Achilles dinner-dance business as usual for Mar-a-Lago Club


If the mass defection of charity balls will change Mar-a-Lago this social season, there was no evidence at Saturday night’s dinner dance for the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Vets.

The Bentleys, Maseratis and Rolls-Royces still made the slow, cautious turn into the graveled driveway, lined on both sides with an unbroken line of American flags in honor of the night’s patriotic theme.

The event originally was slated for Nov. 30. But last week’s opened up after the Lady in Red gala for philanthropist Lois Pope’s LIFE Foundation decided to leave Mar-a-Lago, following President Donald Trump’s controversial Charlottesville, Va., comments this summer.

Achilles set to kick off Mar-a-Lago’s gala season

Men and women in formal dress — many wearing a chestful of medals — still made their way to the Grand Ballroom through the gilded living room and along the terrace, where club members were dining al fresco.

Shiny Shots: See more photos

Rather than poolside or the Post ballroom, the usual pre-dinner venues, the cocktail reception and silent auction took place in a roped-off section of the Grand Ballroom.

This reception-and-dinner-in-the-same-room is an effective visual trick for disguising a poor turnout, but that didn’t seem to be an issue here. Attendance looked to be close to 400 — pretty remarkable for an event which, until Saturday night, took place in somebody’s backyard.

Granted, a Palm Beach backyard, but still …

More Palm Beach social scene coverage

In addition to the silent auction and cocktail reception —with music by Gypsy Kings guitarist Gyorgy — the evening included the Florida Sea Cadets color guard, remarks from chairwomen Mary Bryant McCourt and Robin Saltzman, dinner (a surf-and-turf of sea scallops and filet), dessert (a triple plate of deconstructed strawberry shortcake, ice cream and that oh-so-famous chocolate cake) and dancing to the music of Soul Survivor.

The night’s highlight was the presentation of honors to local World War II veterans Dick Schmeelk, Irvin Saltzman, Jerome Nelinson, Sumner Hushing Jr., George Fisher, Harold Lynn, Howard “Scrappy” Johnson, Franklin W. Simon, and Wayne P. Jackson, who walked away from colleges, families, law practices and farms to answer the country’s call. They fought the fight, bandaged their wounds, retrieved their fallen, returned home and continued their lives with nary a whine.

There’s a lesson for us all in there.

Proceeds assist Achilles in its mission to enable people of all ages to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

NEW: Turnpike crash blocks all north lanes in Gardens-Jupiter area
NEW: Turnpike crash blocks all north lanes in Gardens-Jupiter area

A crash on Florida’s Turnpike early Saturday temporarily blocked all northbound lanes between Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens, the Florida Department of Transportation. FDOT reported the crash on its website just after 6:30 a.m. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Rural Rustic Lakes, just annexed, sues to get out of Gardens
Rural Rustic Lakes, just annexed, sues to get out of Gardens

Residents of a rural community annexed into Palm Beach Gardens in March have filed a legal challenge, arguing the city “orchestrated a reprehensible method” to force them to join by including their small area on a ballot question that covered two larger communities as well. RELATED: Gardens moves to annex 500 homes west of Ibis; will residents...
Final rounds: After 30 years, Polo Trace latest golf course to close
Final rounds: After 30 years, Polo Trace latest golf course to close

As a gust of wind blows through the half-empty parking lot, Jason Wadsworth sits in a golf cart and patrols an area he’s looked over countless times the past two decades. Wadsworth began working at Polo Trace Golf Club as a range attendant in 1999 and has worked his way up to operations superintendent, but he will soon be looking for a new job...
Prince Charles will succeed Queen Elizabeth as head of the Commonwealth
Prince Charles will succeed Queen Elizabeth as head of the Commonwealth

It’s official: Prince Charles will succeed Queen Elizabeth as head of the Commonwealth, the BBC reported. The Queen had said it was her “sincere wish” that the Prince of Wales succeed her when she dies. Leaders of the Commonwealth discussed the issue before making their decision, the BBC reported. Unlike the British crown, the...
'Sorry,' says man, 19, who opened fire at Florida high school
'Sorry,' says man, 19, who opened fire at Florida high school

The 19-year-old gunman who caused panic and fear at a Florida high school when he opened fire Friday morning said he was “sorry.” The gunman, identified as Sky Bouche, brought a shotgun onto campus at Forest High School in Ocala and shot a 17-year-old student in the ankle, deputies said.  The shooting happened on the day planned for...
More Stories