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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Mary Lou Scribner

Sebring Elks Continue College Scholarship Fund

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PER George Quel was out and about Jan. 28 enriching lives in his community. He presented a check for $1,000 to Jamie Bateman, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at South Florida State College. These monies go to the Sebring Elks Scholarship Trust Fund which was established in 2007. Applicants must be under the age of 26, have graduated from a high school in Highlands County, must be a U.S. citizen, and must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at SFSC on at least a half-time basis. They must also demonstrate financial need and show evidence of academic promise by having a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on all past high school or college work. Preference is given to children of Elks members, Elks members or U.S. veterans who are members of the Elks.

Quel also presented a check to the Champion for Children Foundation for $1,000 for the Safe House.


Plant City Honors Americanism Essay Contest Winner

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Plant City Lodge’s Americanism essay contest winner was Taylor Pentecost, a sixth-grade student from Marshall Middle School. The topic was “Why our Veterans are America’s Heroes.” Pictured is the Americanism Committee that judged the entries: Terry Crum, Marty Carroll, Diana Townsend and Peggy Crum. Taylor received a certificate and $50. The contest starts with the lodges, progresses through district and state levels, and ends with the naming of the national winners at the Grand Lodge convention in San Antonio, Texas, in July 2018. This very important patriotic contest gives children in fifth through eighth grade the opportunity to express views on their pride in America.


Plant City Ladies of the Elks Support Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services

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On Jan. 10, the Plant City Ladies of the Elks presented a check for $1,395 to Colleen Gallant, Director of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, and Paula Tarver, occupational therapist for the Southwest Central District. Plant City Ladies with Chairman Bette Guarino have partnered for the second year with Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services raising funds through their Angel Tree project. This year the funds were raised to purchase therapeutic listening equipment which includes four special headphones and 10 modulated and 10 fine-tuning music chips that pair with the headphones for a total of $1,395. The tree had clear ornaments with various amounts of fake currency inside. The ornaments on the tree added up to the total funds needed to purchase all the equipment. Members chose their ornament and gave their cash donation. Through the members, $825 was raised and the remaining funds came from the Ladies of the Elks. The equipment will be used by the therapists with their patients in the district; at least 100 children will benefit from this therapy. Therapeutic listening equipment can assist children with walking or talking for the first time and is not something insurance covers for the families.


Sebring Elks Help Hurricane-Stricken Boys & Girls Club

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The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks is celebrating 150 years this year, and to celebrate this milestone, the Elks National Foundation has awarded each Elks lodge a $1,500 grant to be used in their community. Sebring Elks Lodge #1529 proudly presented this check to The Boys & Girls Club of Highlands County. After having read about the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma and having spoken to the interim executive director, Derek Pierce, regarding the work they do with after-school programs, the Sebring Elks Board of Directors chose to give these monies to help the children K-8 in Avon Park and Sebring. At this time, the Lake Placid facility is closed. Having lost their building in Sebring along with 80% of its contents, they are currently working out of a room in the downtown Sebring Chamber of Commerce and the First United Methodist Church of Sebring. Avon Park, with the financial help from the City of Avon Park, has been able to continue meeting at the Avon Park Recreation Center. Pictured are Loyal Knight Ken Hedges, Director Derek Pierce and Leading Knight Chris Hanchey.


Brandon Lodge Partners with Kennedy Cares Tampa Bay

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Seven PERs from the Brandon Lodge PER Association picked up 110 toys from the Walgreens Christmas toy drive valued at approximately $900, which is a fantastic result for this initial year. Sandy Parlett, President of Kennedy Cares Tampa Bay, had requests from over 200 families in need to fill their children’s Christmas wishes, but this year, the organization’s shelves were low with only 50 toys. It was perfect timing when Brandon Lodge reached out to partner with them, and together they helped these families provide Christmas magic for their children. Kennedy Cares Tampa Bay is a 100% volunteer organization whose mission is to provide short-term assistance to individuals and families experiencing financial hardships by offering support with food, formula, clothing and basic household needs.

George Thomas of Brandon’s PER Association is pictured with a manager of Walgreens as he picks up toys to donate to Kennedy Cares Tampa Bay.


Foster Children Receive Toys from Plant City Elks

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Plant City Lodge presented five boxes of new toys to Pam Bell from Everyday Blessings and the 28 foster children in her care. Pictured are Mike Smith, Marty Carroll, Martin Wisgerhof, Dale Rodenmeyer, Pam Bell from Everyday Blessings and Judy Wise.


Young Mother Raising her Siblings Receives Help from Plant City Lodge

Life sometimes hits bumps in the road no one ever anticipates. Plant City Lodge recently helped a 22-year-old single mother of a four-year-old son take on the responsibility of raising her three sisters as well. Their mother was found murdered four years ago and their father is unwilling to raise them. This young woman, who was raised by her grandmother because her mother was addicted to drugs and alcohol, is extremely grounded. She has a job and is also going to school to become an RN. She has help from her grandmothers most of the time for child care but money is still in short supply. The board voted to give her a $500 gift card from the Elks, the Ladies of Elks voted to give her $200 and some individual Elks have given another $200. Hopefully, she will be getting the state help she deserves soon.


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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