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.
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.