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

Share Your Story

We'd love to see & share your Lodge & District Events!

FSEA - Share Your Story

Let's promote what our Florida Elks are doing to support your community


Millenium Walkway Logo

Preserve any person, event, or memory with a personalized brick at your Florida Elks Youth Camp in Umatilla, Florida. 

Learn More

Florida Elks News Online

1079 drugcon 1 1079 drugcon 2

On Feb. 7, Orlando Lodge held an award ceremony for the 2022-2023 Drug Awareness poster contest for participants at Waterford Elementary School. This year's theme was One Pill Can Kill. Master Deputy Carmen Rivera of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is the Drug Awareness Lodge Chair and coordinated the contest for students in grades three through five. She also educated them about the dangers of substance abuse and was assisted by art teacher Donna Lindsay. The lodge provided refreshments after the presentation. The top 10 winners were given a trophy and a cash prize. The first place winner received $100, the second place winner received $75 and the third place winner received $50. Seven honorable mentions received $10. The rest of the participants received a medal. The top three winners really thought about their message and artwork. First place winner, Isabella Mata, displayed how drugs can be a negative impact in her life and if she lived without drugs, she can have a brighter future in music, sports, awards, graduation and even a happy home. Rivera asked second place winner, Charlotte Overstreet, what inspired her design and she said she had a family friend who died of an overdose. She used beautiful colors for the large pills on her drawing, and ironically, pills in society are taking many shapes and colors to look pretty or alluring. Unfortunately, it may look pretty but pills can be deadly if not used properly or if purchased from the streets. Third place winner, Marianadrea Sangronis, moved here from Venezuela a few months ago and doesn’t speak much English but she understood the contest rules and wanted to depict a young girl making the right decision, despite peer pressure or bad influence. She said that being cool means being drug-free. The participants’ artwork was displayed at the school so the other children can read, see and learn the message through art.

Pictured in the first row are Isabella Mata, Charlotte Overstreet and Marianadrea Sangronis. In the second row are Danielle Arblaez-Willis, principal; Victor Barrios, trustee; Master Deputy Carmen Rivera; Tony Schiappa, Central District Vice President; Jossie Haven, Lecturing Knight; Donna Lindsay, art teacher; and Jody Richards, trustee.

Also pictured are the top three posters.


2731 jay

On Jan. 5, Barbara Conklin, Community Activities Chair of Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731, organized the monthly Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the lodge.  Michael Nauman, the lodge cook, made breakfast, which was served by Elks volunteers. The lodge spent $425.57 from its general account. These types of events help to publicize what they do for the community. Jay Klamer, Exalted Ruler, welcomed and thanked the chamber members for attending and spoke about Elks charities, including the Florida Elks Youth Camp, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, the lodge’s Feed the Kids program and local services to veterans.

Pictured is Jay Klamer, Exalted Ruler, addressing the chamber breakfast guests. Looking on is Jasmine Wilkins, chamber director.


1079 salome

On Feb. 4, Orlando Elks Lodge #1079 presented a $500 donation to Salome Piedrahita for family financial assistance. Piedrahita, who was born in Colombia, South America, is a 22-year-old nursing student at the University of Central Florida. She also works full-time and is the guardian of her 11-year-old twin siblings, Maria and Nicolas Delarosa, who are diabetic. Maria and Nicholas were born in New York like their father, Jose Delarosa. These three siblings have lost both of their parents. Their mother passed away in 2015 and their father (Piedrahita’s stepfather) passed away in April 2021. An aunt from New York wanted to take the children, but Piedrahita refused. With the help of her school advisors, she obtained full custody of her siblings. She admits it has been difficult raising the children without her parents, but she is working hard to provide a happy home. 

In November 2020, lodge member Carmen Rivera invited the family to the lodge to pick up a fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner. In October 2021, Maria won third place in the lodge Drug Awareness poster contest. Rivera said that when Maria received the monetary award, she said she was going to buy groceries with the money. “It almost broke my heart and I told her to keep the money to buy something nice for herself. I spoke to Salome and told her to have the children take home groceries after school from the food bank at Waterford Elementary School. The Orlando Elks bingo volunteers and players donate food and school supplies that go directly to several schools in our community, including Waterford Elementary,” said Rivera. 

In the summer of 2022, the lodge sponsored Nicholas and Maria to summer camp at the Florida Elks Youth Camp. Salome said that "it was a great opportunity for the children to be outdoors, meet new friends and get out of their small apartment." She hopes that the children will be able to attend this summer, and if so, the lodge will sponsor them again.

Rivera added that “all in all, Salome doesn't have a family here in Orlando but she has us. Orlando Elks Lodge #1079 is proud and honored to help this young family by applying our principles of charity, brotherly love and fidelity….it really does take a village to raise a child.”

Pictured are Nicholas Delarosa; Salome Piedrahita; Donna Hoffman, Exalted Ruler; Maria Delarosa; and Carmen Rivera, lodge trustee.


2731 schol

On Jan. 20, Zephyrhills Lodge granted a $1,000 scholarship to Zephyrhills High School student Katelyn English-Merle to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF), where she will earn college credits through George Mason University. Katelyn will be attending the Boston campus, where she will experience the college lifestyle, learn from doctors, have interactive curriculum by advisors and visit an accredited medical school. She and other students will also test their medical knowledge during clinical skill rotations and explore professional opportunities among high school students. Her tuition for the program is $3,995. She was awarded $500 through NYLF along with the lodge scholarship. Her parents will cover her travel expenses to Boston.

Pictured are Jay Klamer, Exalted Ruler, and Katelyn English-Merle.



Kissimmee Elks Lodge #1873 hosted a foster family event for 200 children Dec. 10. Working with Embrace Families of Osceola County, the lodge used the Elks National Foundation Beacon and Spotlight grants for a fun day. While parents chose gifts for the children, at no cost to them, their children were occupied with crafts, games, food, Santa and bounce houses. This was the seventh year for this event.

Pictured is the main room filled with gifts from donations around the county.