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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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On Oct. 24, New Port Richey Elks Lodge #2284 donated hygiene backpacks and hoodie sweatshirts to the Pasco County Sheriff's Department for distribution to individuals who are experiencing homelessness. 

Pictured are Marilee Mills, Exalted Ruler; a Pasco County Sheriff's detective; and Rebecca Soto, grants coordinator.


                708 chiv 1 708 chiv 2

On Oct. 24, Tampa Elks Lodge #708 held its monthly Club Chivalry meeting for students at Robinson High School. There were 33 club members present. Lodge members provided students with T-shirts at no cost to them. The Elks used lodge funds and funds from the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. Lodge member Robert Maloney Jr. was a guest speaker and spoke about his 43 years as a nurse. At these meetings, the student officers make most of the plans, while the Elks handle refreshments, raffles and any needed support.

Pictured are Rita Smith, Exalted Ruler, and Carolyn Miller sorting the club shirts for distribution. Also pictured are Antwon Austin, the winner of a $25 gift card; Robert Maloney Jr.; and Jasmine Martin, Club Chivalry student president.



On Aug. 17, New Port Richey Elks Lodge #2284 donated 15 backpacks filled with school supplies to Richey Elementary School. The backpacks were donated by members Rebecca Soto and Walter Weishaar Jr.

Pictured are Marilee Mills, PER, Exalted Ruler, and Margaret Smith, Loyal Knight, at the school. 


708 ethan

On Aug. 21, George Hilficker, Tampa Lodge House Committee Chair, presented an Eagle certificate to scout Ethan D'India of Troop 53 at his Court of Honor held at American Legion Post 139. His project was to build and install bat houses along the 9.2-mile Upper Hillsborough Trail. 

Pictured are lodge member Frank Smith Sr. and Commander of the Post, who was there presenting a certificate from another organization; Ethan D'India; and Geroge Hilficker.


708 jewelry

On Aug. 22, the Exalted Ruler of Tampa Lodge, Rita Smith, dropped off a bag of costume jewelry to be used as prizes for bingo and other games at the Hillsborough County Barksdale Senior Center. The value of the donation was approximately $240 and was donated to the lodge by Jeanne Reinhart, PDD.

Pictured is Charles from the Barksdale Senior Center with the donation.


708 room

Two members of Tampa Lodge volunteered to help Ms. Hand, a fellow Elk and the school sponsor for Club Chivalry, organize her classroom Aug. 4. Betty Orcutt, Past Lady President, and Doug Grant, lodge trustee, organized classroom decorations and several metal cabinets full of school supplies.


708 course

On July 13, Tampa Elks Lodge #708 voted to award a $400 scholarship to Kristina Chowning, Ph.D. The scholarship will help her attend an invitation-only course to become a certified educational trainer, which means she will be certified to train other educators on the processes outlined in her recent doctorate dissertation. 

Pictured July 21 are Douglas Grant, five-year trustee; Dr. Kristina Chowning; and Camden Lynn, Leading Knight. 


708 eagle

An Eagle Court of Honor for Troop 53’s Will Richter was held at International Moose Lodge 912. George Hilficker, Tampa Lodge’s House Committee Chair, presented him with the Elks Eagle Certificate. Richter did his Eagle project on MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) at the camping pavilion. The pavilion sits on a beach on Old Tampa Bay and had sustained some storm damage over the years. He led a team that rebuilt the fire pit, replaced some benches, rebuilt the roof of a wooden storage shed and pressure washed the concrete pavilion.

Pictured are Rich Jackson, Troop 53’s scoutmaster; Will Richter, Eagle Scout; and his mother, Karla Richter, who has just retired from active duty at MacDill AFB. Her son is the third Eagle Scout from Troop 53 this year.


708 Flag day salute

Tampa Lodge held its annual Flag Day ceremony June 14, with all the lodge Ritual officers participating. There were approximately 40 Elks, members of the community and scouts in attendance. Each received an American flag lapel pin. BSA Troop 53 assisted in the ceremony, showing up an hour early for a practice. The scouts did a great job presenting the flags at the proper time and in the proper order. Richard Florance, PER, Lodge Americanism Chair, read the mandatory Response. The ceremony was filmed and shown on Fox 13’s 11 p.m. news. Following the ceremony, lodge trustees served hot dogs, baked beans, macaroni salad, watermelon, cake, soft drinks and water, all at no cost to attendees.

Pictured are Rita Smith, Exalted Ruler, and scouts.


708 freds

Club Chivalry’s last event of the year was April 29. Member Tommy Moore and Rita Smith, Exalted Ruler, joined teacher/club sponsor Caroline Hand for the senior meal field trip to Fred’s in Riverview. They left the school at 9:30 a.m. with 13 seniors and arrived in time for the students to visit the breakfast buffet. When breakfast closed, they held a small ceremony to give out honor cords to the seniors who did four years of Avid classes, to the seniors who were Club Chivalry officers, and to the seniors who participated in Relay For Life and had $150 in fundraising. The students then went to the lunch buffet and were back at the school by 12:30.


         708 relay 1  708 relay 2  708 relay 3

On April 22, Club Chivalry, the high school group sponsored by Tampa Elks Lodge #708, formed a team and participated in the Relay For Life of Tampa, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society which was held on the Robinson football field. The American Cancer Society’s director, Tammy Schoonermaker, spoke about the event at a club meeting and gave out a T-shirt to each student who signed up. Club Chivalry members walked the track and one sophomore worked in the booth. Lodge members participated in planning and handling the booth. This year the lodge was a Bronze Sponsor and sold about 40 luminaires at $10 each. During the event, they sold sandwiches, chips and soda. Nina Carrol provided the specialty sandwiches and donated soda. Chris Miles, Jimmy Dreby and Cole Miles set up the booth. Robert Bordonaro and his family and Patty Volpe and Dean Wilson assisted with sales. Christien Elkins showed up at 11 to break the booth down and pack everything into a vehicle.

Pictured are the luminaires; Patty Volpe, Robert Bordonaro, and Dean Wilson at the booth; and Principal Bhoolai; Rita Smith, team captain and Exalted Ruler; and senior Brianna Sterns.


708 youth

On May 5 during Youth Week, the lodge honored Ismeny Ramirez, a Club Chivalry student at Robinson High School, as Teenager of the Year. She is a junior who is dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College, has a weighted grade-point average of 4.65, is president of the Spanish Club, and was just awarded Student of the Year in Business Technology.

Rita Smith, Exalted Ruler, is pictured presneting the award to Ismeny Ramirez.