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

our military and veterans

St. Petersburg Elk Entertains at VAMC

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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

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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

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.

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Korean War veteran John Holgan and his guardian explore Washington on the day of the flight.

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From left are Dr. Michael Forsthoefel and Honor Flight event coordinators, Tom Napier (Tallahassee Lodge member) and Mac Kemp.

937 Vet and Scout

A local Boy Scout welcomed a veteran home to Tallahassee.

937 Welcome home

Tallahassee residents welcomed the Honor Flight contingent home at the end of the day.


Perry Elks Veterans News

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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.

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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

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.

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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

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.

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.


Port St. Lucie Elks Hold Memorial Day Picnic

Port St. Lucie Elks Lodge #2658 hosted the annual Memorial Day picnic for 60 members and guests showing proper flag etiquette and patriotic fervor. The flag was displayed at half-staff until noon, at which time the Exalted Ruler, Arlene Dailey and Veterans Chairman, Teresa Rahrig (USAF retired),raised the flag. Members and guests enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs from the grill along with salads and corn on the cob. Handheld flags and decorated cupcakes were given out for donations to the Elks Lodge Grace pack and Veterans Charities. Enthusiastic members sent over 15 email messages of support and encouragement to soldiers which demonstrated a little love from home. Everyone enjoyed the patriotic music which was played by Treasurer, Ralph Annuziata, PER. Many members were impressed with the veterans display which included photos of veterans and highlights of the many veterans programs that are available within the Elks organization. Handouts included information on President Kennedy’s Presidential Memorial Certificate program originating in 1962. These certificates honor discharged and deceased veterans. The parchment certificate bears the signature of the current president. We will not forget the high price of freedom or our veterans and soldiers overseas.


Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge Hosted Lunch for Veterans

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Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855 held a veterans lunch June 27 for lodge veterans and local veterans from assisted-living facilities. From left are Joe Barbera, Ralph Uhlenburg, Darrell Cope, Charles Simmons, Murray Silver, Jerry Cosentino and Bob Deam. Veterans Chairman, Jack Ogren, is in the back.


George Sheldon Honored at West Palm Beach Elks Dedication

On June 11, the George E. Sheldon Gold Star Blue Star Memorial Garden dedication took place at West Palm Beach Lodge. Past District Deputy, Carl Williams, was the main speaker of the dedication and did a wonderful job speaking of Sheldon’s 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corp as well as his 41 years as a dedicated Elk. The Patriot Guard Riders were part of the dedication. Alan Cole, Patriot Guard Riders Assistant State Captain and fellow Elk, presented Cyndi Jones, daughter of George Sheldon, a Patriot Guard Riders Challenge Coin and Eagle pendant necklace.


Sarasota South Elks Hold Lunches for Veterans

Sarasota South Lodge hosts a luncheon every other month for veterans who are in local nursing homes. This month 85 veterans attended. The guest speaker was from the Sarasota National Cemetery. The speaker explained what veterans should do in advance to make it easier on their loved ones and discussed some unique situations that a few of the veterans had and what they needed to do to take care of the issues. At the end of the luncheon, lap blankets were given to any veteran who wanted one.


Plant City Elks Memorial Wreath Placed at American Legion

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On Memorial Day, Judy Wise, Plant City Lodge Veterans Chairman, and her husband, Ed, presented the Plant City Elks Lodge memorial wreath at the American Legion to honor the fallen. Between 200 and 250 guests attended the ceremony.


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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