The Day Begins
As folks began arriving, we couldn’t wait to get started. It was morning; golfers gathered and mingled while preparing to enjoy the day. They indulged in a light breakfast, checked themselves in, chattered excitedly about the upcoming festivities. When it was time to get started, the golfers hopped in carts and set out across the beautiful course.
We were fortunate to have Jerry Porter, our Tournament Chair, leading us. While unfortunately, he couldn’t play this year, though he “wish[es] he could have,” his presence is always felt and appreciated! Another special guest at this year’s Gala was Pedro Ulloa. Pedro was 11 years old when he came to the US in 2011 as part of Kidsave’s Summer Miracles Program. Michael and Courtney Ulloa adopted him in 2019! This year, he gave an impressive and moving speech, sharing some of his life and thoughts.
A Moving Presentation
Pedro may have been a little nervous about speaking in front of a large crowd, but he’s certainly no stranger to public speaking. Telling the group proudly that he’s “on the student council at my school,” he jokingly added, “because I’m so cool.” This, of course, got a laugh out of the audience and warmed them up. Turning serious, Pedro became more vulnerable as spoke about how his “life has changed in many ways.” The most impactful way is that now “he has a big family.”
Pedro’s parents spoke as well, and Courtney recounted that she and her husband “first fell in love with Pedro because of his huge heart.” Like all moms, she joked that she could happily stand in front of the crowd and brag about Pedro to them forever. She chirped, “I could go on because I’m his mom, and I like to brag,” but she refrained and simply concluded that “Pedro is really cool.”
A sense of humor obviously runs in the family as Michael made a few jokes with the audience about teaching his son the value of discipline. He teased his son, saying, “our hope is for him to become an honorable man,” and playfully added, “and do what he’s told” while sharing a moment of eye contact with Pedro. Teasing aside, Pedro expressed pride in his dad’s guidance. He happily shared the message his dad gives him every morning before going off to school, that he “find love, find wisdom, and find discipline.”
Courtney, trying to bring their family speech to a close, did so with praise for her son. Looking at Pedro, she got a little weepy, “on a day-to-day basis, he amazes me, and I’m so proud of him… I just want him to find happiness in himself and every day… and know how incredibly loved he is.” It was moving for all to hear the emotion in her voice as she spoke to the audience, “I want to thank all of you here because this wouldn’t be possible without you… you truly are changing lives,” her voice broke for a second before continuing, “and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for changing ours.”
It was truly a day to remember.
Thank you to our sponsors, attendees, and guests for making it so special.