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District Reporter:

Tampa's Club Chivalry Ends School Year with Two Great Events

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Carolyn Miller, Elma Kelly and Bert Newbill attended the last meeting of Club Chivalry for the school year April 9 and handled the refreshments and raffles. Elk Courtney Weil and her daughter Capriana Sanchez, and son, Taylor Taylor, attended as guest speakers. The meeting was very successful with the students in the club particularly relating to the younger Elks’ message about bullying and domestic violence. That awesome Elk family trio, often accompanied by daughter Christina, have been making the rounds of high schools and their speeches are impacting young lives across Tampa Bay.

On April 10, Club Chivalry had what may have been the best field trip yet. After making sure all the club attendees had breakfast, they loaded the bus at 8 a.m. and headed downtown to the Straz Center for Performing Arts. Billed as the 2018 Build Tampa Bay Event, this initiative is in its third year and getting bigger and better. More than 1,000 students from across Tampa Bay had the chance for one-on-one meetings with employers ready to hire the students directly from high school and offer them full four-year scholarships. The students would work full time and attend classes two nights a week. They would begin as laborers but in four years they would be journeymen or experts in their field. There were also some amazing motivational speakers. John Ratzenberger, the actor from Cheers, spoke about how he was a carpenter and had peace of mind because he could always fall back on that skill if his acting career fizzled out. Sally C. Harris, local school board member, spoke about how she was penniless when she started out in early education but she just kept learning and earning. One of the speakers pointed out all the teachers in the audience and told the students that in four years they could be earning more than their teacher. The teachers did not disagree.

Amazingly, the event sponsors paid for the club students’ lunch and the bus! That is a big savings for the club. The volunteer chaperones, Tommy Moore, Laura Jones and Antonio Cruz, were very impressed and hope to repeat this trip next year since it is a perfect fit for the club demographic.

 

Two Seniors Receive Scholarships from St. Petersburg Lodge

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On May 8 before the opening of the St. Petersburg Lodge meeting, two scholarship winners were awarded $1,500 each and congratulatory cards. Their families were on hand for this occasion. The seniors receiving scholarships were Sophia Augyst-Laulette, age 18, a senior at Boca Ciega High School who will pursue a degree in nursing in the fall at State College of Florida, and Tyler Grohn, age 18, a senior at Osceola High School who will pursue a degree in marine biology at Florida International University. Scholarship Chairman Joan Vignoul, PLP, is a retired teacher and reviewed and evaluated the scholarship applications.

St. Petersburg Lodge Scholarship Chairman, Joan Vignoul, PLP, and PER Bonnie Barnes presented scholarships to Sophia Augyst-Laulette and Tyler Grohn.

 

Eagle Scout Receives Recognition at St. Petersburg Lodge

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Matthew Beal, son of Robert and Jennifer Beal of St. Petersburg, Fla., has achieved the Boy Scouts’ highest rank, Eagle Scout. His award was based on his accomplishments as a scout and his service to the community. Beal, 18, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 337 and has held numerous leadership positions including Quartermaster, Troop Guide, Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader. For his journey to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, Beal earned 41 merit badges, served a minimum of 16 months in a leadership position, went camping for a minimum of 24 nights, attended a minimum of seven Scoutmaster conferences, and attained five boards of reviews as well as proposing, planning, and carrying out an Eagle project.

Beal received many congratulatory letters not only from the state of Florida but also letters from throughout the U.S. Those letters included congratulations from all U.S. military branches, Florida State Senator Bill Nelson, United States Submarine Veterans and Pinellas County Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri. Included in the audience and presenting awards were Pinellas Park Mayor, Sandra Bradbury; Edwin Dewitt from the Korean War Veterans Chapter 14; St. Petersburg Lodge Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, who read and presented Beal with a congratulatory letter from Grand Exalted Ruler Malcolm J. McPherson Jr.; and West Central District Deputy, H. Tom Shriver, who read and presented Beal with a Grand Exalted Ruler certificate of merit and a pin.

Matthew Beal reached his goal of Eagle Scout in December 2017 and received his Eagle badge during a Court of Honor ceremony held at St. Petersburg Lodge April 28. Master of Ceremonies was Scout Master Jeff Mills.

 

St. Petersburg Elk Named a Florida Volunteer of the Month

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Congratulations to St. Petersburg Lodge member Theodore “Ted” Wagner. Each year, Florida recognizes April as Florida Volunteer Month. Volunteer Florida recognized 30 volunteers in 30 days throughout the month. On April 5, Ted Wagner’s volunteer work was highlighted. He has been volunteering in the Tampa Bay community for 20 years. In 2001 he founded the nonprofit MSM Inc. and has brought outstanding leadership, passion and awareness about the need of music therapy in the Tampa Bay area. Wagner volunteers 35 to 40 hours a week and has never accepted a salary.

Proving that good things do come in small packages, MSM is currently funding and providing music therapy programs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Outpatient Speech Language and Pathology Department in St. Petersburg, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, the PARC Cottage in St. Petersburg, and patients’ homes and volunteering in other sectors of the Tampa Bay area.

 

St. Petersburg Elks Remember Forgotten Children at Easter

On Friday, March 30, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 visited A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay Inc. located in Brandon. Lodge member Jan Gens; Tiler, Ann Marie Bongiorno; Leading Knight, Cathy Shriver; and Exalted Ruler, Bonnie Barnes, delivered 60 Easter baskets for the kids and also presented Kid’s Place team member Mary Douser with a $500 check to assist with their Easter celebration.

A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay is located on five acres and has five 3,200-square-foot homes on an expansive tree-lined campus that provide a safe, home-like environment in a neighborhood setting. A Kid’s Place is a haven for abused, neglected or abandoned children. The children range from newborns to kids ready to age out of the foster care system at 18.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Assists in Softball Team Reboot

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On Saturday, March 31, young ladies members of the Pinellas Park Youth Park Fast Pitch (YPFP) softball league were the meal servers after St. Petersburg Lodge #1224 held its installation of the new 2018-2019 officers. The young ladies also assisted with the cleanup after the meal. A donation of $220 was presented to Coach Theresa Sims by newly installed Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, for their fast and courteous service.

Coach Sims was grateful for the donation and explained that the money will be used to pay umpire fees and to purchase equipment and softballs. The YPFP softball league had been dismantled in 2016 since the city seemed to be going in a different direction with what they wanted to do with the property. However, Coach Sims and others worked very hard for these young ladies to be able to participate once again in the team sport they love.

St. Petersburg Lodge is happy to assist the Youth Park Fast Pitch softball league achieve their goal. Softball is a great sport for our community’s youth since it promotes sportsmanship, develops individual skills, encourages friendships, and provides leadership opportunities via a fun and positive athletic experience.

Pictured are YPFP Coach Theresa Sims and ER Cathy Shriver along with the softball league players who were the meal servers and cleanup crew for the St. Petersburg Lodge installation.

 

Tarpon Springs Lodge Holds Safety Fair

A great time was had at the Tarpon Springs Elks Lodge Safety Fair. They had tables manned by the Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue, Tarpon Springs Police, Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9, member Dr. DiDonato, and district member PER Tom Mortka as Elroy the Elk for drug awareness. There was also a table for school supplies. The lodge also had a duck pond, hula hoops, coloring books and a kids’ basketball toss. Healthy snacks were provided along with soft drinks, snow cones and hot dogs.

 

Tampa Elks Use Anniversary Grant for Students' Spring Break Meals

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Tampa Elks Lodge #708 used their Anniversary Grant for spring break food-and-fun bags for every child at a neighborhood school. The Tampa Ladies of Elks donated the shelf-stable milk. Transporting 23 large boxes to the school on distribution day presented challenges, but fortunately some family members came to their rescue!

708 Trailer

 

Dixie Hollins Ladies Basketball Players Help at St. Petersburg Elks Event

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On Saturday, March 10, Bonnie Barnes held her last event as St. Petersburg Exalted Ruler, the country and western dinner and dance. The Dixie Hollins High School ladies’ junior and varsity basketball team members were the volunteer servers for this event and were accompanied by their coaches, Kelly Jones and Diane Baer. After the dinner, attendees of the event raised $411 as a donation to the Dixie Hollins Lady Rebels basketball teams. Coach Baer said that the money raised will be used for much-needed new uniforms for next year’s season. In addition to earning money for their basketball teams, the young ladies were also earning their voluntary community service requirement for graduation.

Pictured are Coach Diane Baer and some of Dixie Hollins junior and varsity Lady Rebels basketball players.

 

Law & Order Appreciation Night Held at St. Petersburg Lodge

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On Saturday, Feb. 24, St. Petersburg Lodge held its 38th annual Law & Order Night dinner and program honoring men and women of nine Pinellas County police and fire departments and the Pinellas/Pasco State Attorney’s office. The co-chairmen for this event were Past District Deputies Toni Goodrich and Rudy Masi Sr. They consider hosting this event the highlight of their service to their community and the lodge.

State Prosecutor Bernie McCabe shared with the audience that he has been attending this award ceremony with his wife since 1993 and is delighted to do it as “The Elks are the only ones to recognize my prosecutors for the fine service they provide our community.” Lealman Fire Control District Chief Jim Millican was so impressed with the Elks that he accepted an offer to join the Elks organization and completed the application form to join St. Petersburg Lodge before going home.

Each honoree was introduced by their department leader who shared why the recipient deserved and earned the award. The event was sold out with many honorees’ friends and family attending in addition to members of St. Petersburg Lodge showing their appreciation to the first responders. 

Pinellas Park High School students from the Criminal Justice Academy served the dinners during this special occasion. This academy is a four-year high school magnet program with an emphasis on law education. To show their appreciation, St. Petersburg Lodge presented the Criminal Justice Academy with a $1,000 donation. For entertainment, St. Petersburg’s Police Department K-9 Unit provided demonstrations of their officers and canine training exercises.

The following individuals were awarded Top in the Department in their chosen field by their peers and leaders for 2017.

Gulfport Police Dept.

Chief Rob Vincent presented Top Honor to Officer Jesse Kellington

 

Kenneth City Police Dept.

Chief Kevin Riley presented Top Honor to Officer Josua Beltran

 

Lealman Fire Control District

Division Chief Jim presented Top Honors to Firefighter Jonathon King and Firefighter/Paramedic Patrick McEntegart

 

Pinellas County Sheriff Office

Major David Danzig presented Top Honor to Sgt. Jon Tobeck

 

Pinellas Park Fire Dept.

Chief Brett Schlatterer presented Top Honors to Firefighter Daniel Schultz and Paramedic Andrew Hughes

 

Pinellas/Pasco County State Attorney’s Office

State Prosecutor Bernie McCabe presented Top Honor to Prosecutor Doneene Bryan Sarabia.

 

St. Petersburg Beach Fire Rescue

Chief and St. Petersburg Elk Jim Kilpatrick presented Top Honor to Firefighter Terry Perna

 

St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue

Division Chief Michael Domante presented Top Honors to Firefighter Tommy Dorsey and Fire Officer Lt. Mike Sullivan

 

St. Petersburg Police Dept.

Chief Anthony Holloway presented Top Honors to District 3 Community Service Unit

 

Pictured are St. Petersburg Lodge Exalted Ruler, Bonnie Barnes; St. Petersburg Beach Fire Chief, Jim Kilpatrick; and 2017 Firefighter of the Year, Terry Perna.

Pictured are Gulfport Sergeant, Robert Burkhart; 2017 Gulfport Police Officer of the Year, Jessie Kellington; Gulfport Police Chief, Robert Vincent; and ER Bonnie Barnes.

 

Track and Field Athletes Serve Dinners at St. Petersburg Lodge

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On Feb. 3, the St. Petersburg Ladies of Elks Auxiliary held their ’70s dinner and dance, and on Feb. 17 the LOEA held their annual variety show. Dixie Hollins High School’s ladies track and field team members were the volunteer servers for both events. The young ladies were accompanied by their coach, Joanne Derenzo. After the dinners, attendees raised a total of $645 for the ladies track team. Coach Derenzo said the money will be used for fees to events and to purchase much-needed sports equipment. Dixie Hollins High School doesn’t host any meets on their own turf, so transportation to the meets is arranged by the coaches, parents and/or the teammates. Along with earning money for their track team, these ladies are also earning their voluntary community service requirement for graduation.

 

Largo Elks Collect Food Donations for Pinellas Safe Harbor

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Largo Lodge has been working with Pinellas Safe Harbor, an emergency homeless shelter and a jail-diversion program that provides a safe haven for homeless members of the community and those who need assistance regaining their independence. The shelter serves 400+ daily. This year the lodge received the ENF Anniversary Grant and used half of it to purchase nonperishable foods which are very much in demand at the shelter.

 

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:

TinaH@elks.org

JessicaR@elks.org

 

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