The Florida State Elks Association, Inc. is a non-profit corporation founded in 1904. It is a voluntary association of Elks Lodges and all Florida Lodges are eligible for membership.

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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: May Graci

St. Petersburg New Members Initiated at FECON '17

1224 new initiatesSt. Petersburg Lodge’s newest members were initiated Saturday, May 28, at FECON ’17. They were initiated along with others from all over the state. Rey Garcia, 21, is the grandson of Rudy Masi, PDD and Dolly Masi, PER. Also initiated was Melissa Gifford, 38.









St. Petersburg Elks Honor State Americanism Winner

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St. Petersburg Lodge was one of many lodges that sponsored the American essay contest this year. The topic was “Why is it Important to Vote?” Students first entered the two division categories at the lodge level. The winning essays picked by the lodge advanced to the district level and if they were successful, the winning essays moved forward to the state level of competition. Americanism Chairman, Anne Compton, had over 120 contestants enter the contest.

St. Petersburg sponsored one of the state winners, 13-year-old Rafael Salaman, who attends Bay Point Middle School and is currently in the seventh grade. Rafael won under the Division II category for seventh and eighth graders. His family attended FECON ’17 where he read his winning essay to the attendees. A check was presented on behalf of the Florida State Elks Association to Rafael in the amount of $1,500 on April 25 during the lodge’s meeting. He also received a check for $200 from the lodge as a treat for him to attend any of the Disney attractions while in Orlando, Fla.

St. Petersburg state Americanism essay winner, Rafael Salaman, poses with Joanne Matos, PER; Bonnie Barnes, ER; and Ann Compton, Americanism Chairman.


St. Petersburg Elks Announce their Top-500-in-the-Nation Scholarship Recipient

St. Petersburg Lodge #1224 is proud to announce that their Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student candidate, Adriana Nazarko, was chosen as one of the top 500 students in the nation to receive the scholarship announced by the Elks National Foundation for 2017. She will receive $1,000 a year for the next four years to assist her with her tuition. She plans to attend the University of Chicago and will major in microbiology/bacteriology in their four-year program. Most Valuable Student scholarships are for students pursuing a four-year degree on a full-time basis (minimum of 12 semester hours) in a U.S. college or university.


St. Petersburg Elks Award Two Scholarships to Derserving Students

1224 scholarshipsOn Tuesday, May 9, St. Petersburg Lodge awarded two scholarships each valued at $1,500 for fall tuition. Alyssa Kyle is majoring in biological sciences and will be attending the University of South California. Taylor J. Ballard plans to double major in criminology and psychology and will be attending Florida State University. Joan Vignoul, scholarship chairman, followed Elks National Foundation judging criteria when choosing the candidates who not only demonstrated superior scholastic achievement but also leadership and citizenship.




St. Petersburg Elks Sponsor National Hoop Shoot Finalist

1224 NiniJulliette “NiNi” Davenport, of Bradenton, sponsored by St. Petersburg Lodge #1224, was one of the national Hoop Shoot finalists who went on to the Chicago finals the weekend of April 21-23 as one of 72 of the nation’s best free-throw shooters in the age 8-13 girls category. NiNi placed ninth in the nation. She has played organized basketball for about three years at the North Brandon Family YMCA and currently plays for the Tampa Aces as well. This is not the first time for Nini to compete on behalf of the BPOE; she also competed in the 2015 finals, finishing fifth in her age group.






St. Pete Honors Fallen Warriors Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend unofficially marks the beginning of summer and there’s no place like the St. Pete Lodge to begin the festive weekend with a pool, incredible food, and lots of music! Memorial Day weekend is also a time to honor those who died in their service of our country’s armed forces.
Photo: Foreground L-R: Eric Matos holding the flag, Tom Shriver, WCD DD Elect, Linda Musgrave and Jimmy Savuy singing God Bless America after the 1 minute of silence for our fallen brothers and sisters.







Joanne Matos Receives the Kelley Pin, an Elks Tradition

1224 pinOn Saturday, March 25, after the St. Petersburg Elks installation of new officers, Joanne Matos received the distinct honor of receiving the Kelley pin, a tradition that dates back to the late Charles A. Kelley, a Past Exalted Ruler (1898-1899) of Boston Lodge No. 10 who later served as Grand Esteemed Leading Knight. He had the idea of giving a distinctive Elks pin to friends who were members of the Grand Lodge. After Kelley became less active, he gave the die for the pin to Past Grand Exalted Ruler James R. Nicholson who then passed it to the next GER and so forth. It became a tradition that the pin could be received by a Past Exalted Ruler who is a fully paid member of the Elks National Foundation. The pin cannot be self-obtained; it has to be presented to the wearer. The cast is now over 100 years old and on behalf of Grand Exalted Ruler Michael Zellen, the pin was presented to Joanne Matos, PER by PER Philip Davies.


St. Petersburg Elks Help Local Kids Celebrate Easter

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On Saturday, April 8, the bunny trail led to St. Petersburg Elks Lodge’s annual Easter egg hunt for the kids in the community. Over the years, the lodge has experienced a good turnout; this year, 65 children and their extended family showed up for the event. Chairman, Donna Gross, and her team of volunteers created a wide variety of Easter baskets to be given away as prizes. Music was provided by DJ Johnny Miller who played many children and adult favorites. Kids were excited by the surprise visit of a very tall Easter Bunny (PER Phil Davies) who had kids joining him in an energetic bunny hop dance. Besides the traditional egg hunt (large egg-shaped candies), activities included a bounce house, assorted games and the coloring of t-shirts instead of eggs. Everything at the event was free to the kids, including refreshments, hot dogs, chips and beverages.


Softball Team Volunteers at St. Petersburg Lodge and Earns Donation

1224 lady rebelsOn March 25, members from the Lady Rebels softball team at Dixie Hollins High School served the dinner and cleared tables under their coach’s supervision after the lodge’s 2017-2018 installation program. Lodge members appreciated these young ladies’ friendly and efficient service and donated $246 that they will use to purchase much needed equipment. After the Lady Rebels finished their duties, they stayed for a while to enjoy the dance and interact with the new officers and Elks in attendance.


Dunedin/Clearwater Elks Support Elks Charities and Children

On Feb. 5, Dunedin/Clearwater Elks Lodge #1525 held a classic car and truck show. The top 40 vehicles received awards. Proceeds from the show will be donated to Elks Charities. The lodge was open to the public and gave free coffee, hot dogs and beverages to participants.

The lodge also continues to collect Box Tops for Education to distribute to local schools. School supplies were also collected.


Largo Elks Hold Largest Fundraiser of Year for Boy Scouts

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Largo Elks Lodge #2159 held its annual Boy Scout spaghetti dinner. The lodge sponsors Troop 417, and this event is the largest benefit they do all year. The money raised will help the troop with equipment upgrades and assist scouts who can’t afford the total camping fees. Corporal Michael L. Jernigan, USMC (retired), a third-generation Marine, was the guest speaker at the fundraiser. On Aug. 22, 2004, the Humvee he was riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device. Jernigan lost both his eyes and suffered a crushed cranium and severe trauma to his right hand and left leg. He recovered at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and then completed the traumatic brain injury program at James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, Fla. He also completed a 16-week blind rehab program in Augusta, Ga., and was medically retired Dec. 29, 2005. He received the Combat Action Ribbon and Purple Heart while in Iraq. He later attended Georgetown University in 2008-2009 and graduated from the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg with a major in history. After his graduation, he became the community outreach coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Corporal Michael Jernigan, USMC (retired) gives a speech during the Largo Elks Boy Scout fundraiser.




St. Petersburg Elks Donate to Safe Kids Coalition

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On Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge donated $750 to the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition. The coalition was established in 1991 and is led by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg that serves five counties in the Tampa Bay area. It is an affiliate of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, the No. 1 killer of kids in the United States. The coalition unites health and safety experts, first responders, educators, local agencies, civic groups, businesses and volunteers from each community served. The program teaches car seat safety, water safety and bike safety.

Pictured L - R: Sgt. Chris Burke, Vice Chairman of Safe Kids Pinellas; Martin Sharp presenting a check on behalf of St. Petersburg Elks Lodge; Charlene Cobb, Chairman for Safe Kids Pinellas; and Petra Vybiralova, Safe Kids Pinellas Supervisor from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.


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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