A Message from 2017-2018 FLOE President, Mary McCoy
- Written by Mary McCoy
It has been a whirlwind year for me beginning with my installation at Connie Poage’s wonderful conference in Maitland, Fla., in 2017. From there we moved on to the beautiful Plantation on Crystal River where Vice President, Felicia Vuletich, presented a fun and crafty jewelry-making class for the ladies attending the midyear convention followed by a relaxing and informative boat ride around Crystal River. The Florida State Elks Association held a delicious barbecue outside by the pool to end a wonderful weekend.
In February, we traveled to the Florida Elks Youth Camp to meet our Grand Exalted Ruler, Malcolm McPherson Jr., and his wife, Pat. Cathy Gerace, wife of State President, Carl Gerace, and the wives of the Past State Presidents hosted an enjoyable luncheon which was attended by many of our FLOE ladies. It was an honor to meet Pat McPherson and receive one of her pins. Later that day at the major projects meeting, PSP Connie Poage presented a check for $4,000 to the Harry-Anna Trust Fund, the proceeds of her year as FLOE state president.
Our next big trip was to the Orlando World Center Marriott for the Florida Elks state convention and wow, that was exciting! Something was going on every minute! FLOE had a luncheon this year which was very enjoyable. In fact, we received many comments from attendees that our lunch was missed last year and they would like to see us continue having this event in the future. I think that can definitely be arranged. Thank you, PSP Judy Reyes and PSP Connie Poage, for the success of this event. We also ran our Chinese auction which was a huge success this year due to the efforts of Diane Sharp and Barbara Carroll from the West Central District. Thank you so much, ladies!
Finally September came and we headed to our 55th FLOE annual conference at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort. Although this conference was not as well attended as some others, those who were there enjoyed it immensely. The accommodations and the food were excellent and everything managed to run on schedule. As you know, a successful event like this is not achieved through the work of one person. I cannot thank my conference committees enough: Pam Snyder from Punta Gorda who ran registration, Carol Milroy and her Punta Gorda Ladies who organized a fabulous fundraising shop, Susie Harlow from Tampa who handled a successful raffle in spite of personal challenges, Janice MacKenzie from Punta Gorda who did table setup, Mary Gail Phillip from Punta Gorda who did banquet seating, and PSP Judy Reyes from St. Augustine who jumped in at the last minute to set up and organize the dignitary tables for lunch and dinner and assisted in greeting my guests at the cocktail reception. A beautiful and emotional memorial service was flawlessly presented by chaplain, Melaney McHale, and the ladies of Fort Pierce. Thank you so much! One special lady from Fort Pierce painted giraffes on rocks and scattered them all over the hotel and on the lunch and dinner tables. Thank you so much for this unique gift. Many of us including myself took them home and they will forever remind us of this conference. My thanks would not be complete without mentioning Heather Scott’s awesome centerpieces. She not only made most of them single-handedly but she transported them back and forth to the convention and then back again to the conference. I don’t think she will ever want to see another giraffe! PSP Becky Long arranged for my beautiful pin which I will treasure forever, and Secretary Adella Ashton took care of all the badges and trophies needed for the conference.
Our 365 Club committee chairlady, PSP Carol Deresh, presented a check in the amount of $3,464.79 to Nick Miller, Camp Director of the Florida Elks Youth Camp, and a check in the amount of $3,714.79 to Colleen Gallant, Director of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. This brings the total 365 Club funds donated since 1977 to $424,170.75.
Therapist Yvette Lambert told us a riveting story of one of her patients and my workshop speaker, Richard E. Jacobs, spoke of his work as Grand Lodge Representative to C.W. “Bill” Young VA Medical Center and as Coordinator of the Grand Lodge Representatives of Florida. He showed a kit he makes for the veterans when they arrive or leave after a stay at the VA facility and suggested that if the Ladies organization were interested, they too could make these kits and give them to their local VA centers. My guest speaker was Leonard E. “Lenny” Smallacombe, PDD, State Coordinator for the FSEA Presidential Memorial Certificates program. His presentation was very informative, as he explained how easy it is to obtain these certificates for a deceased friend or family member who served in the armed forces.
In closing, I would like to say that there are no words to say how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to serve as State President of FLOE. I wish 2018-2019 President, Felicia Vuletich, a successful year, and be ready for an exciting time!
Mary McCoy, 2017-2018 President
Florida Ladies of Elks