Legends & Leaders Signature Event 2018 Honorees
The David Posnack Jewish Community Center proudly honors these individuals, who have given so much of their time, energy and support to build and strengthen the Jewish community and the entire Broward County community as a whole.
At age 18, “Alligator” Ron Bergeron left home with $235 in his pocket and embarked on a life that became a true rags-to-riches success story. With a truck, machete, an axe and a rope he began his business empire. He launched Bergeron Land Development in 1965 and in 1969 incorporated a real-estate company, Bergeron Properties and Investments Corporation, which owns and manages a broad real estate portfolio of commercial and industrial properties throughout the U.S. Today, the fifth-generation Floridian, alligator wrestler, developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, will mark his company’s 53rd year in business and is one of the most respected and successful contractors in Florida.
Ron’s philanthropic contributions are legendary. He has raised millions of dollars for over 200 organizations, most notably the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County. His annual “Ranch Roam” fundraiser for the Club has amassed over $15 million since the event’s inception.
With much pride Ron calls himself a true Gladesman: a person who is very passionate about and in love with the Everglades environment. He served the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for 10 years and was the point commissioner over the entire Florida Everglades.
A cowboy at heart, Ron has competed in professional rodeo for 25+ years winning numerous championships. In 2006 he was inducted into the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame. Thanks to the generosity of the Bergeron family, the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds, located in the Town of Davie, is a top tourist attraction.
With all his success, Ron’s greatest source of pride comes from his family. His life partner, Alligator Ali Waldman, has been by his side for over 20 years. Ron has four daughters, two sons, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His sons are an integral part of the Bergeron Family of Companies. Ron has passed on to them not only his knowledge of business, but also his strong work ethic, his commitment to the community and respect for the environment.
MORT AND SYLVIA KALIN
Businessman, developer, war hero and philanthropist are words that aptly describe Mort Kalin. But Mort would tell you he prefers to be known as devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. Now 96, Mort holds the distinction of being one of the last survivors of the 112th Mounted Cavalry from World War II. After boot camp, Mort, a genuine horseman, became a trick rider in the military rodeo circuit, then later served in the Pacific earning a Bronze Star for bravery. Last year on Memorial Day, he was knighted with the Order of Saint George Medal for his service as a top-tier cavalryman.
Born in Massachusetts, Mort made his mark in South Florida starting in the 1970s, developing the Pembroke Lakes area and premier golf courses, among them the once magnificent Raintree Golf Club in Pembroke Pines.
Sylvia Kalin was married to Mort for close to 70 years until her recent death at age 91. Sylvia was born in New Jersey and graduated from Pennsylvania State University. Golf was her passion, and she traveled the world to play. One special moment was a hole-in-one during a tournament at Spyglass Golf Course at Pebble Beach.
An ardent philanthropist, Sylvia devoted 46 years to Memorial Regional Hospital – going from “candy striper” to foundation director. She passionately supported the Jewish Federation of Broward County, serving as a trustee and Women’s Division president.
Longtime benefactors of the David Posnack JCC, the Kalins donated a play area for the preschool and the Tree of Life sculpture in the Bass lobby. The proud parents of Susan and Jack, they also have two grandchildren, Joseph and Sarah.
HEATHER & RANDALL GILBERT
Heather and Randy both have law degrees and are deeply entrenched in the Jewish community and in the arts. They have been instrumental in the construction, fundraising and implementation of capital improvements at the J that include the Feig Family Playground, the Flo & Hy Siegel Pan to Plate Culinary Institute and the splash pad, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.
Heather Small Gilbert received a juris doctor degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tulane University in New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in management and a concentration in marketing and psychology.
Heather is vice president of marketing for Angiology Corporation of America, which works with hospitals and employers nationally to provide preventative health solutions to lower the risk and occurrence of cardiac and stroke-related incidences.
Heather’s involvement in the community includes volunteering, supporting and serving on the boards of many civic organizations in Nashville, New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale. She currently serves on the executive board of the David Posnack JCC as children and family services vice chair and as a member of the board at Temple Kol Ami-Emanuel. Heather has had leadership roles in numerous organizations: Jewish Federation of Broward County – Young Adult Division, Family Engagement and Women’s Philanthrophy; KOLOT; American Israel Public Affairs Committee; JAFCO; MS Society; Young at Art – Woman of Valor; Goodman Jewish Family Services; Cancer Society; Orloff Central Agency for Jewish Education; and Hillel. Heather also served on the national board for Jewish Federation of Broward County and as a member of the Young Leadership National Cabinet for United Jewish Communities.
Heather was chosen as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by The Tennessean, Nashville’s primary newspaper, that selects 40 top young professionals and executives in Middle Tennessee as future stars in the business and professional world.
Heather has been the recipient of numerous service and leadership awards: the Joan & Douglas Gross Community Service Award (Jewish Federation of Broward County); the Reva Wexler Scholarship Award (David Posnack JCC); the Evelyn and Otto Steiber Leadership Award (David Posnack JCC).
Randall Gilbert received his juris doctor from Nova Southeastern University. While at NSU, Randall was a recipient of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy Award. Highly interested in the arts, he is an executive board member of the Hollywood Art and Culture Center. He is committed to giving back to the community and supports many organizations including Young at Art, JAFCO, MS Society, Guardian ad Litem, Voices for Children Broward County and AIPAC.
They have two children, Evan and Reese. Evan is in first grade at the University School and Reese attends the Susan and Saul Singer Early Childhood Learning Center.
Heather and Randall enjoy traveling, exercising, cooking and spending time with their family. One of their guiding principles is: a person who runs to do just, good and kind deeds attains life, success and honor.
STEFANIE & DANIEL NEWMAN
Dan is a born New Yorker and Stefanie is a Miami native, who 24 years ago coaxed Dan into moving to South Florida where they are attorneys. Their proudest accomplishment is their three wonderful children. Dan and Stefanie strongly believe in giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of others. Their children have followed this path.
A partner with the law firm of Broad and Cassel, Dan practices business and securities litigation. He received a bachelor’ degree in business administration from The George Washington University and a law degree from the University of Miami Law School. Dan returned to New York to work for the Enforcement Division of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission before moving to Florida in 1994.
Dan is most proud of his community involvement. He was a member of the David Posnack JCC board for over 10 years, serving as president from 2012-2014. During his term, the board voted to bring the 2015 JCC Maccabi Games® to Broward County. Dan also is a board member of the Jewish Federation of Broward County and the University of Miami Law Alumni Association. For a decade Dan coached youth sports in Broward County including soccer, hockey and softball and played in adult ice hockey leagues for almost 15 years.
Stefanie is a double Gator. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a law degree from the University of Florida. She has been a prosecutor with the Broward State Attorney’s Office for more than 25 years. Currently, she is the assistant state attorney in charge of the domestic violence unit and represents the State of Florida in all phases of pretrial and trial practice. Stefanie regularly lectures to law enforcement and social service organizations on the successful prosecution of domestic violence cases. She has prosecuted individuals for crimes including first, second and third-degree murder, DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery, crimes committed by public officials, elected officials, attorneys and police officers, as well as sex crimes and crimes against children.
Stefanie and Dan are humbled and honored to be a part of the Legends & Leaders Signature Event.
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