FECTS Director Message
- Written by Colleen Gallant
Welcome back, my fellow Florida Elks. Maybe I should say awesome Florida Elks!
When I began this journey May 15, 2017, after what has to be the worst start ever to a new year, losing my beloved husband of 30 years to cancer, I could never have imagined how my life would change and how blessed I am to be surrounded by all the wonderful Florida Elks as well as everyone I have met on a national level. My extended family of therapists and Florida Elks has truly been uplifting and gives my life an amazing purpose.
We as Florida Elks are so blessed to have 25 of the most caring and compassionate therapists treating our children and grandchildren.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel to all the districts with State President Carl Gerace and Cathy along with VPAL Frank Malatesta and Sally. In each district, we have your local therapist speak at the president’s dinner Saturday evening. Each therapist has been so inspiring when they speak and you can genuinely see how much they love the Elks of Florida and how much they love their patients.
This year at the Elks Day at the Rays Sept. 17, State President Carl Gerace said that he would like for one of the therapy children to throw out the first pitch. Christian Scanlan, one of Yvette Lambert’s patients, was chosen to throw the first pitch. What fun it was to watch Christian throw and then kick the ball. It surely was a sight for sore eyes. Christian was so precious and really seemed to enjoy the attention. Thanks go to Yvette Lambert, PT and the entire Scanlan family for their participation.
Christian Scanlan, a patient with Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, threw out the first pitch at the 2017 Elks Day at the Rays. Kneeling behind him is his therapist, Yvette Lambert, and his father is to his left. Carl and Cathy Gerace, State President and First Lady, are to his right.
Earlier this summer, Jeanne Martin, OT from Fort Myers and I went to the national convention in Reno, Nev. So many of our Florida Elks and their spouses/significant others volunteered to help make our booth an incredible success. Thank you to all of you who volunteered; we could not have done it without you. We had so many people stop and visit our booth to learn about our major projects: Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp. We had several of the scholarship recipients stop by and thank the Elks for all their support.
Our many volunteers sold chances on an elk’s tooth, and we raised $2,500 for Therapy Services. The winner of the tooth was Sven Nelson, one of our great Florida Elks. Thank you to all who purchased chances and made this such a great success.
Every year, we have Family Camp. This is when our therapists invite families to the youth camp for the weekend. In addition to the therapists and their families, we have many volunteers who help our very special families. The camp staff along with the therapists and volunteers work very hard to make this a special weekend for the therapy families. Thank you to all the therapists, their spouses and children along with our many volunteers for making this year’s family camp so special. State President Carl Gerace and Cathy, VPAL Frank Malatesta and Sally, and several other dignitaries stopped by the camp to visit with the therapists and all their families. Everyone really enjoyed the visit at camp with our special guests.
Always remember that you, our very generous Elks of Florida and our very generous ladies organizations, are the reason that Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services can continue to treat the children of Florida who so desperately need our help. Please continue to support our major projects so that we can continue to grow and treat more of our very special children. Thank you for all your generosity when it comes to Florida’s major projects.