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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Carol Aitchison

Rotonda Lodge Hosts Special Olympics Event

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On Saturday, Sept. 12, Rotonda Elks Lodge’s property once again evolved into a large playing field for their third Special Olympics event. Elkette President, Ginny Perry, hosted this event for 55 children and young adults. Before the games began, the American Legion 113 Honor Guard presented the flag. The athletes enjoyed soccer, track, softball toss, bocce, putting golf balls and a beanbag toss. After the competition, volunteers served lunch to some very hungry athletes. Exalted Ruler, Phil Sommers, conducted the award ceremony and distributed medals to all the hardworking athletes. At the closing, one young adult mentioned that he would be back next year. The lodge members were proud to be a part of the 50th year’s celebration of Special Olympics.

Rotonda Lodge’s Bob Humphreys, PER raised the flag with one of the athletes competing in the Special Olympics.


Punta Gorda Elkettes Bring Generous Donations to FLOE Conference

Twenty-three Punta Gorda Elkettes attended the 55th annual Florida Ladies of Elks conference in September. They brought with them a $5,000 donation for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, a $600 donation from the Elkette bocce league for the Florida Elks Youth Camp wish list, and bed pillows and linens for the camp cabins.


SSW District PERs Sponsor Benefit for Ron Rehner

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The South Southwest District Past Exalted Rulers sponsored a spaghetti dinner hosted by Punta Gorda Lodge Sunday, Sept. 10, to benefit Ron Rehner who has been afflicted with a life-threatening ailment. He is the son-in-law of Don (deceased) and Colleen Roll. Don Roll was the first Exalted Ruler of Punta Gorda Lodge and his daughter is Jacquie Rehner, SWC District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler and ENF grants coordinator. In addition to proceeds from the dinner, raffles and donations including $250 from the Punta Gorda Elkettes, a check in the amount of $4,500 was presented to help with medical bills.


Greater Pine Island Elks Honor 9/11 with Service

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Greater Pine Island Lodge honored the anniversary of Sept. 11 by preparing and delivering a lasagna dinner to their neighboring first responders.


Englewood Elks Participate in Shipwreck Dance

On Aug. 24, Englewood Elks Lodge participated in the Shipwreck Dance, a pre-Labor Day youth dance, held at Sky Academy, an Englewood school. Their booth exhibited information on Elks programs and they distributed drug awareness material to approximately 200 youngsters between the ages of 8-12.


Rotonda Sponsors Shop-with-Firefighters Event

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Using an Elks National Foundation grant, Rotonda Elks Lodge #2710 sponsored its first children's shop-with-firefighters/first responders event. A group of children from kindergarten through seventh grade gathered at Walmart to shop for Father’s Day with members from the lodge and firefighters and first responders from the Englewood Area Fire Control District Station 71. They helped the children select gifts for their fathers.

The firefighters took time to explain fire safety in the home, safety in the pool, helped children consider a fire plan in the event of a house fire and demonstrated how they put on their gear. Two hook and ladder trucks were available for the children to walk through. The kids were thrilled and had many questions.


Cape Coral Elks Hold 5K Fundraiser for FECTS

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Cape Coral Elks Lodge #2596 held a 5K run and open house June 2 which raised $2,000 for Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services. The open house also generated 31 new member applications. The donation was presented to Colleen Gallant, FECTS Director, by Patti and ER Richard Kampf at the national convention in San Antonio in July. Pictured at the 5K are therapist, Jeanne Martin; therapy patient, Alex Collazo; Alex’s mother, Elizabeth Pineda; trustee, Jim Fraser, and his wife, Kate, who were the 5K organizers; and Richard Kampf, Exalted Ruler.


Greater Pine Island Lodge Supports Meal-Delivery Program for Seniors

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Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge #2781 used its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant of $2,000 to support the Beacon Bites program. In November 2016, the Beacon of Hope created a program, Beacon Bites, to deliver freshly made lunches to low-income and disabled seniors on Pine Island. Island Café is preparing the meals for this program and community volunteers deliver the meals and check on the seniors during the week. Frozen meals are delivered on Saturday for the weekend meals.

“The Elks National Foundation through its Gratitude Grant is providing us with the opportunity to give back to our community,” says Exalted Ruler, Judy Hopkins. “It is our way of helping to build a stronger community. By partnering with the Beacon of Hope we can provide additional meals to those in need on the island. We want  to serve our community in ways that will raise the lodge's profile, energize our membership, encourage former members to return to the fold and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that is doing big things.”

Pictured are Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge representative, Lee Wilbur, and members George Yorkston, Gerry Goyette, Ed Pfister and Frank Virts presenting a check to Beacon representative Peggy Hoffrogge for $2,000.


Naples Lodge Gifts Anniversary Grant to PAWS

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Naples Elks Lodge #2010 presented a check for $1,350 to PAWS Assistance Dogs of Naples using the Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant. PAWS provides dogs to veterans and disabled children. The PAWS volunteers attended a luncheon at the lodge in their honor. After a brief presentation of the services they provide, two service dogs in training and their trainers gave a demonstration of their training. The Elks and guests who attended were so impressed that they made additional donations totaling over $675, providing PAWS with over $2,000 for their organization.

Pictured are Karen Rakow, PAWS trainer; Laura Barsamian, PAWS coordinator; Paul Nakos, lodge grant chairman; and Mike McCabe, PAWS trainer.


News from Punta Gorda Elks Lodge

On April 8, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 hosted a picnic for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department staff and their families.

On April 10, Punta Gorda Lodge awarded students of Charlotte County high schools a total of $24,000 in scholarships – 20 $1,000 scholarships and two $2,000 scholarships. On May 28, the Elkettes awarded four more $2,000 scholarships to Charlotte High School seniors.

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Nick Jerriry, a recipient of a $2,000 award from Punta Gorda Lodge, is pictured along with Bud Bell; Walter LaCombe, Exalted Ruler; and Pam Snyder, Elkettes President.

On April 21, Punta Gorda Lodge’s 15th annual charity golf tournament, the Chuck Blackhurst Memorial, was held to benefit Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. With prizes donated by local merchants, the tournament raised $6,203. This brings the total raised over the past 15 years to $71,000.

At the end of April, six volunteers from Punta Gorda Lodge refurbished a bathroom in the Education Building at Crossroads, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) home and charter school for foster boys who have had multiple failed placements in the Florida foster care system. The Elkettes also donate desserts monthly to the facility in conjunction with the lodge donation of chicken.

Punta Gorda Lodge entertained 130 fourth-graders from Sallie Jones Elementary school at a picnic focused on drug awareness. The Elkettes showed a film and there was a poster contest with the two best from each class receiving a gift card.

In June, 84 boys and girls attended the Florida Elks Youth Camp at no cost to their families.  Members of the Punta Gorda Elkettes served as chaperones on the bus trip.

On Saturday, June 16, Punta Gorda Lodge once again hosted a fishing tournament for children in the Punta Gorda area. The event is supported by many private sponsors as well as approximately 50 volunteers. Each participant is presented with a hat, sunglasses and fishing rod.  Two bikes are presented to the boy and girl who show the most sportsmanship during the tournament. Additionally, family members attend and are served lunch; the event usually hosts 300-400 guests.


Rotonda Elks Celebrate Flag Day with American Legion 113 Honor Guard

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Rotonda Elks Lodge #2710 commemorated Flag Day Sunday, June 10, with an Honor Guard from American Legion 113 that served as guardians of the colors by displaying and escorting flags from all branches of the military. Lodge veterans escorted 13 replicas of U.S. historical flags. Readings were done by Phil Sommers, Exalted Ruler and organizer of the event. Lee Hale gave insight into wars, heroes and the adoption of the flag in 1777 and provided patriotic music.


Flag Day Ceremony Held at Greater Pine Island Lodge with Boy Scout Troop 20

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Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge #2781 held its annual Flag Day celebration June 14. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has celebrated the holiday since the early days of the organization. Members of Boy Scout Troop #20 were on hand at the lodge to assist.


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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