28th Annual NOCHE TROPICAL Honoring Volunteers and Benefactors 

The annual glitzy Latin themed gala set for February 17th 


Since the Light of the World Clinic began in 1989, the signature fundraising event, NOCHE TROPICAL, has raised more than a $750,000 for its mission to provide free, quality healthcare services and medicines to more than 1/4 million qualified, uninsured and low income residents in Broward County, Florida.  Founded by the late Dr. Erwin Vasquez, the Clinic boasts the more than 45 volunteer physicians, nurses and healthcare professionals who donate their time and services in 15 different specialty areas. 

Linda Stepenovitch with Dr. Erwin Vasquez

Linda Stepenovitch with Dr. Erwin VasquezThe Noche Tropical gala with its unique Latin theme, takes place at the Signature Grand in Davie, Florida and is one that eager supporters look forward to year after year.  The glitzy, fun-filled celebration brings together more than 450 guests including physicians, hospital executives, elected officials and philanthropic society couples for an  evening of dinner, complimentary wine and dancing to the Studio One Orchestra, live entertainment by the Oscar Caballero Tango Show, and an exciting silent auction .  The presentation  of awards include  Healthcare Partner of the Year, to Florida Free and Charitable Clinicsthe Corporate Partner of the Yearto United Way of Broward County and the Erwin M. Vasquez, M.D. Volunteer of the Year, to Linda Stepenovitch.

"I am honored to continue the mission of Dr. Vasquez and keeping his legacy alive, said Ricardo Reyes, M.D. the volunteer Medical Director.  "Because the patients receive the compassionate care early on, it saves taxpayers millions of dollars, as they will not enter the public health emergency rooms throughout Broward County."  We are thrilled to honor our volunteer physicans , benefactors and healthcare workers who make our mission possible every day.

The Erwin M. Vasquez, M.D Volunteer Award was created by his late wife, Elaine, who wished to bring forward special individuals who go above and beyond to give back to the Clinic's mission and activities.  The Board unanimously selected a long-time volunteer, friend and former patient of  Dr. Vasquez, Linda Stepenovitch, who has made her mark on the hundreds of thousands of dollars she has been able to generate over her 10 years as a Board member and her participation in outreaching to her relationships in the community.

Linda Stepenovitch

Linda StepenovitchLinda Stepenovitch has spent over thirty years in the banking industry in South Florida and has recently retired with Bank of America with her last 10 years where she served as the Senior Vice President of Market Development Manager in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.  

As Market Development Manager her responsibilities had the added function of strategic and tactical delivery of charitable funding opportunities for Bank of America which connected her with many community leaders and local officials. With that, Linda has become a well-known leader in the community and has served on many boards over the years. Linda’s community involvement has included the 

 Light of the World Clinic – Board Member, Take Stock in Children-Corporate Advisory Council member, Broward Education Foundation -Executive Board Member, the Broward Housing Partnership-Executive Board Member, and was appointed by Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr. to serve as a selection committee member for the review of Armed Services Academy applicants. Linda has served on the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee for the Broward County School District.Originally from Massachusetts, Linda and her husband reside in Fort Lauderdale and have 2 children and 4 grandchildren.

Linda was influential in presenting the Light of the World Clinic's mission and outcomes to the Bank of America team that eventually resulted in the awarding of a $200,000 Neighborhood Excellence Grant in 2004.  

Those funds have allowed the Clinic to purchase its first suite of offices in Oakland Park in 2015 making a solid base for decades to come.  "I am so honored to receive this special award in Dr. Vasquez's name. He was a special man in my family's life and I am fully committed to continuing his legacy and his mission for quality healthcare for all," said Linda. "By promoting and encouraging people to actively contribute their time and talents for the success of our community, we enhance the quality of life and help our neighborhoods build a strong and sustainable environment". 

Tickets to the Noche Tropical gala are $150 per person.  To learn more about the LIght of the World Clinic  visit www.lightoftheworldclinic.org.

About the author

Elaine Vasquez

Elaine M. Vasquez is the owner of Broward’s first bilingual newspaper, El Heraldo de Broward, publishing since 1974.. She is a seasoned public relations and marketing executive who pioneered the cable television industry in Broward County from 1970 to 1985 having co-owned a company that eventually became Comcast Communciations. She previously owned a multicultural communications company, Latin Power, Inc. and presently owns a special events company, We Do Events, Inc. which produces the annual Hispanic Women of Distinction charity luncheon, Fiesta! Fort Lauderdale, Viva Broward! Fort Lauderdale, Viva Broward! 
Calendar of Events for Hispanic Heritage Month and over 200 galas, outdoor fairs and festivals, private fundraisers and political activities.   Elaine’s pioneering ventures inspired her to develop a unique set of skills that formed the backbone of her story and still makes an impact on her business and social life today.