Members of Tallahassee Lodge's Past Exalted Ruler Association transported used medical equipment stored at the lodge to Ability1st, the Center for Independent Living, in Tallahassee, Florida. Ability1st is a local organization that repurposes items for folks unable to purchase new equipment. The program is run almost entirely from donations. Included in the lodge donation were six wheelchairs, six walkers, four sets of crutches, six canes and a bedside commode. The donation was made Oct. 30, and by Nov. 2, two of the wheelchairs and one of the walkers had already been put back to use in the community. Pictured is Tom Walden, PDD unloading items at Ability1st.
Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937 delivered a box containing 60 Elks Drug Awareness bags, each with a variety of materials for kids, to Astoria Park Elementary School Oct. 22. Red ribbons had been provided earlier to the school's media center. Pictured are Tom Walden, Lodge Secretary; Karla Jones, Lodge Drug Awareness Chair; and, David Solz, principal.
Also in October, Tallahassee Lodge delivered a variety of school supplies to Astoria Park Elementary School including numerous backpacks, paper, pencils, erasers and composition books that were donated by lodge members. Dictionaries for third graders were delivered as well. Pictured in the school’s media center showing the school supplies and dictionaries are Katrina Bradwell, assistant principal, and Beth Freeman, media specialist and lodge member.
On Aug. 1, Perry Lodge members volunteered to help at the First United Methodist food distribution and donated their $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to help replenish the storehouse. Pictured in the front are Richard Cruce; Carol Cruce, PDD; Earline Neeley, Secretary; Nancy Taylor; and Pastor James Taylor. In the back are Kevin Cruce, Exalted Ruler; and Leslee Sunderland, John Fish, Dan Anderson, and Kristie Anderson, food bank participants.
Perry Elks Lodge #1851 hosted a Christmas-in-July craft bazaar July 25 which was open to the public and raised funds for the Elks National Foundation. The event was well attended and followed mandated social distancing and mask requirements. Organizer Nikki Anderson enlisted a group of member volunteers to set up the banquet room with necessary spacing to accommodate participating vendors Thursday night. Vendors set up their displays Friday night and the doors opened Saturday at 10 a.m. to shoppers. There was a steady flow of shoppers and happy drawing winners and the vendors had a good day for business as well. The bazaar raised $440 from raffle tickets and vendor fees. PDD Carol Cruce and her sister, Jackie, took their masks off for a photo.
A charity poker run sponsored by Live Oak Elks Lodge #1165 Sept. 12 brought together Elks in the North District to raise over $900 in entry fees for the Nixon School Nurse Fund (a scholarship given by the lodge), Adopt a Veteran Fund and the Brotherhood Ride. The ride started at Live Oak Lodge with stops along the way in Lake City at Lake City Elks Lodge, The Keg Room, and American Legion Post #107 for a round trip of approximately 95 miles. Pictured are Chris Williams, PER, Lake City #893; Audie Towles, Perry #1851; John Dill, PDD, Live Oak #1165; Chuck Nicolson, Exalted Ruler, Lake City #893; Christopher Lynn, Perry #1851; Steve Rockford, Lake City #893; Susan Lynn, PDD, Perry #1851; Shelly Dill, spouse of John Dill; Cheryl Cowan, spouse of John Cowan; John Cowan, PER, Live Oak #1165; and Stanley Cox, PDD, Lake City #893. Also pictured are bikers at Lake City Lodge.
Susan Lynn, North District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler, presided over Perry Lodge’s scholarship awards banquet held at the lodge June 24. At least 40 members including lodge officers and guests enjoyed a meal prior to the awards. Kevin Cruce, Exalted Ruler, made the scholarship presentations to high school seniors Jordan Pyke, Robert Glanton, Ansley English and Bradley LaValle. Each senior received a $500 scholarship.
Perry Elks Lodge officers commemorated the observance of Flag Day June 14 in the large sanctuary of the Perry First Assembly of God. The event was open to the public. Performing officers were Richard Cruce, PDD, Leading Knight; Frank Hamby, Loyal Knight; Eric Hodge, Lecturing Knight; Clayton Huff, PER, Trustee; Kenny Carter; and Carol Cruce, PDD, Esquire. Flag bearers were RJ Willetts, Jenna Hodge, Chase Wallace and Seth Wallace. Huff presented the history of the nation’s flags and Hodge presented the response.
On the first weekend in March, Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937 once again was the food provider for a Civil War battle reenactment ceremony at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historical State Park. The menu included burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst and pulled pork sandwiches. This event provides community visibility for the lodge, and 25% of the proceeds from this fundraiser is shared with the Natural Bridge Historical Society (NBHS). NBHS is a nonprofit Citizen Support Organization established under the laws of Florida to preserve and promote the historical, cultural and recreational value of the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park in cooperation with the Florida Park Service.
Perry Elks Lodge’s state Soccer Shoot winner in the under-16 category, Dominick Curfman, advanced to the southeastern state competition and won against the competitor from South Carolina. The lodge held a recognition dinner for him and his family Feb. 13.
Tallahassee Lodge participated in the annual visit from Santa at Gretchen Everhart School Dec. 17. Santa (chaplain, Danny McElroy) brought 150 presents for the children provided by Good Shepard Catholic Church. He was assisted by Tallahassee elves Christy Ervin and Ron Brown, PDD.
On Dec. 17, Perry Lodge gave an in-kind donation for the Special Olympics to hold their annual Christmas party. After enjoying a meal cooked and served by Elks volunteers, Santa came for a visit. There were over 100 in attendance.
Perry Lodge hosted its 16th annual breakfast with Santa Dec. 7. It took three evenings to transform the banquet room into Candy Cane Lane and Santa’s workshop and only two hours to clear it out after the event was over. This year the event was dedicated to the memory of PDD Lee Bennett. The lodge served over 500 parents and children breakfast, entertained with a few impromptu songs, danced around the room, and sent each child home with a present that they helped build in Santa’s workshop. The community supported this event and Michael Lynn Inc., contractor; Padgett Tree Service; Advanced Refrigeration; Foley Spotting Services; Impact Collision; Ragans Ace Hardware; and Bassett’s Dairy were sponsors.
Volunteers and Taylor County Middle School students pose at Perry Lodge’s breakfast with Santa Dec. 7.