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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: James Wright

Northwest District Hosts Annual Kids on the Water/Military Appreciation Day

NW Kids water

The seven lodges of the Northwest District held its seventh annual Kids on the Water/Military Appreciation Day Sept. 21 at Fort Walton Lodge #1795. In attendance were 124 guests, 75 military guests, 20 non-Elk volunteers and 80 members of the district lodges. This event brings military families together with area children including the patients and families of the district’s Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services therapist, Elizabeth Maina; kids from Children in Crisis and Children Without Beds; and children in the foster care system. Children in Crisis is a nonprofit organization that finds homes for abused, neglected or abandoned children while keeping siblings together. Children Without Beds is an organization that provides new beds and pillows to children, offering them solace and something that is their own. The event included pontoon boat rides, lots of food, arts and crafts, the Capt. Davy pirate show, face painting, snow cones, and a toy for every child. The eight pontoon boats were donated by member Danny Bilger and his wife, Karen, for the seventh year. Target, Frito Lay and members in the district donated a snow cone machine and supplies, painted pet rocks, and arts and crafts to the event.

Ellen Randle, wife of PDD Robert Randle, and Joann Warren, wife of PDD Mike Warren, set up their craft table at the Northwest District’s annual Kids on the Water/Military Appreciation Day Sept. 21 at Fort Walton Lodge.


Flag Day Ceremony held at Crestview Lodge with Youth Involvement

2624 Flag Day

On June 15, Crestview Elks Lodge #2624 held its Flag Day ceremony at the lodge with Crestview Area Youth Activities (CAYA), the youth sporting association, assisting with the flags. Lodge member Bud Tipton is the president of CAYA. The public was invited and about 40 people attended. Refreshments were served after the ceremony.


Twin Cities Elks Donate to Niceville Little League Football

Football grant

Twin Cities Elks Lodge # 2747 Exalted Ruler, Rick Woelfl, presented the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant of $1,500 to Cornell Tinner, president of the Niceville Little League Football organization. Also present were city manager, Lannie Corbin, and Lodge Secretary, Gary Pelham. The donation will assist in funding lighting improvements at the City of Niceville Sports Complex.


Warrington Lodge Donates Smoke Alarms and Hosts Drug Awareness Event

2108 dog

Warrington Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler, Rick Wright, secured a grant that allowed the lodge to donate 150 smoke alarms to the fire department which planned to install them in the homes of those who needed them. Also, in conjunction with this program, the lodge had officers and the drug dogs at the lodge and gave away drug awareness literature and items to children.


Pensacola Beach Lodge Raises Funds for Hurricane Michael Relief

497 relief

Recently, the Pensacola Beach Elks Lodge #497 Board of Directors challenged the 1,200 lodge members to raise funds to donate to Hurricane Michael relief by offering to match cash donations from the membership up to $3,000. As Exalted Ruler, Rick Reynolds, said, “Charity is the centerpiece of our work. Our members have helped in many ways, from volunteering to feed first responders to hosting a wedding for two evacuees who lost their home. We began collecting cash donations around the lodge and it didn’t take long for us to reach our goal. We knew the coast received the brunt of the storm and the media attention. We were also aware that areas north of the coast in the Panhandle were also greatly impacted but didn’t have the focus and support that areas along the water did.”

With that in mind, lodge trustee Phil Gambrell was charged with finding a charity that could quickly get the funds in the hands of those families and individuals most affected by the storm. Gambrell contacted Rodney Anderson, EMS Director in Jackson County, who highly recommended the Chipola Family Ministries in Marianna, Fla., that was doing a lot for the people of the surrounding communities to get back on their feet.

On Dec. 18, Gambrell presented a check from the lodge to Coba Beasley, Director of the Chipola Family Ministries. The total donation was over $6,000. Beasley said, “Initially, we will use some of the money to repair electrical service to homes, replace appliances and purchase roofing supplies to those who are in dire need of those items.” 

It should be noted that New Lexington Elks Lodge #509 from Ohio gave $1,000 to Pensacola Beach Lodge to help with the relief effort. Such cooperation between lodges is very common as Elks across the U.S. practice their motto, “Elks Care – Elks Share.”

Pensacola Beach Lodge trustee Phil Gambrell, right, presents a check for over $6,000 to Coba Beasley, Director of Chipola Family Ministries, for Hurricane Michael relief.


Warrington Lodge Collects Toys for Children in Foster Care

2108 gifts

On Dec. 15 with the help of Elwood Banks and Eric Long, Warrington Lodge #2108 held a party with admission being an unwrapped toy. Over 275 toys were collected and $230 was received and used to buy gift cards for the older children. Everyone enjoyed good music and good food. The toys were given to children in the foster care system.


Holley-Navarre Elks Support Caring and Sharing Organization

2787 caring

On Dec. 14, Holley-Navarre Elks Lodge #2787 presented a check for $1,500 to Caring and Sharing of South Santa Rosa County, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization that provides food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as other assistance to South Santa Rosa families. The total included $500 from an Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant and $1,000 from the lodge charity account which is sourced predominately from the lodge’s weekly bingo that is open to the local community. The lodge held the check presentation prior to bingo to thank the public for their continued support throughout the year and give them an opportunity to see how proceeds from their patronage are used.

Chuck Howard, Caring and Sharing representative, accepts a donation from Holley-Navarre Lodge presented by Kris Kane, Exalted Ruler, Dec. 14 at the lodge.


Twin Cities Elks Deliver Dictionaries to Students

2747 dictionaries

Rick Woelfl (pictured), Twin Cities Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler, and Joe Arthur, Leading Knight, deliver dictionaries to third-graders at Eglin School Oct. 26. The first batch of dictionaries for third-grade students in six schools were delivered Oct. 26. In all, the lodge will distribute about 600 dictionaries; the lodge does this every year. Tom Casey, Trustee, and Kathy Casey, Tiler, delivered dictionaries to other schools.


Fort Walton Elks Support Emerald Coast Autism Center

1795 ECAC

Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 presented a $1,500 Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant to Emerald Coast Autism Center to help with much needed school supplies. Michelle Knowles; Tom Knowles, PER; Jamie Clemons, Lodge Secretary; Kevin Clemons, PDD; Lauren Cooper, ECAC Community Relations Coordinator; Colette Willey, Chaplain; and Paul Willey, Exalted Ruler, take part in the check presentation Oct. 18.


Northwest District Holds Golf Tournament

NW golf

The 2018 Northwest District Past Exalted Ruler Golf Tournament was held Sept. 9 at Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club and was a great success. This district event had 21 teams from all seven district lodges and their local communities and raised over $6,098. In addition, local community leaders, businesses, the PER Association, district lodges and individual Elks provided 26 hole sponsorships that raised $4,600 for a total of $10,698. Tournament staff included Ann Moore (District VP), Scott Turner, Caroleen Swanson, Gary Pelham, Patti McAndrew, Tammy Kuhn, PER Kim Sayer, Jerri Jones, Marilyn Roach, Kim Cauley, Linda Turner, Debra Wolfenden, Paul Palmer, David Cagle and Jim Wright.


Fort Walton Lodge Hosts Kids on the Water Event

1795 Water

The annual Northwest District Kids on the Water event was held at Fort Walton Beach Elks Lodge #1795 for the fifth consecutive year. Pensacola Beach, Destin, Crestview, Warrington and Twin Cities lodges participated as well. Members Danny and Karen Bilger donated the pontoon boats that toured Choctawhatchee Bay. Entertainment was provided by Reid Soria and Captain Davy the Pirate. Face painting, rock art, gifts for all and food made for an enjoyable day. There were 64 volunteers, 169 guests and 86 military guests for a total of 319 participants.


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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2018 by the
Florida State Elks Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

Millennium Walkway

Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:


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