Eileen Morris and Sandra Porter Head The Local Chrysanthemum Ball


There is little question that the Chrysanthemum Ball is the event of the season in Martin County. A gala affair with as much panache as purpose, the annual and beloved ball draws more than 400 attendees to assist a great cause. This year’s event takes place Saturday, Nov. 11, and will raise funds through the Martin Health Foundation for the H. William Lichtenberger Fund, which supports patients, their families and the community. This year’s chairs are Eileen Morris and Sandra Porter, and under their leadership, the ball is expected to draw many supporters.

What is the H. William Lichtenberger Fund?

Morris: Mr. Litchenberger is a local resident who saw a need and decided to do something about it. His very generous donation initially funded the H. William Lichtenberger Fund, which strives to cover the gap in medical care for those in our community in need. Recipients for the Lichtenberger Fund are individuals identified as in need of special financial, medical, social and environmental assistance. 

A team of caregivers helps to identify potential recipients, and the goal of the H. William Lichtenberger Fund is to help increase the health care of the community and assist individuals who might otherwise fall through the cracks. We have a tremendous percentage of at-risk population in our community. This project will help close the coverage gap and be of benefit to so many. We cannot thank Mr. Lichtenberger enough for his vision and generosity.

How did you become involved with the Chrysanthemum Ball?

Porter: Giving back to the community has always been of great importance to our family. My husband and I were serving on the Martin Memorial Foundation Board because we have a strong commitment to quality medical care in our community. I was invited to join [the] Chrysanthemum Ball committee, and over the years, the projects we chose were crucial to the hospital and community. It was so rewarding to reach each goal and be able to actually see the benefit of each project. 

What helped you find your passion for volunteering?

Morris: I was going through a difficult time in my life, and I was searching for a way to give sustenance to it. I had volunteered for several organizations in the past and discovered I really enjoyed giving back. I always wanted to be more involved with our community, and a friend suggested I join the Mum Ball committee. I discovered a great, hardworking group of interesting and successful women. I am very proud to help make the event successful beyond our dreams because it does so much to help our community. 

What is the best part about chairing this event?

Morris: Having Sandra as my co-chair is the best part about chairing the event because we work great together—yin and yang! More importantly, working with 28 other women all pulling in the same direction for a common cause is extremely rewarding. 

Porter: Eileen and I have a wonderful committee of dedicated women who are as passionate and hardworking as we are, to ensure this event is exciting, entertaining and an evening to remember for all who are committed to our project and Martin Health.

What can we expect from this year’s Chrysanthemum Ball?

Morris: You can expect an exciting, inspiring and heart-warming evening filled with dynamic and enthusiastic guests who continually support the Mum Ball and believe in the project. 

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