Rotary Club hosts annual Mineral City Celebration


‘PonteVedraville’ event honors Donna Deegan as 2017 ‘Rock of the Community’

By Jennifer Logue

Hawaiian shirts, flip flops and parrot hats were the order of the day last weekend, when the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach brought a bit of Jimmy Buffett to the First Coast with its annual Mineral City Celebration.

An estimated 500 people set their watches to five o’clock and flocked to the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, which had been transformed into “PonteVedraville,” complete with tropical décor, stilt walkers, flame dancers, a steel drum band and more. Guests enjoyed margaritas and Caribbean cuisine while dancing to the beat of the Island Paradise Band. Attendees also had an opportunity to bid on scores of both silent and live auction items, with Channel 4 news anchor Kent Justice serving as the evening’s emcee and auctioneer. Winner of the event’s “Changes in Latitudes” trip auction, meanwhile, was John Drake, who won an exotic vacation to his choice of Rome, Hawaii, Tuscany or Ireland.

Rock of the Community Award

A special highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Rotary Club’s 2017 “Rock of the Community Award” to breast cancer survivor Donna Deegan. The former journalist and founder of The Donna Foundation accepted the award from Rotary Club President Michael Bruce and event chair Billy Wagner, and expressed her gratitude to those in attendance for their support for her foundation’s efforts to aid other women battling breast cancer.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Deegan, who attended the event with her husband, First Coast News meteorologist Tim Deegan. “I love every one of you. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without all of you.”

Deegan noted that her foundation has joined with the City of Jacksonville Beach to launch a “Brick by Brick” program, where residents can purchase commemorative bricks with proceeds benefiting breast cancer research and treatment. Information on the brick program is available at

In addition to The Donna Foundation, proceeds from the Rotary Club’s Mineral City Celebration will benefit the Beaches Dial-a-Ride program and numerous other Beaches area charities.