Lighthouse of Pinellas

11th Annual Point of Light Luncheon

September 8, 2017

Noon – 1:30pm

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For event information, sponsorship opportunities or ticket purchase, please contact Anna Cottos, at 727-544-4433, ext. 224 or via email at
The Point of Light Luncheon is Lighthouse of Pinellas’ signature fundraising event. Now in its 11th year, Point of Light serves as the community outreach to raise awareness and support for Lighthouse’s low vision rehabilitation programs and services that serve blind and visually impaired individuals in Pinellas County.

A community favorite, the luncheon will feature keynote speaker, Evan Connell. Mr. Connell is a Criminal Investigative Analyst with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. At age 16, he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa and has been progressively losing his sight ever since. Now 45, Connell has been working in the Intelligence Unit of the Special Investigations Division of the sheriff’s office for 21 years. He is an active advocate for the blind and visually impaired in his community, and in Tallahassee.

2017-09-08 12:00:00
2017-09-08 13:30:00
Lighthouse of Pinellas 11th Annual Point of Light Luncheon
Lighthouse of Pinellas’ signature fundraising event
Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park
950 Lake Carillon Dr.
St Petersburg, FL, 33716



Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park
950 Lake Carillon Dr.
St Petersburg, FL, 33716


Thank you to the following sponsors for supporting the 2017 Point of Light Luncheon!

Presenting Sponsor

Beacon of Light Sponsor

Guiding Light Sponsor

Spot Light Sponsor

Table Sponsor

Point of Light Committee

Mrs. Joan Kline, Committee Chair
Mrs. Patricia Grubb
Mrs. Terry Porter

If you are interested in joining this generous group of donors, click HERE to download the sponsorship packet and contact Anna Cottos, 727-544-4433, ext. 224 or


Keynote Speaker - Evan Connell

Evan Connell

Keynote Speaker, Point of Light Luncheon

POL-for-web  point-of-light-logo-1  Evan-228x300  Evan Connell has been employed by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for the past 21 years working in the Intelligence Unit of the Special Investigations Division as a Criminal Investigative Analyst.

At the age of 15, Connell looked forward to becoming a licensed driver and he had aspirations of learning, and ultimately running his family’s citrus harvesting business. However, a life-altering diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa slowly began to claim his sight.

Despite his vision impairment, Connell graduated from Riverdale High School in Fort Myers and then from the University of South Florida in 1997, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. In his senior year at USF, Connell was accepted into an intern program at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. After graduation, he was offered a full-time position with the sheriff’s office, and he began to build his current position as an analyst working with pawnshops, second-hand dealers and metal recyclers recovering stolen property, identifying suspects of thefts and wanted persons.

“It’s very gratifying when I am able to assist a detective in solving a case or finding stolen property for a victim of a burglary when they have little to no hope of ever finding their sentimental items that were stolen from them,” Connell said.

Connell has a strong passion for giving back to his community and advocating for people who are blind or visually impaired. He is currently the immediate past president of the Lighthouse of Southwest Florida in Ft. Myers where he has served on its board of directors since 2009. He travels to Tallahassee annually on behalf of the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FAASB) and the Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit (FLEPRU) because he said, “I believe showing a consistent presence to his local legislators at the State Capital is an important way to express his personal desires and to convey the needs of the blind community.”

In 2007, Connell was named the Regional Director for FLEPRU, and sits on its board of directors. In 2009, he was name as one of Gulfshore Business Magazine’s Forty Under Forty award recipients which recognizes 40 individuals who have distinguished themselves in their professions within the community.

Connell motivates his audiences by saying, “We can either shy away from our fears and obstacles or embrace them. We can allow our opportunities to pass us by or we can set aside our fears and take advantage of opportunities no matter what stands in our way.” Connell is a proud father of two beautiful daughters, 20 and 16, and has been happily married to his wife, Laura, for 11 years.

Beacon of Light Honoree


John Wilson Spot Light Volunteer Honoree