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, FL on Friday and Saturday, September 22nd and 23rd. 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 on Thursday the 21st, 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 that came to 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 that 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 wife Sally were contestants in the “Not So Newly Wed Game”. Joe Rogers, PDD was the emcee. Congratulations to the game winners: The Gerace’s. Many thanks to the contestants, especially to The Gerace’s and The Malatesta’s 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 on Saturday. There were eight FLOE Past State Presidents present. And we were honored to have the FSEA First Lady Cathy Gerace and the FSEA VPAL’s wife, 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 Conference. All district delegates were recognized too for their year of service. Becky Long, PSP, Chairlady of the By-Laws Committee, presented six proposed changes/additions to the FLOE by-laws. 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 by-laws 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 FEYC, and a check for $4,610.28 to Colleen Gallant, Director of the FECTS. 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-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, Ft. Pierce Elkettes- $2,722, Cape Coral Ladies of the Elks- $3,250. Punta Gorda Elkettes- $4,910 and the top contributor was Eustis Anna Miller Circle-$8,119. St. Augustine Eland had the highest per capita, $111.68. The most sponsored campers were by: 1st place -Cape Coral Ladies of the Elks, 97; 2nd place-Punta Gorda Elkettes, 92; 3rd place-St. Augustine Eland Club, 44. Nick introduced Angel Collins, a twelve- 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 article, but thank you for attending 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 the 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 the Children’s Therapy Services gave the CTS annual report. Ladies have donated $1,472,986 since the FECTS began in 1999. For April 2016 -March 2017, Punta Gorda Elkettes donated the largest amount of money, $5,200, 2nd was by Ft. 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, a total donations value of $35,064.70.
Program Book Awards were presented by Jane Moon, PSP, Chairlady of the Program Book. Most Boosters: Ft Pierce Elkettes, $165.00; Second Most Boosters: Brandon Ladies of Elks, $86.00; Third Best Boosters: Plant City Ladies of Elks, $64.00. 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 1st place scrapbook plaque was presented to Punta Gorda Elkettes. Quite a beautiful scrapbook it was. The attendance awards went to: 1- Most members present at Roll Call: Punta Gorda Elkettes with 23 members present; 2- Largest percentage of Members in Attendance: Ocala Ladies of the Elks, 27.5 %; 3- Most miles traveled from Lodge to Conference times the number of Ladies attending the Conference: Punta Gorda Elkettes, 23 members in attendance, 4,163 total miles traveled.
The traveling (trophy) plaque awarded to West Central District for a calculated dollar amount: total of 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; 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; long time Conference attendees. This Conference was the 54th annual. I recognized ladies that had attended thirty or more Conferences; Judy Fournier, 30; Debbie Farris Mortka, 30; Rosella Morrissey and Marge Orr, 37; Carolyn Milot, 40; 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 of them 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 Organization 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.”
Connie Kalel Poage
2016-2017 President, Florida Ladies of Elks