Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Richard E. Bardsley, PDD

Inverness Elks Pack Backpacks for Local Students

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Inverness Elks Lodge’s Backpack for Success program supplied backpacks and school supplies to needy students. The program is funded by an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant along with a donation of 20 backpacks from Daystar Life Center. Lodge volunteers put together grade-appropriate backpacks with school supplies for the Citrus County Foster Parent Association, seven area high schools and middle schools, Guardian ad Litum, and Citrus United Basket. In the three years since the program started, the number of students helped has more than doubled.

Inverness Lodge presented back-to-school backpacks to the Citrus County Foster Parent Association. Pictured are Elba Jiminez and Debbie King from the CCFPA along with Elk volunteers Fern McAvay, Bill McAvay, Jan Belland and Richard Grosnick.


Eustis Anna Miller and Elks Pack Supplies for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties

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Once again the Anna Miller Circle of Eustis Lodge #1578 met for their July quarterly packing for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. The Haven offers 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter for domestic and sexual violence victims and their minor children. This is followed by support and resources for the victims and their children including courtroom advocacy, tutoring and life skills classes. Volunteers pack quart-size bags with travel-size items which are given upon arrival at the shelter. They also donate gently worn clothes and suitcases. Volunteers for this packing session included six Anna Miller Circle members and four Elks who made quick work of packing the $4,250.50 in-kind contribution. This very worthwhile charity has been serving victims since 1977.


Winter Park Elks Send 41 Kids to FEYC

Winter Park Lodge Chairmen Ron and Kathryn Cunningham developed 41 camperships to send kids to the Florida Elks Youth Camp. They received funds from the lodge, DOES and parents.


South Marion-Villages Happenings

South Marion-Villages Lodge held a yard sale where members and community were asked to donate items to sell. The sale raised $980 for the Elks National Foundation. Also, the lodge awarded the winners of the Drug Awareness poster and essay contests $100 and a pizza party for their class.


Winter Park Elks and DOES Perform Flag Ceremony

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Winter Park Lodge officers performed the annual Flag Day ritual for members and guests. The event was followed by a cookout at the lodge. Assisting in the flag presentations were members of the Lake Howell High School JROTC. Members of the DOES Auxiliary performed their flag ceremony which was selected to be performed at the DOES state convention and the national convention led by Supreme President, Karen Trachsel, from the local drove.


Winter Park Elks Hold Easter Egg Hunt

Mysteriously over 400 Easter eggs appeared on the Winter Park Lodge lawn, in the bushes and in the trees behind the lodge. Fortunately, about 50 egg-loving children from the community came equipped with baskets for the annual Easter egg hunt. They and their families had fun and gave us a hand in cleaning up. In addition to Easter candy, stuffed animals were given to all the children who participated. The Easter Bunny was there as well to the delight of the children and adults.


South Marion-Villages Lodge Hold Drug Awareness and Safety Program

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South Marion-Villages Lodge held a drug awareness and safety program. Guests of the day included anti-drug Sprint car driver, Keith Butler, who brought his car; Elroy the Elk; and representatives from the Belleview Police, Marion County Sheriff, Marion County Fire and the head of Security for Marion County Schools. On display were tactical vehicles and the mobile jail. Security topics included internet safety, bullying and the dangers of drugs. Sadly, lightning pre vented the use of golf carts for various tasks with “drunk goggles” to demonstrate drunk driving, but an indoor obstacle course with wheelchairs was improvised. Pizza was served as well.

Children wear “drunk goggles” while South Marion-Villages Exalted Ruler, Brian Seybert, helps demonstrate the effects of drunk driving.

Children got to see what it would be like in jail in the mobile jail cell during South Marion-Villages Lodge’s drug awareness and safety program.


Inverness Elks Raffle Quilt with a Special Story

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What began as an idea about two years ago has come to fruition. Gary Jones, an Inverness Elks member and avid quilter, along with his wife, Marilyn, agreed to put together an Elks quilt. Unfortunately, shortly after starting the project, Gary was diagnosed with lung cancer. He would not quit; he worked as much as physically possible and put the final stitches to the face of the quilt shortly before passing. The quilting portion of the project was completed by Karol Kuzmaul. This beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilt depicts the pillars of the Elks foundation and collateral items for which Elks stand. The membership recently voted to raffle the quilt as a lodge fundraiser.

Inverness members selling tickets for a special quilt are, seated, PER Mike Orndorff and ER Bill McAvay. Standing are Jan Belland, Fern McAvay, Juanita Emrich and Mike Pombier.


Mount Dora ROTC Participates in Eustis Lodge Flag Day Ceremony

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On Flag Day at Eustis Lodge, the Mount Dora High School ROTC directed by Senior Master Sargent Ward carried in the flags as they were introduced.


Eustis Ladies and Elks Focus on Helping Kids

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Eustis Lodge was focused on helping kids this past quarter. The Anna Miller Circle and the lodge hosted an Easter egg hunt. The lodge gave four of the therapy services patients’ families $100 gift cards to Aldi for groceries. Exalted Ruler, Herman Strauss, donated $100 to buy clothes and items for one of the therapy patients to use at camp and the Anna Miller Circle sponsored another therapy patient to go to camp. The ladies also sent 28 other campers this year, donating $5,400 in camperships; they also donated $2,000 to the Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. The lodge awarded seven $1,000 scholarships to high school students.

Raelynn fills her brother’s basket with eggs during the Eustis Lodge Easter egg hunt.


Eustis Anna Miller Circle Supports The Haven for Women and Children

1578 Haven 5 The Eustis Anna Miller Circle met April 1 to pack for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. They had a record 13 volunteers including three Elks to tackle the massive task. The in-kind contribution equaled $4,170. Included were 222 adult welcome kits and 72 children’s welcome kits. The one-quart bags contain travel-sized toiletries, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. Hand sanitizer and tissues are added to the children’s kits. The collection also included suitcases, clothes and toys. The Haven provides a safe harbor for abused women, teens and children including food, shelter and clothing as well as counseling, advocacy and safety planning. In addition to the adult services, the counselors provide children’s school advocacy, school supplies, and individual counseling between students and teachers and court accompaniment. While the mother is making so many adjustments, the children’s lives are also greatly impacted and the incredible services provided by The Haven can and do change their lives.


Winter Park Elks Stay Active in their Community

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Exalted Ruler Ron Goluba and First Lady Sue Jovi represented the Winter Park Elks Lodge #1830 in the 39th annual Winter Park St. Patrick’s Day parade where they greeted thousands. Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services district occupational therapist, Diane Norton, walked the parade route speaking to members of the community and handing out brochures. Member Tom Norton drove the van. Also walking the parade route was Elks drug awareness mascot, Elroy, escorted by lodge member Barbara Rozanski. Six Lake Howell High School students also volunteered by distributing hundreds of “Elks Stay Drug-Free” red ribbons promoting the Elks drug awareness program.

Winter Park Lodge awarded 13 scholarships to high school seniors in the amount of $1,000 each. The students and their families joined lodge members for dinner. A live band as well as Irish dancers provided the evening’s entertainment. The lodge donated the use of its ballroom to Walden Community School. The students performed the play “The Magic Ukelele” for students, families and friends. Students from International Christian High School were at the lodge to perform a half day of community service. The students cleaned the outside area of the lodge and were then treated to pizza.


Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:




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