VERO BEACH — Treasure Coast Community Health’s Sixth Annual Great Duck Derby fundraiser went swimmingly, drawing a huge crowd. The community-favorite maritime event took place on the sandy beaches of Captain Hiram’s on Sunday, Oct. 14. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed a day in the sun and sand while sporting every kind of duck attire imaginable, including duck hats, shirts, sunglasses, necklaces and more. Captain Hiram’s became a sea of yellow, before the ducks even hit the water.

Event volunteers worked to sell duck attire as well as racing to input hundreds of last minute duck adoptions. Attendees and restaurant customers awaited the race while enjoying live music and Captain Hiram’s famous atmosphere.

“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to today who said how excited they are to be back to Captain Hiram’s,” said Treasure Coast Community Healthcare Business Development Director Dennis Bartholomew. The Great Duck Derby is often referred to as Treasure Coast Community Health’s “friend-raiser” due to its large community involvement. This year’s Derby was no exception.

Quackers, the Great Duck Derby mascot, donned pirate attire for the occasion and was rarely spotted away from the dance floor. In between sets, kids proudly announced their presence using their bright yellow, bill-shaped duck calls.

Following a rendition of “Call to Post”, SeaTow of Sebastian lowered 150 yards of oils booms into the water, creating a contained race track for the competing ducks. Spectators watched as 5,000 rubber ducks raced through the lagoon. Excitement grew as the ducks made their way toward the finish line with the help of a flock of splashing children.

This year’s winners were Salt of the Earth Ministry in first place, Christina Sirman in second place, and Brittney Kerr in third place.

Once the winning ducks were collected, volunteers began gathering the remaining 4,997 ducks one by one, placing them in big, blue bins for transport to their next race destination. Volunteers worked diligently to ensure each duck was accounted for.

Vicki Soule, CEO of Treasure Coast Community Health, was thankful for all the volunteers and community support, “We are so pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to our fundraiser this year. We want to thank, not only our volunteers, participants, and sponsors, but also all the individual businesses that acted as adoption sites. We know that contributed to our success and for that, we’re very grateful.”

The monies raised from the fundraiser will go toward Treasure Coast Community Health’s mission of eliminating barriers to healthcare for all members of Indian River County, regardless of socioeconomic status.

“At TCCH we will not refuse any patient due to their inability to pay. We rely heavily on local donations in order to provide comprehensive, affordable medical, dental and behavioral health services to all members of the community,” Soule said. “The Derby helps us build awareness within the community about the individuals in need of affordable primary care services.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, TCCH opens its doors, services and hearts to all, regardless of one’s ability to pay. As Indian River’s first and only Federally Qualified Health Center, TCCH offers comprehensive primary care, including medical, dental and behavioral health services. TCCH serves over 19,500 patients annually with more than 70,000 face-to-face patient visits. Sliding fee discounts may be available for patients with limited resources.

To schedule an appointment at one of Treasure Coast Community Health’s six Indian River County sites, please call 772-257-8224. For additional information or appointments please refer to TCCH’s website at, or call 772-257-8224.

This article was distributed through Treasure Coast Business, a news service for the readers and advertisers of Indian River Magazine.