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.”