St. Petersburg Elk Entertains at VAMC
Written by May Graci
Jimmy Suvoy became a member of St. Petersburg Lodge earlier this year. He works during the day, but in the evenings, he really enjoys playing his guitar and singing at different local nightspots throughout Tampa Bay. He gets a thrill to see people singing along and dancing to his music and having a great time. However, he has learned via Elkdom that not everyone is mobile and able to go out and enjoy themselves. He went to C. W. Bill Young VAMC and spoke to an administrator and asked if he could play his guitar and sing to the veterans. The administrator thought it was a great idea, so on July 10, he brightened the evening of veterans at Bay Pines Community Living Center. He connected with his audience through his music. He was happy to have been able to “do my small part to uplift their spirit.”
His “small part” really worked, because he was invited to return in August.
Florida Elks Participate in Georgia Parade
Written by Rudy Masi Sr.
Florida Elks were asked to participate in the Sky Valley, Ga., Independence Day parade and festivities held Tuesday, July 4. This annual event takes a page from a Norman Rockwell small-town painting as residents decorate their vehicles, animals and themselves patriotically. Hundreds of families lined Main Street cheering on the participants. Florida Elks marched with two banners, one saying “Pray for our Military” and one that was signed by WWII veterans which the Florida State Elks Association had taken to Hawaii to participate in the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The banner was carried by Florida Elks marching in the commemorative parade Dec. 7, 2016.
Connie Larson and Rey Garcia carry a sign in a Georgia Independence Day parade.
A banner with WWII veteran signatures was carried by Connie Larson and St. Petersburg Elks Rey Garcia, Dolly Masi, Nick Pusta, Rudy Masi Sr., Rick Masi, Dan Masi and Casey Masi.
Tallahassee Elks Veterans News
Written by Tallahassee Elks
Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937 was pleased again this year to participate in the North Florida Veterans Stand Down April 21-22. Some of the services provided for veterans were medical, dental, veterinary, vision and mental health services, HIV/AIDS and glucose testing, 12-step and PTSD/TBI counseling, legal services, employment and educational services, VA benefits counseling, housing, haircuts, meals, showers, free local bus transportation, and driver’s license assistance. The lodge provided breakfast and lunch to the 300 or so veterans in attendance using an ENF grant.
Many Tallahassee military veterans participated in an Honor Flight to Washington Saturday, May 6. There were 168 veterans and guardians on the flight and six of the veterans were from Tallahassee Lodge. Secretary Wayne Harrell was a guardian on the trip. Four nurses, 8 EMTs and local physician Dr. Michael Forsthoefel accompanied those traveling.
Korean War veteran John Holgan and his guardian explore Washington on the day of the flight.
From left are Dr. Michael Forsthoefel and Honor Flight event coordinators, Tom Napier (Tallahassee Lodge member) and Mac Kemp.
A local Boy Scout welcomed a veteran home to Tallahassee.
Tallahassee residents welcomed the Honor Flight contingent home at the end of the day.
Perry Elks Veterans News
Written by Perry Elks
This is the second year that the Perry community has welcomed the Combat Marine Warriors, a group of wounded military veterans, and their guests. The M.A. Rigoni Inc. Foundation in Perry spearheads the weeklong event along with the support of several other business and personal sponsors. Many of those involved are members of Perry Elks Lodge #1851. The Combat Warriors were welcomed upon their arrival at Tallahassee Airport by several of the local Patriot Guard Riders from Perry along with a host of others, and they were escorted more than 50 miles to Perry. Their week included guided fishing and hunting excursions, airboat rides, skeet shooting and more. The closing celebration dinner for the warriors was held at Perry Lodge with over 100 in attendance, including sponsors and volunteers.
In May, Perry Lodge Esquire and Veterans Chairman, Ed Harvey, spoke about the significance of items displayed at the POW/MIA table at the Memorial Day services held at Perry’s Veterans Memorial Park.
Holiday Isles Elks Veterans Charities
Written by Holiday Isles Elks
Holiday Isles Elks Lodge donated $2,000 to World T.E.A.M. Sports. The nonprofit organizes athletic events for disabled and able-bodied citizens. These events include mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, bicycling and more.
Holiday Isles Lodge Veterans Chairman, Gary Coffman, presented $200 worth of gift cards for veterans in need to Nathan Witt, Chief of Voluntary Services at C. W. Bill Young VAMC.
Tarpon Springs Elks Celebrate Memorial Day with the Community
Written by Tarpon Springs Elks
More than 15 members of the lodge participated in the city’s Memorial Day service at Craig Park War Memorial on Spring Bayou. The lodge provided hot dogs, hamburgers and lemonade to a crowd of 100 citizens who participated in and attended the ceremony.
West Central District Elks Support T.A.P.S.
Written by Holiday Isles Elks
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.) partnered with several Elks lodges this year to help the families of fallen veterans. We cheer on the veterans returning home but often forget about the grief-stricken families who suffer alone. T.A.P.S. is a charity that provides financial and emotional support with paying living expenses and grief counseling for loved ones in their time of need. The program also helps families who have lost a veteran from suicide.
A fundraising event was held at the Military Museum in Largo, Fla, March 28. Holiday Isles, St. Petersburg, Largo and Tarpon Springs Lodges donated $2,200 for this event. A total of $14,500 was raised. For the 2016-2017 Elk year, a total of $23,600 was raised for the T.A.P.S. families. Gene LaPouttre of Holiday Isles Lodge #1912 was a co-chairman for the year’s events.