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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2021 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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2624 feed fosters 

On Aug. 26, Crestview Lodge made a monetary donation as well as a donation of books and supplies to Feed Fosters, an organization that helps feed foster families in northwest Florida. Along with donating the lodge’s $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, the lodge gifted 17 copies of “What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing,” by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry, MD, PhD. Additionally, they donated 500 bags to assist with food delivery and storage which included thick plastic shopping bags with handles and a cardboard bottom, merchandise bags, food service bags, takeout bags and gift bags. Savannah Cox, assistant director of Feed Fosters, accepts the check from Bud Tipton, Exalted Ruler. According to, Feed Fosters began providing meals to foster families April 12, 2020. “We saw it as an opportunity to support local restaurants during the Coronavirus pandemic by purchasing all the event meals directly from them.”


2624 joey background

Crestview raised $500 for the Brotherhood Ride for their 22-day bicycle trip from Naples, Florida, to ground zero in New York, honoring Florida’s fallen first responders and all first responders who died from 9/11-related illnesses. The check was mailed to them Aug. 6. Donations were given by lodge veterans for first gentleman Joey Simonelli’s pin, and the lodge donated the rest. Simonelli “wanted to do a patriotic pin, as his father is a retired law enforcement officer, and to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Plus, Joey loves the to support the Brotherhood Ride. As we travel, he passes out his pins and they are attached to a card with a QR code on it, so if people want to support the Brotherhood Ride, they can,” said State President, Suzi Simonelli.


1795 dock

Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 celebrated its dock restoration and reopening after its damage from 2020’s Hurricane Sally with a community ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 13. The lodge welcomed the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and the Elks family. This event kicked off a very successful weekend which opened the lodge doors to the community to show them what Elks are all about. Throughout the weekend there was entertainment, food and fun for all. Current members, new members, transfer members and future members were in attendance all three days. Lodge Exalted Ruler, Taz WrightReynolds, PER, commented, “I am so excited about our leadership team coming together with the community and making this event a huge success. The festivities lasted until weekend end with the famous Dusty’s shrimp country low boil. The dock is up and ready for Elks to visit by boat. The lodge is located on the wonderful and beautiful Okaloosa Island right on Choctawhatchee Bay.” Pictured at the opening are the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and lodge officers and members.


2624 el  2624 1

On March 27, Crestview Elks Lodge #2624 had the drug trailer at the annual Crestview Triple B BBQ Festival. They partnered with the Crestview Area Youth Association (CAYA), a local youth football and cheer organization for children ages 5-12, and Crestview’s wrestling club. All three organizations had a booth and Elroy the Elk visited with many children and took photos. The three groups also shared a dunk booth. It was $5 for three throws and the dunk tank was a CAYA and wrestling fundraiser. Anyone who threw at the dunk tank receive a drug awareness sticker and ribbon from the Elks. They gave out 200 stickers and ribbons. They also passed out lodge information and secured two membership applications.


497 Salv Army

On March 12, Pensacola Beach Lodge presented a $2,500 donation to the Salvation Army from the lodge charity account for the Salvation Army Food Bank. Pictured are Cap Pratt, PDD, lodge trustee, and Mattie Broxton, Social Services Coordinator of the Salvation Army in Milton, Florida.


497 Children in Crisis

Pensacola Beach Lodge made a $3,000 donation from its charity account to Children in Crisis Inc. Feb. 15. Children in Crisis is a nonprofit organization of caring people working together to provide homes and keeping brothers and sisters together. Through their program, The Children’s Neighborhood, they provide homes in a residential, home-style environment to community children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned. Their campus, located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is now built up of an emergency shelter, five-family foster homes, and Opportunity Home with eight studio apartments for young adults who age out of foster care. Pictured at the Children in Crisis campus are Dan Smith, Exalted Ruler; Ken Hair, President of Children in Crisis; and Darrell Gossett, Lecturing Knight.


497 Bethany

On Feb. 18, Pensacola Beach Lodge donated $3,000 from its charity funds to Bethany Christian Services of the Gulf Coast. This nonprofit organization is located in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and offers free life-affirming counseling to women facing unplanned pregnancies, support services for families interested in adoption, and support for survivors of human trafficking. Pictured are Dan Smith, Exalted Ruler; Sheila White, Bethany Branch Director; Cap Pratt, PDD, trustee; and Roy Carlisle, trustee.


1795 spotlight

Members of Fort Walton Lodge presented their Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant of $2,000 to the Fort Walton Beach-area Sharing & Caring Food Bank. Pictured Feb. 1 are Tom McLaughlin, Esteemed Lecturing Knight; Mike WrightReynolds, Exalted Ruler; Joseph Accardi, Sharing and Caring representative; Jamie Clemons, Lodge Secretary; Sueann Accardi, Sharing and Caring representative; and Paul Eubanks, PER.


Pensacola Beach Elks Lodge #497 donated its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant and a matching $2,000 donation from lodge funds to the Gulf Breeze Weekend Food Program. The program provides food to underprivileged schoolchildren in the area for weekend use. Pictured are Dicksie Booker, volunteer; Gary Booker, trustee; Wendy Branden, volunteer; Mike Stahl, member; Dan Smith, Exalted Ruler ;and Shelby Smith, volunteer.


2624 FUMCC

On Aug. 21, Crestview Elks Lodge #2624 donated $3,500 from its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to the First Untied Methodist Church of Crestview for their benevolent fund. The church provides meals every Saturday and has been able to maintain this ministry during the pandemic. Pictured at the check presentation are Bud Tipton, Exalted Ruler; Pastor Ronnie Bearden; and Mike Roy, treasurer.

 2624 CAYA

Crestview Lodge used its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to present a $3,000 check to the Crestview Area Youth Association (CAYA) which helps enroll more than 235 youths in sports activities. The check was presented Aug. 27 by Steve Piner, PER; Bud Tipton, Exalted Ruler; Mike Roy, treasurer; and Mary Ann Piner, member. The picture was taken at Focus Photography Studio in Crestview, Florida.

 2624 Shelter house

2624 Shelter Using its Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant, Crestview Lodge presented $2,000 to Shelter House, an organization in Crestview, Florida, that assists survivors escaping domestic violence. The check was presented Sept. 8 to Shelter House advocates by Bud Tipton, Exalter Ruler, and Mike Roy, treasurer.


East River Smokehouse in Navarre, Florida, and the Central Waterside Church combined to provide food via a drive-thru system at the Smokehouse's parking lot. During their third week of providing this service to people who were in need of food in mid-April, four members of Holley-Navarre Elks Lodge #2787 – Thomas "TJ" Carey, Exalted Ruler; Ernest "Skip" DalleMolle, Leading Knight; Stephen Hogan, Lecturing Knight; and Charles Mussari, former lodge officer – volunteered their time to assist in the sorting and delivering food and directing and speaking with those seeking food as they awaited their turn. Two lines of cars five deep went through this line for over 2 1/2 hours. Photos are by Skip DalleMolle.

2787 drive thru 1

Volunteers including TJ Carey and Stephen Hogan sort and prepare food for delivery.

2787 drive thru 2

Charles Mussari directs traffic.

2787 drive thru 3TJ Carey is pictured at the end of the morning after unloading food from trucks, sorting it, assisting in delivery to families, and helping with the breakdown of the facility.


   2787 Santa hug 2787 XMAS waving

Holley-Navarre Lodge’s Activities Committee sponsored lunch with Santa Dec. 21 for children from local families. One young boy felt that Santa needed a hug but was hesitant to go alone, so members Donny Eubanks and Jerry Riley got down to his height and went with him to give Santa a hug.