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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2023 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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Florida Elks News Online

Gallant Colleen 2018 for web

Happy 2023! 2022 was an incredible year for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services (FECTS). We continue to treat more than 600 children each week. This is only possible because we have 30 of the most amazing therapists along with our admin staff, Deborah Hall and Cristin Rumler.

As you all know, our therapists do wonderful work with the children they treat. These families continue to report that the therapists have so positively impacted not only the patient’s life but the lives of the entire family. Whenever I have an opportunity to meet or speak with patients’ families, they have nothing but good things to say. So, to our therapists, thank you for the work you do with these children, making their world a better place for them and their families.

I would also like to thank Deborah Hall and Cristin Rumler for the outstanding job they do every day working with our therapists, patient families and FECTS in general. Working with these ladies is indeed a pleasure.

What a great midyear convention we had this year. Occupational therapist Pearl Henry spoke at the major projects meeting and did a great job of sharing the many things she does with her patients.

While we were at the midyear convention, FLOE President, Laura Sardella, and last year’s FLOE President, Felicia Vuletich, asked if they could see me outside the meeting room and presented FECTS with a $3,000 check to use for FECTS families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since many districts help purchase Christmas gifts for our patients and the Past State Presidents’ spouses and friends give us $25 gift cards for Christmas, we decided that especially this year, it might make some Thanksgiving holidays better for some of our patients. We advised the therapists that Florida Ladies of Elks had made this incredible donation and that if they had families that were truly struggling and could use gift cards to help with Thanksgiving, we had extra funds to help out. Wow! Our ladies of FLOE helped 137 people from 32 families have a Thanksgiving that would not have been possible without their help. What a difference you have made in the lives of these families. While we are not able to do this every year, I have heard from families about their wonderful Thanksgivings thanks to the Florida Ladies of Elks.

FLOE is also donating to FECTS so that we can bring a top-of-the-line speaker to our annual meeting in March, and our therapists are absolutely thrilled. As you know, we pride ourselves on making sure our therapists continue to be the best-educated therapists in the country!

Each year, the Past State Presidents’ spouses, along with several friends, donate two $25 gift cards for our patients. Also, our friends at the Gainesville Garden Club send us gift cards for our patients. With these gift cards, we were able to distribute 93 gift cards to our families in need. We are able to supplement the gift cards because our therapists each buy all of their supplies with their American Express cards, and this enables us to have additional cards for our families each year. When you are treating more than 600 children each week, every little bit helps.

In addition to the gift cards, our therapists can purchase each of their patients a gift for Christmas. Many of our lodges send additional funds for the purchase of Christmas gifts, and we sincerely appreciate it.

I would like to thank the Northwest District Past Exalted Rulers Association. Each year they work with their therapist, Elizabeth Maina, to purchase warm coats for our patients. This is a tremendous help to our families in the cold Northwest District, and we are all grateful for their help.
This past year, we had a most successful Unmasking Autism Gala. Dan Masi, Casey Masi and the entire gala committee started our year out great. The entire event was incredible. You have helped bring so much attention to FECTS, not only in the area where the gala is held but throughout our entire state. Our lodges are already getting excited about our 2023 gala, The Power of Love. Thank you, all, for your hard work and dedication to FECTS.

As we close 2022 and welcome 2023, I would like to thank our board of directors — Kevin Clemons, PDD, President; Erika Barger, Esquire, legal advisor; Bill Dryburgh, PDD, Vice President; Keith Eppes, PDD; George Scribner, PDD; Tom Brand, PDD; Kevin Cruce, North District Vice President; Rose Wujcik, PER; Les Baucum, PDD; Marge Spera, PDD; Pat Maher, PDD; Tony Fratello, PDD; Richard Bardsley, PDD; Jody Richards, PDD; and Helen Garcia, PDD. We are blessed to have Sean Maguire, PSP as our PSP Advisor. Sean, thank you for your help and guidance as well as always being available when we need you. Along with our therapists and Deborah Hall and Cristin Rumler, working with each one of you makes me so proud to represent our Florida Elks as the Director of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.

At FSEA, we have an amazing staff of people who work well together to help the Florida State Elks shine. This cannot be accomplished without an incredible leader. Thank you, Carl Seibert, COO/State Secretary, for all you do for your entire staff. Jenny Chatham recently left the Florida State Elks Association staff, and we wish her all the best. We know she will be a tremendous asset to her new employer. We will miss her smiling face at the office and are thankful for all she did to help FECTS over the years!

On behalf of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Make 2023 the best ever!

Thank you, all, for your continued support!


Colleen Gallant
Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services