The 45th Special Olympics Florida Athletes Awards 2017 Raises $300K

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Alan and Ruth Zelcer, Angela and Louis Birdman
Alan and Ruth Zelcer, Angela and Louis Birdman

Haute Living was a proud media sponsor of this year’s Special Olympics Florida Athletes Awards at the beautiful JW Marriott Marquis. The annual event was chaired by Haute 100-listers and avid philanthropists Angela and Louis Birdman and co-chairs Ruth and Alan Zelcer. Mass Mutual Miami was the presenting sponsor along with dual media sponsor Miami Herald.

atmosphere of special olympics
Atmosphere of the ballroom

Photo Credit: World Red Eye

Philipp Petzold, Linda Petzold, Kirsten Petzold, Uli Petzold, Veronica Cervera Goeseke, & Nickel Goeseke
Philipp Petzold, Linda Petzold, Kirsten Petzold, Uli Petzold, Veronica Cervera Goeseke and Nickel Goeseke

The celebratory awards ceremony allows the Special Olympics Florida to recognize their most incredible athletes, coaches, volunteers and community partners in Miami-Dade County and honor them with a special evening. The event also raises awareness and funds for the wonderful foundation, which benefits more than 6,500 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This year was a huge success for the Special Olympics Miami-Dade, as the benefit raised nearly $300K through ticket sales and a silent auction, as well as the 2017 Athlete Awards Platinum Sponsor RSM, that provided a generous dollar-for-dollar match on all donations raised the evening of the event. Each $350 ticket was able to sponsor one athlete with intellectual disabilities for one year of sports training and competition.

Brad and Suzanne Meltzer, guest
Brad and Suzanne Meltzer, guest

Photo Credit: World Red Eye

Stephen Marley performing
Stephen Marley performing

Photo Credit: World Red Eye

The fête brought in more than 500 elite guests celebrating Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s legacy, co-hosted by Emmy Award-Winning ABC News Anchor Laurie Jennings and ABC Sports Director Will Manso. The grand evening took place in the ballroom with stunning decor provided Galaxy Productions. The night was made complete by a surprise, world-class entertainment from GRAMMY Award Winner Stephen Marley, along with a finale performance from GRAMMY Award Winning Pop/R&B Artist Jody Watley. Guests also enjoyed premium cocktails and wines sponsored by Bacardi and Don Bernardino Wines, Eagle Brands, Fashion Vodka and Prosecco, as well as a delicious, 3-course gourmet meal.

Athletes Awards Ceremony
Athletes Awards Ceremony

Photo Credit: World Red Eye

And, of course the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the awards for various categories. Awards presenters for the evening included Olympic gymnasts Alicia Quinn (Sacramone) and Bridget Sloan, Florida Marlins president David Samson, and NFL player Laurent Robinson.  VIP Special Guests included Olympic sailor Magnus Liljedahl, NBA player Mark Strickland and actor producer Vincent De Paul. Afterwards, everyone was in high spirits as the athletes and coaches themselves celebrated by dancing on the floor of the grand ballroom with guests, enjoying the fun-filled evening.

atmosphere of the special olympics
Atmosphere of the tables

It was an incredible night with so many reasons to celebrate. Event Chair Angela Birdman shared, “The 2017 Special Olympics Athlete Awards far surpassed my expectations. With the overwhelming support of our donors, sponsors, and the community, we were able to exceed last years numbers by $100,000 and raised enough to ensure all 34 Miami-Dade athletes who qualified will be able to travel to Nationals in Seattle to compete. I am eternally grateful for everyone’s support.”

Vincent De Paul, Angela and Louis Birdman
Vincent De Paul, Angela and Louis Birdman

Photo Credit: World Red Eye

Will Manso & Laurie Jennings1
Will Manso & Laurie Jennings

Photo Credit: World Red Eye

Additional platinum sponsors included: Apure, RSM, Plaza Construction; Gold Sponsors: Kaufman Rossin, Power Design, Inc. and the David L. Singer Memorial Foundation. To support Special Olympics and sponsor an athlete, go to www.specialolympicsmiamidade.org/awards. To connect on Facebook please visit: http://www.Facebook.com/specialolympicsmiamidade.

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