FECTS Director Message
- Written by Colleen Gallant
Fellow Florida Elks!
As a member of Winter Park Lodge #1830, I am proud to be the new Director of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. As an Elk in the great State of Florida, I know how easy it is to brag about Florida’s Major Projects, and now, as the new Director, I cannot tell you how proud, and what an honor it is to be a part of such an amazing program.
We, as Florida Elks, have so much to be proud of when it comes to Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Our 18 Occupational Therapists and 8 Physical Therapists are among the best in their field. Each and every day, they go into the homes of their patients to work with the patients in a familiar setting, and…just as importantly, with the parents and other family members. They truly make a difference in the lives of these young patients and families.
Our State President, Carl Gerace has requested a therapist speak at each one of his District Visits. Each therapist, when asked to speak at an Elk function, is very happy to do so. Hopefully, by doing this, our members will hear…first hand…from the therapist about the amazing work they do for the children of Florida and we, as Elks, need to continue our support of both of our Major Projects.
I have a couple of stories that I would like to share with you. As you know, we could not do this without the help of you….the Elks of Florida.
While in Miami a couple of weeks ago for State President Carl Gerace’s visit, I met Dr. Carlos H. Olaechea and his wife Marie. Dr. and Mrs. Olaechea working with Miami Lodge #948 donated tables full of educational toys to Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. All of the items donated were picked up by our Therapist in Miami, Chantal Salnave and delivered to all of our Therapist’s. As you know, we depend not only individual members like Dr. and Mrs. Olaechea but our Lodge’s as well. Dr. Olaechea who is a six-year member at Miami Lodge #948 has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years. He has a “Doctor of Physical Therapy” degree from Boston University and a BS in physical therapy from San Marcos University in Lima Peru. Dr. Olaechea is an expert in Neurologic Rehabilitation and physical therapy management of neurological patients. All of us at Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services are very grateful to Dr. Olaechea and his wife Maria for their kind donation and for them spreading the word in Miami about the amazing work we do for the children of Florida. Dr. Olaechea genuinely appreciates and understands the great work that our Therapists do.
On June 26, 2017, FSEA COO Carl Seibert and I were invited to attend the annual “VoluntEARS Of the Year” Celebration at Disney’s Coronado Springs. Disney awards $2,500 to the “VoluntEARS” favorite charity. This particular award went to a family of three who, as a family, completed 15 volunteer projects in 2016 totaling 330 hours. They chose Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services to receive a check for $2,500. This young mother, had been treated in the Harry Anna Children’s Hospital when she was young and the Elks also helped with her surgery co-pay. She has never forgotten what the Elks did to help her. When she first met her husband, she told him the story of what the Elks did for her and her family and they made it their mission to volunteer their time to worthy causes and maybe someday they could do something for the Elks.
A special “thank you” to Kristian Berning and her family for remembering Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.
Between June 1 and 23, we received 94 applications for Therapy Services in our office. That does not count the requests for Speech Therapy and the work that our “Contract Therapists do” for us. As you can see, the need is real…we cannot do this without the help of you…the Elks of Florida.
On September 17, 2017, please join us for the 10th Annual Florida Elks Day at the Rays Fundraiser. For the first time ever, we will have a child who is currently being treated by one of our Therapists in the Tampa area, Yvette Lambert at the game. Please plan to join us and celebrate with our young patient and his family as he throws out the first pitch of the game. What a great way to show Florida that the Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services is one of the finest Mobile Therapy Services in the Nation. Our therapists are incredibly dedicated to this program and the children that they treat.
At the State Convention in May, I challenged each Exalted Ruler to hold a special fund raiser for Children’s Therapy Services. If your Lodge decides to hold an event, please let me know and we will have a therapist available to speak and if you would like, we can invite one of our therapy families to attend your fund raiser so that your members can see first-hand the great work our therapists do in the name of Florida Elks.
So, please help me out by making this a great year for fundraising for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services!
Colleen Gallant, Director
Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services