The Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club held its fourth annual Golf Ball Drop Aug. 11. Funds raised benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation and other local charities. The event started at 5 p.m. with music, appetizers, cocktails and a silent auction in the ocean view clubhouse and terrace of Encinitas Ranch. Blue skies and warm weather provided the perfect setting as the theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless) played over the speakers and a helicopter circled overhead as the 150 guests cheered while the helicopter landed on the golf course to pick up Vembra and David Holnagel who would be dropping the golf balls.
As the helicopter hovered over hole #1 fairway the individually numbered and color coded golf balls were then released. The three judges, Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Bob Gattinella, CEO of Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, and Master Chief Rick Rogers from the Navy SEAL Foundation, determined which of the three balls were closest to the pin.
The numbered ball closest to the hole was purchased by Fire Chief Don Heiser who was the lucky recipient of $2,000. Second place of $1,000 went to Paul Abel of Encinitas and $500 third place to Mark Sine.
The event chair, Gretchen Mitchell, said, "I am so pleased by all the positive feedback and compliments of the attendees – many of whom have supported this event year after year. In addition to this being a fun party and entertaining event, we were able to raise over $25,000."
The Navy SEAL Foundation provides immediate and ongoing support to the Naval Special Warfare families. It provides a comprehensive set of programs designed to reduce the stress associated with being a SEAL and gives families support during times of illness, injury, and loss. The Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club is honored to contribute to this 501 © (3) benevolent organization. Club President James Owens said, "Rotary is the largest service organization in the world. Rotarians follow the motto Service Above Self. Our members each take an active role in our charity events and philanthropic giving. We believe in 'Making a Difference' while having fun."