What do Florida Senators Garrett Richter, Nancy Detert, Mike Bennett and I all have in common? 
We will all be on the same stage March 16th, as I "RoastMaster" the Sertoma Sarasota Celebrity Roast. Senator Bennett, the Florida Senate President Pro Tempore, will be the evenings guest of dishonor.
Politically this will be tempting for me. The Florida legislature has provided ample fodder this year, including the complete neutering of SB 668, the physician dispensing bill (more on that in a few days). But alas, this is a charity fundraiser, not a political event, so I suppose I will have to be good, and bite my tongue (a rarity for me).
The Sertoma Roast is my baby. I am a past President and Chairman of the Sertoma Club of Greater Sarasota, a group that has, for over 50 years supported people with speech and hearing disabilities. I first proposed and chaired the Roast in 2006, when we successfully skewered our (then) county Sheriff, Bill Balkwill. The Bennett Roast will be our 4th, and biggest to date.
Senator Bennett is a fellow Sertoman, and a colorful character who has provided quite sufficient material for his fellow Roasters. Joining us that night will be, as I mentioned, Senators Richter and Detert, as well as Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton, City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, and local workers’ comp attorney Alex Lancaster.
Bennett is proving to be quite the draw, as the event has sold tickets from as far away as Tallahassee, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach and Miami. The Roast itself is fashioned after the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts of the 1970’s, with everyone being potential targets of the panels wrath. If you are nearby and would like to join us, it promises to be a very funny evening. You can learn more and purchase tickets at www.SarasotaRoast.com
The proceeds of this night will support an excellent cause. With an emphasis on children who need assistance, The Sertoma Club of Greater Sarasota funded and staffed the First Sound program at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. That program uses highly specialized equipment to conduct hearing tests for newborns, allowing for hearing problem diagnosis and intervention years earlier than previously possible. The program was so successful that it is now a required procedure for newborns at all Florida hospitals. For over 30 years we have run a Speech Therapy Center for children whose families cannot afford traditional services. (www.sertomakids.org)
The club does much more, buying equipment, computers, and software for the hearing disabled, as well as providing scholarships, educational stipends and supporting broader causes. I am very proud to be part of this organization. There is absolutely nothing more satisfying than, as President, to receive a hand drawn card from a 10 year old child that says "Thank you for my hearing aids. I love the sounds that I can hear".
I assure, you, it can make a grown man cry.
But the Roast will be about laughing, and that is what we intend to do. The details are:
Sertoma Sarasota Celebrity Roast of Senator Mike Bennett
Friday, March 16, 2012
6:30PM @ Michaels On East
Join us if you can! Now, if I can just work in a joke about physician dispensing…….

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