President Elect
Executive Secretary
Immediate Past President
Ryan Kelly presided over the meeting. Richard Topp provided the opening prayer. Coty Primeaux led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Ryan then led the club in the Four Way Test. The meeting was held at the Mugshots Bar and Grill in Hattiesburg. 
Lee Kemp won the 50/50 drawing today and drew the correct card. He won $119.00.
Ryan reminded everyone of the District Conference on April 21-22.  Matt Rumph is looking for golf tournament sponsors. The wine tasting will be at Canebrake Country Club on June 1st.  He asked members to begin collecting items for the Silent Auction.
Lee Kemp then introduced our guest, Elliott Brown. Mr. Brown is the TFC Program Supervisor for Canopy Children’s Solutions. Elliott is originally from Florida but relocated to the Hattiesburg area in 1998.Canopy is a non-profit organization founded in 1912 and offers foster care for children enrolled into their program. One of the primary responsibilities Elliott has is to find, train and license foster care families. He says being a foster family is not an easy thing to do but is well worth the effort.
Children in therapeutic foster care are in the custody of MDCPS and are placed in a home licensed to provide foster care. They may come from their family of origin’s home, another foster home or from a more restrictive setting such as a residential facility. The goals is to place children in close proximity to their homes in order for them to stay connected with their family and their community. More than 3,800 children came through the program in 2022.
If you are interested in being a foster parent, please call Mr. Brown at 601-606-0208.
There being no further business to come before the club, Ryan thanked Mr. Elliott for his comments and then adjourned the meeting with our motto: “Service Above Self.”  

Elliott M. Brown is a licensed professional counselor who has worked at Canopy Children’s Solutions, a nonprofit children’s mental health organization, for the past six years. During that time, he has served as a supervisor of therapeutic foster care services. 

A native of Chattahoochee, FL, Elliott arrived in Hattiesburg in 1998 in order to pursue a graduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. After graduating in 2001 with his master’s degree in counseling psychology, he remained in Mississippi to work at multiple agencies with a variety of populations: adults, children, severely mentally ill, developmentally disabled, soldiers, veterans and college students. 

Elliott currently lives in Collins and has a fourteen-year-old daughter named Sophia. He moved his mother, Mary Brown, out to Hattiesburg two and a half years ago to be closer to him. His interests include travelling, trivia (Jeopardy), dogs, computers and environmental conservation. 
Mallory Donald presided over the meeting. Richard Topp provided the opening prayer. Courtney Payton led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mallory then led the club in the Four Way Test. The meeting was held at the Mugshots Bar and Grill in Hattiesburg. 
Cliff with Mugshots won the 50/50 drawing today, but he failed to draw the correct card.
Mallory reminded everyone of the District Conference April 21-22.  Matt Rumph is looking for sponsors for the golf tournament on the 21st. The wine tasting will be at Canebrake Country Club on June 1st.  Please see Ryan or Mallory to volunteer to help.
Although Lynn Walton has resigned from Rotary, she is still willing to assist with the wine tasting if needed.
Stew Deen then introduced our guest, Juan Cardona. Cardona’s first love was baseball which is what brought him stateside during high school, but an injury changed his baseball career sending him back to Puerto Rico at 18 years old. It was his brother that talked him into coaching baseball. 
Cardona eventually met his future mentor, the now-late Miguel Mercado. He then met his other mentor, Art Alvarez through Mercado. Cardona then coached in international professional leagues and during the summer coached with Alvarez in Miami. 
Cardona told Alvarez “Whenever you have an opportunity for me, hit me up and I will leave whatever I’m doing.” I want you to guide my career in the states just like you have done for all those kids. He had that conversation with him when he was 18. He called him at age 38.
Alvarez called Cardona on Sunday and said he needed him first thing in the morning. Without hesitation, Cardona resigned from his coaching job with his professional team in Puerto Rico. He arrived in Miami at 6 a.m. and signed to coach at Miami Christian by 9 a.m. 
In three years at Miami Christian, Cardona helped guide the school to two state championships, as well as met the current starting forward for Southern Miss, Felipe Haase. Eventually it wasn’t working out with Mercer, so Cardona returned to Miami to work with Art and coached at Miami Prep. 
When a deal on a house fell through, Cardona and his family lived in a hotel room for eight months. To try and save money, he lived in his family car with his four children.  Cardona drove until all his children fell asleep in the car and finally parked and locked the car into Miami Christian High School’s gated parking lot to provide protection. Once Cardona’s children woke up the following day, he would tell them each night that they had stayed at a hotel but couldn’t remember since they were asleep when they arrived. 
In April 2022, Cardona received a call from Ladner, bringing him to USM. In his first season at Southern Miss, Cardona has helped the 8-0 Golden Eagles turn around the program and finished 7-26 last season and has gone 24-65 in the last three years. Ladner put all his faith in Cardona to turn their season around, and Cardona did just that.
There being no further business to come before the club, Mallory thanked Juan Cardona for his comments and then adjourned the meeting with our motto: “Service Above Self.”  

Southern Miss head coach Jay Ladner announced the addition of Juan Cardona to his staff on May 12, 2022 ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Cardona joins the Golden Eagle staff after spending two seasons at Mercer. In his first year with the Bears, Mercer won 17 games and finished fourth in the Southern Conference. A six-game winning streak early in 2020 helped the Bears garner National Association of Basketball Coaches Team of the Week honors. Cardona then helped the Bears to 18 wins in his second season and a run to the Southern Conference title game where it fell to top-seeded UNC-Greensboro.

At season’s end, three players – Djordje Dimitrijevic, Ethan Stair and Kamar Robertson – received All-SoCon honors for their on-court performance. Dimitrijevic was also recognized by the NABC as a Second Team All-District XXI selection and a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Second Team Academic All-America

Cardona arrived in Macon following a three-year stretch as the head coach of the varsity boys program at Miami Christian High School in Miami, Fla., where he led the program to a pair of 2A FHSAA state titles (2017, 2018) and a No. 1 ranking in the state of Florida during the 2017 season.

In his three seasons with the varsity boys program at Miami Christian, Cardona achieved a 74-19 record for a .796 winning percentage.

Cardona spent one season (2018-19) on the sidelines with the varsity girls team, leading the squad to a 17-7 record and an appearance in the FHSAA 2A semifinals, which was a first for the girls program.

Cardona additionally led the Miami Tropics AAU program from 2016-19, where he worked alongside his mentor, Art Alvarez.
An experienced and accomplished coach in Puerto Rico and Mexico as well, Cardona served as the head coach for seven different professional organizations from 2007-18, including a recent position with Caciques de Humacao in Humacao, P.R.
Further accomplishments of Cardona’s include leading the Puerto Rican U-17 National Team to a gold medal at the Centrobasket Tournament in 2007 and leading American University (Bayamon, P.R.) and Caribbean University (Bayamon, P.R.) as head coach. Cardona spent one season on the sidelines at American and was at Caribbean University from 2009-2011.

Cardona’s coaching career began in 1998 when he was named head coach at Lino Padron Rivera High School in his hometown of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.

Hattiesburg Rotary

We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
Mugshots Grill & Bar
204 N 40th Ave
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
United States of America
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Jerry Holifield
Mar 28, 2023
WIN Job Center/Veterans BD
Allen Anderson
Apr 04, 2023
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