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I’ve been presented with a challenge…and my response is the same as to the question “what gift do you get someone that already has everything?”…I have no idea!  Some people will say, “oh, it doesn’t matter…it’s the thought that counts.”  I can take that response two ways:

1) the gift is irrelevant, it’s the fact that you thought to give them ‘something ‘ that matters

2) it’s the time you spend and the thought that you put in to determining something meaningful

My vote goes to #2.  Time is a precious gift…one that can’t be bought nor can it be replaced.

So where am I going with this?  Ever since I found out that I was going to be a part of this AFE Tour, one thought has dominated my mind…how am I possibly going to convey the depth of my admiration and appreciation to the men and women I meet during this tour?  Again, I have no idea!  Saying thank you and passing out t-shirts seems not nearly enough.

And then an interesting thing happened today.  Everyone we met was amazingly gracious and thanking US!  They are so grateful that we have taken the time to go on this tour to spend time with them.  Now how about that!  Here I am trying to figure out how to show my appreciation in a meaningful way, and I am humbly reminded that sometimes it really is the thought that counts…and the time that goes into it.

To continue following the Miami Marlins’ fifth visit overseas to our troops please visit: or follow us at @MarlinsAyudan

40,000 ft above the Atlantic… that’s where it struck me.

9:42pm Miami time…that’s when it struck me.  40,000 ft above the Atlantic (somewhere between Miami and Frankfort, Germany)…that’s where it struck me.  I don’t know if it was inspired by Mumford & Sons Live at Red Rocks, or if it was triggered by thoughts of the upcoming Olympics…but for whatever reason it struck me again that we truly do live in an extraordinary world.

Our world is made up of nearly 7 billion people that all have their own unique talents and gifts.  Amazing minds engineered this aircraft…Talented artists bring beauty to our world, both musically and visually.  Physical specimens push themselves past what they thought was possible, reminding us that dreams can be achieved if we dedicate ourselves to them.  Astronauts, our modern day explorers, are fearlessly determined to discover the unknown. Doctors and nurses dedicate their lives to helping people through phenomenal advancements in medicine.  I could go on and on, but the point is, it takes all kinds to make our world go round.

I feel fortunate that my life’s path has provided me the opportunity to know so many unique, inspiring people and share meaningful experiences with them.  As I am enjoying my walk down memory lane, I can’t help but wonder about who will be next.  Oh, I know a little bit about them, but I can’t wait to meet them and hear their stories. In my opinion, they possess some of the most admirable traits…honor, integrity, selflessness and loyalty to name a few. They are the men and women of the US military that day after day serve our country defending our freedom.  As a part of the contingent from the Miami Marlins, we are embarking on a week-long tour with Armed Forces Entertainment to spend time with troops in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. This is the fifth AFE Tour for the Marlins, and I am humbled and honored to be a part of it.

Undoubtedly, this experience will leave it’s mark on my soul, add countless new friends along the way and once again remind me of all the exceptional people that make up our extraordinary world.

To learn more about the Miami Marlins’ fifth visit overseas to our troops, please visit: or follow us at @MarlinsAyudan

Miami Lighthouse Day

The Miami Marlins and the Marlins Foundation present Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired with a check for $25,000.

The Miami Marlins and Marlins Foundation present Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired with a check for $25,000.

As a 2013 Official Charity Partner, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired held their day at Marlins Park on August 3rd. Before the game, Marlins President David Samson, and Marlins executives PJ Loyello and Alfredo Mesa presented them with a $25,000 check before the game. Accepting on behalf of Miami Lighthouse was President and C.E.O. Virginia Jacko, Chairman of the Board, Agustin Arellano, Jr., and former Board Chair, Ray Casas. The Marlins Foundation also hosted a silent auction and 50/50 Raffle, with all of the proceeds going to the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind seeks to provide vision rehabilitation and eye health services that promote independence, to educate professionals, and to conduct research in related fields. We are proud to have them as a 2013 Charity Partner!

A Hands-On Experience of Marlins Park

The Marlins Foundation welcomed 2013 Charity Partner Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired with a hands-on tour of Marlins Park. Students from Miami Lighthouse were taken from the field, to the dugout, and given a chance to feel some game used equipment. Rob Brantly spoke to them about playing the game of baseball, and the kind of things he experiences while playing catcher for the Marlins. On Saturday, August 3rd come support Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired at their Official Charity Partner Day as the Miami Marlins host the Cleveland Indians.

“The Marlins’ commitment to their partnership with Miami Lighthouse was made obvious by today’s Ballpark Tour. They welcomed us to the Park with open arms, accommodated all our needs, and made us feel right at home. This experience inspired our students to dream big and reinforced our belief that it truly is possible to see without sight.”

Virginia A. Jacko, President and Chief Executive Officer

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Inc.

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Charity Partner Days at Marlins Park

Enjoy reading about all the Marlins do in the community? Then come support our official 2013 Charity Partner days at Marlins Park! On each of their days, our Charity Partner will receive an on-field check for $25,000 dollars from the Marlins Foundation. While at the ballpark don’t forget to grab your 50/50 Raffle ticket to help raise money for their causes, and potentially win some yourself!  See the dates below:


Breakthrough Miami 

Sunday, July 14th Marlins v. Nationals


Miami Lighthouse for the Blind  


Saturday, Aug. 3 Marlins v. Indians

Miami Lighthouse for the BlindMCM-logo

 Miami Children’s Museum 

Sunday, Aug 25 Marlins v. Rockies.



Miracle League of Miami-Dade 

Saturday, Sept. 28 Marlins v. Tigers.

Miracle League of Miami Dade

To read more on any of these charities visit their websites linked above. To come out to Marlins Park to support them head over to and get your tickets there. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Charity Partner of that day.

In the meantime, check out Breakthrough Miami’s spirit check at Camp Day!



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