Last February I was contacted by Donna Polk of Vero Beach, Florida and asked to deliver a presentation (via Zoom) on the history of the 1715 Fleet. Donna is the Speaker Coordinator of Head, Hearts and Hands, a 501(c) (3) foundation established in 2013 by golf and residential members of the Indian River Club. HHH has its own Board of Directors, which manages the overall strategy of the program. Specialized activities, developed and implemented by the Board, focus on the needs of the Treasure Coast community. Its name, Head, Hearts and Hands, reflects these specialized activities.
The HEAD part is reflected in a Speakers Series, scheduled throughout the winter season. Through speakers, the membership is educated and develops a deeper understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities that exist within the broader Indian River region. It was in conjunction with the Speakers Series that led to me being contacted. Inasmuch as one of the primary missions of the Fleet Society is to educate the public about the 1715 Fleet and its place in history, I gladly accepted.
Arrangements were made for me to conduct a Zoom presentation on April 7. My topic was “A Short History of the 1715 Fleet, Its Loss, Rediscovery and Recovery.” There were about 25 to 30 individuals that accessed the presentation. From the feedback that I received following the presentation it appears that it went over very well.
As a postscript I should add that I had plans to travel to Vero Beach in April and knowing that, Donna and her husband Peter invited my wife and I to dinner at their club. On Saturday, April 17, we were treated to a wonderful dinner at the beautiful clubhouse that is the center of activities in the community that surrounds the golf course. The weather, while warm, was comfortable due in large measure to a cooling breeze that swept over the manicured grounds. Joining us for dinner were several friends of Donna and her husband who had attended the Zoom presentation. Tom and Renee Lincoln and Colleen and Gary Bruckner kept the conversation lively with many questions about the 1715 Fleet. They were particularly amazed about how these shipwrecks were right off the coast at Vero Beach.
All in all, I believe that this presentation was beneficial in so many ways. First, it reinforced our mission of education and opened up a new world of historical interest in the history of the 1715 Fleet. Second, it was good publicity for the Society and introduced us to a whole new group of people that did not about us before the presentation. And finally, it allowed us to help Donna and her group fulfill their mission of education.
I would like to thank Donna and her group for inviting me to speak to their members. I look forward to perhaps a return engagement if they would like a sequel.
Ben Costello, Director