancing the lives of the people with disabilities are legendary in South Florida,” said Orange Bowl president and chair Sean Pittman. “The Orange Bowl Committee is proud to honor him for all that he has done to make South Florida a better place, both with the youth and the disabled of our community.”
DeLucca started Miami-Dade’s youth program back when junior golf wasn’t fashionable or profitable. He not only gave youths a place to play, but also instruction in an era when most club pros wouldn’t give the young golfers an opportunity. He welcomed the kids and started Dade Amateur Golf Association’s junior program at Miami Lakes Country Club (now Shula’s Golf Club) in 1967. DeLucca has been a staple in the South Florida golf community for over 50 years.
The program morphed into the First Tee Miami, which is internationally recognized as one of junior golf’s strongest and most innovative programs. It is based at Melreese Country Club where Charlie is the managing partner. Through its Family Learning Center, the First Tee Miami is focused on impacting the lives of 5,000 youth each year. Its major fund-raiser is the Orange Bowl presents Doral Publix Junior Golf Classic, which each year brings the finest international junior golfers to South Florida for one of the most prestigious junior events in the world.
The Orange Bowl “Drive for Excellence” girls’ golf program is also housed at the First Tee Miami. It is designed to empower young South Florida women through golf to develop academic, life and athletic skills, resulting in opportunities for collegiate golf scholarships.
Charlie is also a long-time supporter of people with disabilities, including Special Olympics. The Sandra DeLucca Developmental Center, a division of the City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department is named for his late daughter, and provides leisure and living skills for adults and children with various levels of disabilities. He volunteers at the center and hosts an annual golf tournament as the facility’s major fund raiser.
Just recently he combined his two passions: golf and Special Olympics, by providing instruction to approximately 500 Special Olympians at Melreese in an effort to train the golfers in advance of the State Special Olympics Golf Games.
In 2002 DeLucca conceived the idea for a Florida License Tag and worked timelessly to get it passed in the state legislature. As a result of his endeavors, the bill passed, and proceeds from the sale of the “Support Junior Golf” tag are now distributed to junior golf foundations throughout the state of Florida.
DeLucca has been recognized for his efforts in the south Florida Community by the City of Miami Programs for Persons with Disabilities, Hialeah-Miami Springs Northwest Dade Area Chamber of Commerce, The Mailman Center for Child Development, Police Officer Assistance Trust, Longest Day of Golf, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, South Florida Transplant Foundation and Muscular Dystrophy Association for his community.
Award-winning chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, Chef/Partners at Stiltsville Fish Bar in Miami Beach, will serve as celebrity chefs for the annual Orange Bowl Food & Wine Celebration presented by Florida Blue. In addition to enjoying samples from over 30 of South Florida’s top restaurants, event attendees will enjoy an open bar, live entertainment, raffles and a complimentary gift bag. One outstanding South Florida resident will be honored with the 2017 Keith Tribble Community Service Excellence Award for the work he or she does to make a difference.
Through the years, the Orange Bowl has been able to invest millions of dollars in the South Florida community through its four pillars of community outreach: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. At this year’s event, approximately $100,000 will be given back to the South Florida community. Proceeds from The Orange Bowl Food & Wine Celebration presented by Florida Blue will go toward Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, Special Olympics Florida and the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy.
The consistent and continued success of the Orange Bowl Food and Wine Celebration can be credited in part to Florida Blue, the presenting sponsor of the event. Florida Blue is joined by the following associate sponsors: Cleveland Clinic Florida, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, Dave & Buster’s, Deloitte, Delta Business Solutions, Florida Power & Light Company, Florida Prepaid College Plans, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, Hard Rock Stadium, Pernod-Ricard USA Wines & Champagnes, The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Toyota, and Wizard Creations.
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is a 360-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 29, 2018. For more information on the 2018-2019 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org or follow the @OrangeBowl on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.