True Blue has completed the path around Lake Wonderwood! Now the families living at Naval Station Mayport can more easily and safely enjoy the expanded recreation area. This is another big milestone reached by the hard work, dedication and support from so many people who wanted to see Sharon Ellis's vision come to fruition to enhance the quality of life for our local Navy Families.
By: Brittney Donovan , Action News Jax , Updated: Nov 2, 2019 - 10:28 AM
Link to News Video
Jaguars President Mark Lamping joined Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry at a press conference at City Hall on October 28th, 2019 to award grants to local nonprofits serving Military and Veterans. “The Jaguars are proud to champion each of these organizations and the important role they play in caring for our local military and veterans as they transition into civilian life,” said Lamping. “Jacksonville is a military town and it’s our responsibility to support those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we all enjoy.” Learn more.
Excerpt from The Rooney Bin Current Events, The Florida Times Union, Oct 12, 2019
True Blue…Hardworking volunteers have accomplished many good things on Florida’s First Coast. On Sep. 23, True Blue, a dedicated group originally established by Ponte Vedran Sharon Ellis, celebrated its 7th annual True Blue Golf Tournament benefiting Navy families at Mayport Naval Base. Sadly Ellis passed away last year, but the True Blue non-profit she created carries on its goal to build a recreation trail and park at Lake Wonderwood for 7,000 Jacksonville-based Navy sailors and 800 families that live on the base.
Sharon’s husband Mike Ellis talked about the project: “in four years we’ve invested about $300,000 in the park, which includes building two playgrounds, several bridges, two barbecue pavilions and two picnic pavilions. We’re making a lot of progress,” he said. “We’re halfway through the project, and the Navy families love it.”
About 100 golfers took part in the Sawgrass Country Club tournament. More joined them for heavy hors d’oeuvres, a live auction conducted by John Wagener and a raffle. Ana Leaird and Jean Smiley co-chaired the event. Sawgrass head golf pro Mike Broderick announced closest to the hole and flight winners.
A touching moment came when former naval commander Skip Wheeler presented Sharon’s husband Mike Ellis with an engraved paver that will be placed in the concrete path that when finished will eventually surround the 22-acre Lake Wonderwood. It read: May this park forever be a source of joyous recreation for the families of Nav Sta Mayport as envisioned by Sharon Ellis, Founder, JAX True Blue.
With heavy heart, we announce that True Blue's shining Icon, Sharon Ellis, passed away on December 18th, 2018.
Sharon was a deeply caring, inspirational and determined leader who devoted herself to True Blue's mission every day. Thousands of men, women and children have enjoyed the fun, beauty and safety of the multi-use trail at Lake Wonderwood, Naval Station Mayport due to her vision and countless contributions.
The Board of Directors, volunteers, sponsors, and friends of True Blue Navy Families Benefactors will greatly miss Sharon, forever remember the amazing woman that she was and carry on her mission.
AFFF, Armed Forces Families Foundation, the charitable arm of Taco Bell, has been and is a valued partner in helping make our True Blue mission a reality.
Enjoy this short video of the 11/7/2018 ribbon cutting ceremony with scenes from NSM that showcase improvements made at Lake Wonderwood.
On Oct. 22, Sawgrass Country Club was the scene of a charitable event that started six years ago, when Ponte Vedran Sharon Ellis had a vision to build a recreation park to improve the quality of life for the 7,000 Jacksonville sailors and 800 families at Naval Station, Mayport. Ellis founded “True Blue: Navy Families Benefactors” to raise funds for the recreational development of the Lake Wonderwood Preserve. The project entails building a path around the 22-acre lake with a series of pavilions, including children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, grill areas and fitness stations. The $1.4 million project is in phase two. In October, two pavilions were furnished and the paved path was extended.
Ninety-six players in the annual True Blue Golf Tournament celebrated their play with lunch at the golf clubhouse, a raffle and silent and live auctions. The winners in three flights were: Red Flight—Tom Kinney, Sonny Kirkwood, Jim Cole and Jim Britts; White Flight—Annie, Eugene and Rick McGuire and Mike Sweet, and Blue Flight—Donna Fiedorovicz, Peggy Widicus, Beverly Beck and Dory Beltson. Capt. Dave Yoder, commanding officer of Mayport Naval Station, played in the tournament with three fellow sailors, and he spoke at the luncheon. He declared the project a success. “Success is everybody who wants to come out and contribute to something that improves life at Naval Station Mayport. A mom came to me and said ‘it’s a safe environment for my kid to play and ride a bike.’ And I said it’s not me it’s folks from a great community who care about the military and want to give back to our country and way of life. I sincerely appreciate it on behalf of all the men and women who call Mayport home.” To learn more about True Blue, go to www.jaxtruebluenfb.org.
The Rooney Bin in Fl Times Union Shorelines, Sat, Oct 27, 2018
Sawgrass Country Club hosted the 6th Annual True Blue Golf tournament on a beautiful day, Mon, Oct 22.
The winners were:
White flight – Tracie Wolford (TB Pres) and Congressman John Rutherford (middle) help Eugene McGuire, Mike Sweet, Eugene McGuire and Annie McGuire celebrate (left to right).
Blue flight - Tracie Wolford (TB Pres) and Congressman John Rutherford (middle) help Beverly Beck, Peggy Widicus, Donna Fedorowicz, and Dory Beltson celebrate (left to right).
Red flight - Tracie Wolford (TB Pres) and Congressman John Rutherford (middle) help Tom Kinney, Jim Cole, Sonny Kirkwood and Jim Britts celebrate (left to right).
True Blue congratulates the winners and sincerely thanks all participants, sponsors and volunteers who supported this event. The true winners from this great event are the Military Families at the Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville.
Frank Lickliter, our PGA Tour Player, & Si Woo Kim, last year’s Players Champion, delivered for True Blue at the PGA Tour 17th Hole Challenge this morning.
True Blue is grateful to participate in THE PLAYERS 17TH HOLE CHARITY SHOOTOUT for a chance to win $10,000! Once again, Professional Golfer, Frank Lickliter, will represent True Blue in this Closest to the Pin contest to take place at hole #17 of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course on Monday, March 12th from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
This event is open to the public. Event parking is available in the tournament parking lot off of CR210. We encourage you to come watch the event and cheer on Frank, THE PLAYERS Defending Champion Si Woo Kim and also True Blue's own Bill Hughes who will be out there competing this year for JDRF North Florida.
For more information: THE PLAYERS 17TH HOLE CHARITY SHOOTOUT - 2018 Flyer
True Blue: Navy Families Benefactors, Inc. is an all volunteer nonprofit formed In January 2012 to enhance the quality of life for Jacksonville, Florida, Navy families.