On Feb. 14, Port Orange Elks Lodge #2723 teamed with the Vagovic & Abend Law Firm from Daytona Beach, Florida, and Advanced Air to donate school supplies to Horizon Elementary School in Port Orange, Florida. They know that schools are always in need of items and many times they are purchased by teachers for the children or they just go without. The lodge donated $425 and the other sponsors donated a total of $500. Pictured are Gary Harms, principal; Art Rauch, lodge member; Chelsea Abend and Amanda Goodwin of Vagovic & Abend Law Firm; Richard Violette and Larry Lewis, PER, lodge members; and Doug Miller, guidance counselor.
Whenever a month has five Fridays, the Past Exalted Rulers of Merritt Island Elks Lodge #2650 put on a dinner. In May 2019, they invited the first responders of the Merritt Island area to join them for a spaghetti dinner. The attendance was pretty good for a first-time event. On Jan. 31, the lodge invited them again, but this year it was turned into a competition between the firefighters and deputy sheriffs for best turnout. Last year the deputies won. This year, 19 firefighters and 14 deputies attended, and the parking lot was filled with police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.
On Dec. 8, an annual country Christmas was held at Kiwanis Island located on Merritt Island, Fla. For many years, Brevard County has put on a Christmas party for citizens who are handicapped and mentally challenged. For over 20 years, Merritt Island Elks Lodge #2650 has supplied and prepared the food and drinks for approximately 200 people.
Port Orange Lodge held their annual Hoop Shoot Dec. 14. First place winners moved on to district competition. Pictured at the right is Lou Greci, PER, Youth Activities Chairman, along with first and second place winners and Elk volunteers.
On Dec. 14, the Port Orange Police Department partnered with Port Orange Elks Lodge #2723 to hold their fifth annual Shop with a Cop & Elks event at the Target store on Dunlawton in Port Orange, Fla. This event was made possible using a $5,000 grant obtained from Target by Port Orange Police Department and donations from the lodge. Each child received a gift card in the amount of $150 plus a $25 gift card for Christmas Dinner. There were 29 police officers along with an Elk who accompanied the 29 children and their families shopping for gifts.
Port Orange Lodge member Richard Violette and a Port Orange Police Officer are pictured with three participants in the Shop with a Cop & Elks event Dec. 14 at a Port Orange Target store.
Merritt Island Elks Lodge #2650 held the seventh annual Santa’s Boot Strap event Dec. 14. Elks, family and friends came together to help give some holiday cheer to families in need. Nine people received $100 gift cards to Aldi for some holiday cheer. The other 75 families received enough food to last them throughout the holiday season. Lodge members purchased, packaged and delivered the gifts to the families.
Merritt Island Elks Lodge #2650 awarded $2,000 scholarships to nine deserving high school students. Exalted Ruler, Bill Hazelett, presented checks to four of the recipients – Jordan Tomberlin, Shaelyn Ledoux, EJ Davey and Mason Yaskovic. The winners and their families were treated to breakfast at the lodge July 7. The other five students were presented their scholarships at a different date.
Titusville Elks Lodge #2113 held its annual Flag Day ceremony once again in conjunction with the City of Titusville's community service award presentation. The Civil Air Patrol cadets presented the colors and Mayor Walt Johnson presented the proclamation from the city. The Flag Day ceremony was conducted by Exalted Ruler, Mike Anderson. The flag’s history was presented by PDD Bob Swink along with the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of Pack 488. After the ceremony, the City of Titusville presented the community service award to Pastor Barry Russell of Grove Church; there were 11 nominees for the award this year. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the city provided a beautiful cake with refreshments.
Titusville Lodge’s Bob Swink, PDD presents the flag’s history with Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts from Pack 488 in celebration of Flag Day.
On May 31, Merritt Island Lodge hosted a first responders’ appreciation dinner. Exalted Ruler, Bill Hazelett, welcomed the 19 Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies and four members of the Merritt Island Fire Department 42. In addition, the lodge delivered to-go dinners to local firehouses whose men and women on duty could not attend the event at the lodge. Drawings were also held to award gift cards to several in attendance. The lodge received a thank-you letter from Brevard County Sherriff, Wayne Ivey, for recognizing these first responders who put their lives on the line every day to protect citizens.
On May 3, Merritt Island Lodge held its 11th annual kids’ fishing tournament for their youth week activity. It was a great day for families to get together at no cost to them. There were 113 kids in attendance and they each received a free T-shirt and a canvas bag. A lunch of hot dogs, chips and water was served. Prizes were given for the longest fish in three age groups for boys and girls and over 50 door prizes were given away. Forty lodge members volunteered to help make the event a success. Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services therapist Beth Thiers set up a booth to share with those in attendance what she does for the therapy program.
On May 2, Merritt Island Elks Lodge #2650 presented its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant of $2,500 along with a matching grant from the Florida State Elks Association of $2,500 to the Challenger District Scouts to help fund the Challenger District Cub Scout Day Camp in June. Lodge members will work with the scout leadership during the weeklong camp to demonstrate to the scouts what it means to be a scout. Pictured at the donation presentation are camp director Joy McGregor, lodge members Bill Hazelett and Davy Crockett, camp director Charlene Neuterman, and lodge member Kim Johnson.
On March 12, Port Orange Elks Lodge #2723 presented $400 to Atlantic High School in Port Orange, Fla., to assist in the after-school/Saturday tutoring program and the senior remediation program which accounts for Atlantic's high graduation rate. These programs encourage students to put forth effort toward their studies for hours on end. Most of these students are receive free or reduced-cost lunches. These programs generally occur outside times in which the cafeteria can provide food, so in those times, snacks, drinks and incentives are provided to the students when possible. The lodge’s donation will be used to purchase these items. This not only fuels their brains but also provides a motivating factor for students to attend regularly.
Pictured at the presentation are Stephen Hinson, principal; Linda Lee, Exalted Ruler; and Mrs. Dawn Alves, assistant principal.