On May 19, Zephyrhills Lodge presented the Zephyrhills High School yearbook staff with a $500 check in The Bull Pen media room. The donation will pay for eight students to attend a three-day seminar in Orlando, Florida, where they will learn all the ins and outs of creating a yearbook, including publishing and marketing their product. The students participating are Ava Stephens, Dylan Fleshood, Benjamin Will, Ashley Ford, JT Dobbins, Ariana Cotto, Thanh Tran and Kaiden Lee.
Pictured are Thomas Fernandez, teacher; Ann McDonald, Chaplain; Ava Stephens and Dylan Fleshood, students; and Marie Vesta, Exalted Ruler.
Field Service Officer David Grassi had been with the Orange County Sheriff's Office nearly 19 years, serving residents and visitors. He started in 2003 as a 911 operator. In 2008, he became a field service officer, civilian employees who direct traffic and look for parking violations as well as respond to non-emergency, non-in-progress calls such as burglary, theft and stolen vehicle calls. On Dec. 11, 2021, while working off-duty monitoring a lane closure on I-4 eastbound near the Kaley Street exit early in the morning, FSO Grassi’s marked patrol vehicle was struck by another driver, and he was transported to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. FSO Grassi died in the line of duty. His widow, Nancy, is also a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office family; she has been an emergency communications specialist in the Communications Center since 2007. Orlando Elks Lodge #1079 presented Mrs. Grassi with a donation of $1,000 to help her financially.
Pictured May 12 are OCSO Master Deputy Carmen Rivera, lodge trustee, and Nancy Grassi.
On April 7, Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 donated $1,500 to the Zephyrhills YMCA. All donations to the YMCA are used for scholarships for children in need for summer camp and swimming lessons and safety. The YMCA serves the community and brings people together with youth programs and community health programs.
Pictured are Alex Delgado, Zephyrhills YMCA operations manager, and Marie Vesta, Exalted Ruler.
On Feb. 15, Kissimmee Elks Lodge #1873 used its $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to support a cancer resource room at HCA Florida Osceola Hospital in Kissimmee. The service is run strictly on donations and provides wigs, bras and other supplies to cancer patients.
Jeannie Platt, Lodge Secretary (center), presents the check to volunteer staff members.
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.