July 2015 — Over the last 32 years, Florida Board members and longtime friends Bruce Fishbein and Don Strock have built a strong partnership along with one of the area’s longest-running celebrity/amateur golf tournaments – raising approximately $3 million for the DRI.
Likeable, friendly and fun, Bruce and Don appear to be your typical guys’ guys. They have confidence, an extensive knowledge of sports and are both leaders in their chosen careers. Bruce is the president and owner of The Produce Connection, a company known for sourcing the world with the best produce available. Don is a former Miami Dolphins quarterback, who, after 17 years in the NFL, began a coaching career and became the first head football coach in the history of Florida International University, leading the program from 2001 to 2006. A scratch past the surface, however, reveals that these two gentlemen are really all heart and completely committed to helping the DRI find a cure for diabetes.
“I never dreamed this tournament would go 32 years and counting. But I believe the success of it is due to the fact that there is a synergy between the celebrities, the players, the committee and the staff members at the Foundation,” stated Bruce. “It’s a real team effort.”
The idea to start a golf tournament was born after Bruce watched the young son of his friend inject himself with insulin. He quickly enlisted the support of his golfing buddy, Don.
“We saw what this young child had to go through just to stay alive, and we thought he was truly amazing. Then, we learned how diabetes can affect your eyesight, your heart, your kidneys and more. It’s a disease that can strike anyone at any time. That’s when we knew we had to give it 100 percent,” said Don.
Bruce gained the support of the produce industry and the South Florida community. Don recruited his football colleagues and local celebrities. The two of them led a passionate committee that, year after year, brought in loyal sponsors and participants.
“What I’m proud of,” Don explained, “is that we see a lot of the same people every year. Some of these guys have been supporting the tournament for 32 years. I think that for the players and the sponsors, it’s a real value to them, and they know they’re supporting a cure for diabetes.”
“It feels like family,” said Bruce as he added with a smile, “Plus, of all the tournaments I play and I play many, there is no other goody bag that rivals our bag!” Don joked, “And we feed them to death!”
After years of steady support, Bruce and Don joined the Florida Board of Directors and have contributed immensely in support of the mission of the organization.
Bruce stated, “Being on the board is something that makes me very proud because it’s clear that everyone involved is committed to the same thing, and that’s a cure for diabetes.”
Don mirrored his sentiment, “It’s not about trophies and recognition. That’s not why we do this. By supporting the DRI, we know we are making real progress in solving the crisis of diabetes.”