A Message From FLOE President Connie Kalel Poage
- Written by Connie Kalel Poage
Dear Florida Ladies of Elks and Elks,
Our 54th annual Florida Ladies of Elks conference was held at the Sheraton Orlando North Hotel in Maitland, Fla., Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22-23. Because of Hurricane Irma affecting our state a couple weeks prior, I wasn’t sure our conference could still go on as planned. The hotel was determined we would have our conference and by the time we began arriving Thursday, Sept. 21, nothing had to be left out. Registered for conference were 134 members and 63 guests. Thank you, committee chairladies and your members, for everything you did to make this conference a success. And, thanks to all of you who came to the conference. Without you, the conference wouldn’t have been possible.
The Friday evening banquet was a night of good food, music by a DJ, dancing, entertainment and lots of fun. To everyone who attended the banquet, thank you. FLOE officers Mary, Felicia, Adella and I; our spouses; FSEA State President Carl Gerace and First Lady Cathy; and FSEA VPAL Frank Malatesta and his wife, Sally, were contestants in the Not So Newly Wed Game. Joe Rogers, PDD was the emcee. Congratulations to the game winners: the Geraces. Many thanks to the contestants, especially to the Geraces and the Malatestas, who agreed to participate just before the game began. Joe, DJ Ray, Jane and Don Moon, Becky and Andy Long, Marlene Evans, and Walt Skirven, thank you for your help during the game. .
Our business meeting was Saturday. There were eight FLOE Past State Presidents present and we were honored to have First Lady Cathy Gerace and Sally Malatesta in our meeting. After the roll call of lodges, members who were attending a FLOE conference for the first time were recognized. Nineteen first-timers registered for the conference. All district delegates were recognized too for their year of service. Becky Long, PSP, Chairlady of the Bylaws Committee, presented six proposed changes/additions to the FLOE bylaws. One of the proposed additions was regarding the FLOE hospitality suite at the May’s Florida State Elks Association convention. There was much discussion about it. Including this one, all passed as read or modified. At the upcoming November meeting, the changes/additions will be provided as a document for attachment to the existing November 2016 bylaws handbook.
Carol Deresh, PSP, Chairlady of the 365 Club, reported this year’s 365 Club had an impressive amount of $7,220.57. During the two reports, she presented a check in the amount of $2,610.29 to Nick Miller, Director of the Florida Elks Youth Camp, and a check for $4,610.28 to Colleen Gallant, Director of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Pennies do add up. Thank you, ladies organizations! Without you, this fundraiser wouldn’t be possible.
Youth Camp Director, Nick Miller, presented the annual report and presented awards for the most money contributed from April 2016 through March 2017. Money given to the FEYC for the 2016-2017 year was $39,567.43, an increase of nearly $13,000 from the previous year. Great job, ladies! Silver, red, blue and purple ribbon certificates were distributed for the year’s monetary donations. The contributors of $2,000 and above were St. Augustine Eland Club, $2,542; Fort Pierce Elkettes, $2,722; Cape Coral Ladies of the Elks, $3,250; Punta Gorda Elkettes, $4,910; and the top contributor, Eustis Anna Miller Circle, $8,119. St. Augustine Eland had the highest per capita, $111.68. The most sponsored campers were by Cape Coral Ladies of the Elks, 97; Punta Gorda Elkettes, 92; and St. Augustine Eland Club, 44. Nick introduced Angel Collins, a 12-year-old who attended camp this past July. She told the audience about her experience at the camp, everything she did and all that is available at the camp. Congratulations to every ladies organization contributing to the best youth camp. You are truly amazing. After Nick’s report, he was presented with the water guns and water balloons ladies organizations donated to this conference’s project. He was surprised to see how much was collected. Thank you, ladies, for contributing to this project.
Dan Masi, FSEA Director of Development, was our workshop speaker. He has such enthusiasm and is looking forward to working with the ladies in the future.
We were honored to have many FSEA dignitaries for lunch and the afternoon session. I can’t list everyone in the article but thank you for attending the conference.
The afternoon session began with a memorial service for our departed sisters under the direction of FLOE Chaplain, Judy Schall.
Our guest speaker was occupational therapist, Paula Tarver, of the Southwest Central District. She has been with FECTS since its inception in 1999. She and the other FECTS occupational and physical therapists do so much for the children they serve. If there are children with special health care needs, we shall continue to support this Elks project.
Colleen Gallant, Director of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, gave the FECTS annual report. Ladies have donated $1,472,986 since the program began in 1999. For April 2016 through March 2017, the largest amounts of money were donated by Punta Gorda Elkettes, $5,200, and Fort Pierce Elkettes, $3,182.50. St. Augustine Eland Club donated the largest amount of money per capita, $91.12. Silver, red, blue and purple ribbon certificates were given for a total donations value of $35,064.70.
Program book awards were presented by Jane Moon, PSP, Chairlady of the program book. Most boosters were from Fort Pierce Elkettes, $165; Brandon Ladies of Elks, $86; and Plant City Ladies of Elks, $64. The award for most ads supporting FLOE went to Punta Gorda Elkettes with two ads.
The awards for scrapbook, attendance and traveling trophy were presented by Martin Wierzbicki, PER, FSEA Ladies Organization Chairman, and Steve Carruthers, PER, Vice Chairman. The first-place scrapbook plaque was presented to Punta Gorda Elkettes. It was quite a beautiful scrapbook. The attendance award with most members present at roll call went to Punta Gorda Elkettes with 23 members present. The award for largest percentage of members in attendance went to Ocala Ladies of the Elks with 27.5 %. The award for most miles traveled from lodge to conference times the number of ladies attending the conference went to Punta Gorda Elkettes – 23 members in attendance and 4,163 total miles traveled. The traveling trophy was awarded to West Central District for a calculated dollar amount of total hours worked ($317,446.40), dollars spent ($9,095.28) and miles traveled ($18,981) for a combined total of $345,522.68. Congratulations, West Central ladies!
Installation of the new officers and new Advisory Council members was performed by FLOE PSP, Beverly Messerschmidt. Installed were President, Mary McCoy; Vice President, Felicia Vuletich; Secretary, Adella Ashton; Treasurer, Marlene Evans; Parliamentarian, Susie Harlow; Historian, Dee Spivey; and four-year Advisory Council members, Linda Rittenhouse and PSP Connie. Incoming chaplain, Nancy Gorby, will be installed at the November meeting. Congratulations, ladies!
Several were recognized for their contribution to FLOE: outgoing Advisory Council members, Chairlady Carol Phelps, PSP and Judy Fournier; conference committee chairladies, and longtime conference attendees. This conference was the 54th annual. I recognized ladies who had attended 30 or more conferences: Judy Fournier, 30; Debbie Farris Mortka, 30; Rosella Morrissey, 37; Carolyn Milot, 40; and Faye Bryant, 52. Two Elks were recognized for their years of attendance at FLOE conferences and for their support of FLOE: Frank Palladini, FSEA PSP and Carl Seibert, FSEA State Secretary/COO.
The FLOE President banner was presented to Dunedin-Clearwater Lodge Exalted Ruler, Art French, and Ladies of Elks President, Barbara Carroll, by Brandon Lodge Exalted Ruler, Delores Westfall, and Ladies of Elks President, Julie Ebert. President Mary McCoy and First Man Al were introduced after the traditional crowning by Henry and me. Again, I congratulate President Mary and her officers.
My term as president has come to an end. It has been such a tremendous honor serving as your president. Ladies, I thank you for your commitment, hard work, dedication and loyalty to our organization. Please be proud of all you have done for our two major projects, our fundraisers, your lodge and your community. You are making a difference every day by what you do.
It has been a privilege working with so many of you this year. Thank you for a fabulous year. FSEA officers and the two Ladies Organizations Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, I have enjoyed working with you. Brandon Ladies of Elks, Plant City Ladies of Elks and Southwest Central District ladies, thank you for your support, friendship and the work you did again this year. Elks and Ladies working together – “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.”